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All our staffed properties, sites and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, are currently closed, but we’re working on plans to gradually reopen. In the meantime, you can access our services online. Find out more.

Scheduled Website Maintenance 14/07/20 00:00 – 04:00GMT – There will be periods of time during this window when this website will be unavailable.

Architecture in detail: Ceramic Tiles


To coincide with the #ExploreYourArchives launch week 2017, we’ve selected images from the Historic Environment Scotland archive to celebrate the ancient art of ceramic tiles. From mosaic floors to art deco bathrooms, in churches, stately homes and tenements, we’ve got it all.

Scotland has a long and rich pottery heritage, with large industrial pottery works across the country such as: Govencroft Pottery, Glasgow; Sinclairtown Pottery, Kirkcaldy; Longpark Pottery Works, Kilmarnock; and the well-known Thistle Pottery Works in Portobello and Dunmore Pottery, Stirlingshire to name a few. Thistle Pottery was founded in Portobello, Edinburgh in 1770 and was owned by the Buchan family from 1867 and what remains of Thistle Pottery can still be seen today near Portobello’s esplanade. From the early 19th Century, Dunmore Pottery made tiles and domestic ware using local clay from Dunmore Moss, and superior clay from Devon and Cornwall. Much of Dunmore’s pottery can be identified by its bright and rich slips and glazes, and is now quite a collector’s item.

The HES Archive can be consulted in our Search Room and through our online resources. This includes Canmore where new images and information are added every day through ongoing surveys of Scotland's built heritage, as well as through an active digitisation programme of negatives, prints and drawings.