Dirleton Castle: guidebooks


Dirleton Castle © David Gill

J.S. Richardson prepared the first guidebook for Dirleton Castle 1934. A second edition appeared in 1950, and this continued as a blue guide into the 1970s. This consisted of a histroy: Lands of the Barony; the De Vaux Family; the castle during the Wars of Independence; the Halyburtons; the Ruthvens; the raid of Ruthven; the Gowrie Conspiracy; Ruthven building; furnishings and gardens; the Dirleton witches; Cromwell and the Moss-troopers. This was followed by a description. A foldout plan and sections were placed inside the back cover.


1934 (2nd ed. 1950; 7th impress. 1973)

Chris Tabraham revised Richardson’s guidebook in 1982. A new guidebook, by Tabraham, was published in 1995. This consists of two main sections: Guided Tour and History.


1995 (rev. ed. 2007)

Leading Visitor Attractions 2018: Historic Environment Scotland


Linlithgow Palace © David Gill

The figures for the Leading Visitor Attractions 2018 are now available. There are a number of sites in the care of Historic Environment Scotland:

  • Edinburgh Castle [12]: 2,111,578 [+2%]. 2017: 2,063,709 [+16%]
  • Stirling Castle [63]: 605,241 [+7%]. 2017: 567,259 [+18%]
  • Urquhart Castle [69]: 518,195 [+6%]. 2017: 488,136 [+23%]
  • Glasgow Cathedral [75]: 482,783 [+24%]. 2017: 389,101 [+36%]
  • Doune Castle [170]: 142,091 [+14%]. 2017: 124,341 [+38%]
  • Skara Brae [179]: 111,921 [+2%]. 2017: 110,028 [+18%]
  • Linlithgow Palace [187]: 94,718 [+9%]. 2017: 86,596 [+16%]
  • St Andrews Castle [188]: 91,302 [+1%]. 2017: 90,617 [+18%]
  • Fort George [198]: 71,906 [-5%]. 2017: 75,798 [+24%]
  • Iona Abbey [200]: 64,183 [-3%]. 2017: 66,224 [+2%]
  • Blackness Castle [203]: 58,388 [+36%]. 2017 42,810 [+42%]
  • Melrose Abbey [204]: 58,286 [-1%]. 2017:  58,989 [+11%]
  • St Andrews Cathedral [206]: 56,249 [-4%]. 2017:  58,395 [+26%]
  • Tantallon Castle [213]: 43,170 [-14%]. 2017: 49,955 [+17%]
  • Elgin Cathedral [217]: 39,398 [+3%]. 2017: 38,201 [+25%]
  • Craigmillar Castle [220]: 35,442 [+13%]. 2017: 31,269 [+35%]
  • Caerlaverock Castle [221]: 35,305 [-8%]. 2017: 38,540 [+8%]
  • Dirleton Castle [224]: 29,764 [-2%]. 2017: 30,219 [+8%]
  • Dumbarton Castle [226]: 28,546 [+6%]. 2017: 27,033 [+12%]
  • Maeshowe [228]: 28,414 [+11%].

Iona © David Gill

Helmsley Castle: signage


Helmsley Castle © David Gill

One of the Ministry signs has been used at Helmsley Castle in Yorkshire. Variants of this include ‘Out of Bounds’ (Berwick upon Tweed), ‘No Access Beyond This Point’ (Dundrennan Abbey), ‘Private’ (Hadrian’s Wall; New Abbey Cornmill),  ‘No Admittance Without Ticket’ (Saxtead Green), and ‘No Admittance to Abbey This Way’ (Easby Abbey).

There was a ‘No Exit’ sign at Framlingham Castle.


Helmsley Castle © David Gill

The enduring love affair with railway design

As a nation, despite our grumbling about the state of the railway system and its operation, deep down we seem collectively to continue to have a close affection for ideas of design in the railways in Britain. Quite apart from the engineering aspects of the railway, rolling stock, engines and the perceived romanticism of bygone rail travel, the architecture and form of the infrastructure and the visual communication methods deployed by the rail companies themselves continue to have a distinct ‘heritage’ aesthetic, even when newly created. There has long been a tradition in railway advertising of using historic sites at locations which the railway served or passed by.

This has been seen most recently in advertising campaign rolled out by GWR – itself a relaunched heritage brand harking back to the days before British Rail (also a distinct heritage brand with a very strong design heritage). The advertising seen across the rail network in the west of England and in the London termini have drawn on the classic childrens’ literature aesthetic centred around Enid Blyton’s Famous Five to create a sense of adventure, discovery, social relations, holidays and the idea of it being fun to travel by rail. Various buildings and landscapes across the south west have been depicted as well, producing an interesting layering of heritage messages and associations with this form of travel

Goodrich Castle: guidebooks


1958 (5th impress. 1967)

Goodrich Castle was placed in State Guardianship in 1920. The first official guidebook was prepared by C.A. Ralegh Radford, with a new edition in 1958. It consists of a history, with a section on periods of construction, then a description. A plan of the castle was included inside the guidebook at the start of the description.


1958 (9th impress. 1975)

The revised DOE blue guide has the foldout plan inside the back cover.


1993 (repr. 1999)

The English Heritage guidebook was prepared by Derek Renn (whose other guides included Framlingham Castle, Old Sarum and Shell Keeps). This starts with a tour of the castle, walks along the river Wye, and a history of Goodrich. A plan of the castle is placed in the centre of the guide.

Tintagel Castle: guidebooks


Tintagel © David Gill

Tintagel Castle was placed in State Guardianship by the Duchy of Cornwall in 1930. C.A. Ralegh Radford prepared the first guide 1935, with a second edition in 1939. It is introduced with a summary, followed by a history, periods of construction of the castle, and then the description. A foldout plan is placed inside the back cover. The later MPBW guidebook had an additional plan of the island inside the back cover.


1939 (2nd ed., 10th impress. 1962)


1939 (2nd ed., 14th impress. 1969)

The English Heritage guidebook was written by Brian K. Davison. It contains three sections: Tour and Description; History of Tintagel; the Legend of King Arthur. A plan of the island is placed inside the back cover.


1999 (repr. 2002)