A BUILDING which helped shape modern Bridge of Allan, developed by a famous Tullibody family, is being restored thanks to the efforts of volunteers.

Almost forgotten and nearly overgrown by trees after 70 years of dereliction, the Bridge of Allan Well House is currently being given a new lease of life.

Volunteers have been raising funds to preserve the heritage of the site, some 200 years after it was originally opened by Sir Robert Abercromby of Tullibody.

The building, which features a 120ft shaft where mineral water was pumped to the surface, was instrumental in establishing Bridge of Allan as a spa town in the early 1800s.

Tullibody's Chris Calder, chair of Tullibody History Group and an expert on the Abercromby family, has been involved in the restoration project for a year, following its re-discovery by a caver.

She told the Advertiser: “Bridge of Allan today is what it is today, because of that little building.”

The well house was built after Sir Robert Abercromby, who had just returned home having served as commander-in-chief in India, purchased Airthrey Estate in 1798.

He discovered mineral waters running through the defunct copper mines, enlisting Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robert Bald, an Alloa mining engineer, to improve the tunnels running from the woods to where Henderson Street is today.

The mineral water was tested and found to be on par with other spa towns, so it was sold to the public from circa 1821 onwards.

Victorians at the time flocked to Bridge of Allan for the healing powers of the mineral water, indeed, it is understood some 30,000 people visited the town in 1830.

Fast-forward nearly 200 years, the small building was a lying derelict for 70 years in 2019.

That was when Edinburgh caver Mark Stanford discovered the 120ft shaft and well house and set about preserving it for the future.

Chris said: “The well house was in a terrible, terrible state.

“The roof at the back had collapsed in, trees have self-seeded themselves right up against the building and you couldn't see it at ll for trees, it was just buried with trees and growth.

“All the water was running into the building and rotting all the wood.”

However, work is ongoing to save the structure, thanks to funding from Clackmannanshire and Stirling Environment Trust and the public.

Stonemasons were already on site in the past weeks and construction has already started on a new roof with original slates to be reinstated.

The long term vision is to restore the building to its Victorian state and tell the story of how Bridge of Allan developed from a hamlet.

Visit bit.ly/3AtjK57 to support the restoration project.