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Waterston House

(Scottish Birdwatching Resource Centre)

Located at Craigielaw, a quarter-mile (0.5 km) west of Aberlady, Waterston House (or the Scottish Birdwatching Resource Centre) is the headquarters of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club (SOC). Named after ornithologist and conservationist George Waterston (1911-80), one of the founders of the club, the building was opened on 1st October 2005 by the writer and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson (1929 - 2007).

The £768,000 building extends to 325 sq. m (3500 sq. feet) and includes the George Waterston Library, a gallery, named after Donald Watson (1918 - 2005), the well-known Scottish ornithologist and wildlife artist, together with bird-watching facilities and the SOC offices. The George Waterston Library contains almost 4000 books and is continuously extended - the largest collection of ornithological reference books and journals in Scotland - together with historically-important archives.

The SOC headquarters had been located in Regent Terrace in Edinburgh, but this was sold in 2002, with the intention of planning a purpose-built new building located close to an important year-round bird-watching site.

The site was bought from the Wemyss and March Estates with the assistance of the Earl of Wemyss and March, a long-time supporter of the SOC. Construction began in August 2004 using traditional methods. The structure of the building is provided by a 8-m (26-foot) high timber frame of Douglas Fir, cut from near Fort Augustus, and weighing 40 tons. The frame is locked together using oak pegs and is covered in larch cladding, with joists of Sitka spruce and clay tiles on the roof. The oak and slate came from Aberfoyle and cement from Dunbar. The timber was donated by the Forestry Commission and the building serves as a showcase for Scottish wood.

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