The Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Grouphome
about SVBWG
forthcoming events
how to join
examples of vernacular buildings

Vernacular buildings are smaller traditional buildings, which use local materials and methods. They range in scale from huts to tower houses. They are found throughout Scotland - both in town and country. And they are a vital part of our history.

The interests of our members are as diverse as the buildings. We include many experts. But most of our members are just fascinated by the buildings and want to know more. A site visit with lively people who share your interests is the ideal way to learn, the perfect place to ask questions and hear other views.

The buildings themselves are just one part of the story. Who built it and why? What documentation is available? Was it a common type or highly unusual? How has it been altered over the years?

We have a regular programme of publications which can be ordered through this website - including the annual Vernacular Building (free to members) and a series of Regional and Thematic Studies. We meet each spring for a few days for the Annual Conference - the last decade has seen us range from Caithness to the Borders, from Arran to Midlothian. Our autumn meeting might be a site visit or a conference with formal papers.

Membership and meetings are open to all with an interest, and we welcome contributions and suggestions.



Latest News

Book Reviews
The Vernacular Building book Reviews Editor is Niall Logan. Suggestions for items to review, and offers from readers to review new volumes should be made to him by email at



News From Other Organisations

Angus Folk Museum
Angus Folk Museum in Glamis “remains closed to the public until further notice due to continuing problems with the stability of the roof structure and excessively high humidity levels.” Humidity was of course built into linen weavers cottages’ earthen floors as a functional requirement for linen weaving. Find out more.

Association for Industrial Archaeology
The Association for Industrial Archaeology is considering holding its 2018 annual conference in Caithness. This follows events in Glasgow in 1985, Forth and Clyde in 2002 and Tayside in 2013. Download tour notes for the 2013 Dundee Conference and view photographs from the event. One of the AIA sites visited was the Saltpans at St Monans and there is a TAFAC monograph on this site. The 2018 event, probably in June, could take the form of a linear road trip up the A9 from Inverness to Cromarty. Once in the Thurso and Wick area, the focus will be on the vernacular, such as the fishing industry, mills, girnals etc. with one day spent looking at nuclear industry structures and another at Orkney military sites. Anyone with specific local knowledge (or a set of past SVBWG tour notes) who would like to help with tours, gazetteers, lectures etc., please contact Mark Watson at


SVBWG : generating interest in Scotland's building traditionsRegistered charity: SCO 10835