About the building

Waterston House is named after George Waterston (1911-1980), a renowned ornithologist and one of the founding members of the SOC



In March 2002, the SOC sold its previous Headquarters at 21 Regent Terrace in Edinburgh and began planning in earnest for the construction of a new purpose-built HQ.


Construction started in August 2004 and was completed in June 2005.  Waterston House was officially opened by the late Magnus Magnusson on 1st October 2005 (read more about the opening here).

The 3500 square foot building adopts a simple form, designed to have minimal impact on its surroundings, and accommodates a library, a lecture hall/exhibition space, offices and archives storage.

It has been constructed using traditional methods, and the building’s 8m high timber frame is held together almost entirely using oak pegs and ‘fish plates’ (metal rods). The forty-ton douglas fir frame is covered in larch cladding, and internally the flooring in the gallery and entrance space is oak, all home grown. Clay tiles cover the roof as well as an array of 29 solar panels.

The surrounding landscape has been specifically designed to encourage local bird life, and incorporates a pond which has varying water conditions, from fast moving to still, providing differing habitats for birds and amphibians. The pond also acts as a storage reservoir for rainwater collected from the roof, and is integrated with the services strategy for the building.

Frogs in the pond at Waterston House © Ian Andrews

Frogs in the pond at Waterston House © Ian Andrews


Solar power

An array of 29 photovoltaic panels – capable of generating up to 5,800 kWh of electricity per year – was installed on the roof of Waterston House in July 2011. The Club estimates that it will use most of that electricity; what it doesn’t consume will be exported to the grid.

The installation will allow the SOC to make a long-term contribution to reducing the effects of climate change. We are concerned about climate change impacts, such as habitat loss, on Scotland’s birds. Generating some of our own electricity reduces the Club’s carbon footprint and contributes to Scotland’s renewable electricity generation. We will spend less on electricity and get some income from the feed-in tariff, so we’ll also generate funds to support our continuing work on monitoring Scotland’s wild bird populations.

The PV array was installed by Tom Morley of Solar Technology Ltd from Edinburgh; this was made possible in part by an interest-free loan from the Energy Saving Trust Scotland.

We hope that members of the public will come along to get a good look at a working PV system, and see whether they might want to put one on their own roof.


A photographic tour of Waterston House…

Front view of Waterston House Looking-out-over-the-pond-towards-Aberlady-Bay-(1) Round the back of the building Round the back of Waterston House looking towards the pond Side view of the entrance to Waterston House The back of Waterston House, viewed from Aberlady Bay The pond and waterfall at Waterston House The pond at Waterston House The view from the George Waterston Library The-Donald-Watson-Gallery-(1) The-Donald-Watson-Gallery-(2) The-Donald-Watson-Gallery-(3) The-Donald-Watson-Gallery-(4) The-Donald-Watson-Gallery-(5) The-Donald-Watson-Gallery-(6) The-George-Waterston-Library-(2) The-George-Waterston-Library

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