On a balmy summer evening in 2010, when members of the recently formed Boatie Blest, the Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Rowing Club, were waiting their turn to row, one of their number mentioned that a "hostel for rent" sign had appeared in the grounds of Cockenzie House.
There was widespread resistance to the notion, as well as sadness that such a wonderful house should fall to this. A voluntary association was immediately formed, a Heritage Group was created and the communities of Cockenzie and Port Seton were canvassed for their views for the property - artist studios, exhibition space, holiday cottages and a Tea Room. This enabled the association to commission a feasibility study with help from the Big Lottery's Investing in Ideas Fund. In 2013, the association became a registered charity and with less than £3,000 and over 500 hours of volunteer effort, the group cleaned, mended, painted and trimmed and took on the House on a 6 month trial period. Within weeks, the potential envisaged in the feasibility study became a reality. The Group now have a 25 year lease and wish to move to purchasing the property outright.
Cockenzie House is now returning to the cauldron of creativity and industry it once was when the Cadell family managed the saltpans, harbours and local coalmines. It currently hosts 30 artists, small businesses, crafters and a wide variety of allotments and bee keeping. It proudly exhibit works of local artists. Young artists are finding recognition and building profiles and the House and its listed gardens are becoming a popular 'destination' with Cadell's Secret Garden, the Hecla Gallery and a host of other recitals, events, parties and weddings.
As a community venture, we are always looking for volunteers to maintain and develop our operations, as well as donations. If you would like to be part of this amazing project, help financially, have a few hours free, or see potential that you would like to help create, we would love to hear from you.
Accessible - All Welcome
We welcome everyone and are fully accessible by wheelchair by the High Street entrance. Staff are always available to help visitors. We also have a lift available for all areas.
If you prefer, please phone in advance for us to arrange a guided tour.
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We are Dog friendly venue both house, Cafe and Gardens!