Scotland's Black Watch is an elite military regiment whose history stretches back almost three centuries and a visit to this ancestral home of The Black Watch brings this glorious Regiment's past vibrantly to life.
In 2008 The Black Watch Heritage Appeal was launched to buy, develop and endow Balhousie Castle to create a permanent home for The Black Watch in Perth at the heart of the Regimental area. The Appeal succeeded in raising £3.5 million and a major redevelopment project began in May 2012. The redeveloped Museum reopened in June 2013.
The origins of Balhousie Castle are said to date back to the 12th century. Originally an L-shaped tower house what we see today is the central part, possibly dating from the 17th century. In its present form, the Castle dates from the 1860s.
The Castle is set in its own beautiful gardens and grounds. The Museum includes exhibits of uniforms, fine paintings, medals, photographs, diaries, weapons and military equipment, together with film and reminiscences bring to life the proud military heritage of this family regiment. The collection contains significant items that have been gathered by the Regiment throughout its history, right up to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Visitors can enjoy a museum tour that will begin with an introductory film, introducing the visitor to The Black Watch and some of its key icons - The Red Hackle, the title, the tartan and the badge.
The tour continues with seven chronological Galleries on the following historical periods:
- Early Years 1725-45
- French Wars 1745-1815
- Empire 1815-1914
- First World War 1914-1919
- Second World War 1939-45
- Post War 1945-206
- Day in the Life
- The Black Watch and The Royal Family
- Sons of The Black Watch
There are unique and special collections housed in the museum which consist of two and a half centuries of treasures of Scotland’s oldest Highland Regiment and includes examples of Bagpipes, Colours, Equipment, Silver, Uniforms, Weapons and Medals.
Regimental Music has been an important part of the life of the Black Watch from the earliest days. In particular, pipe music has been integral to the lives of Highland soldiers.
Played into battle, the sound of the pipes raised the spirits of the Highlanders and put fear into the hearts of the enemy. In recent years the Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch have carried out tours to North America. They were often accompanied by the Band of The Black Watch who were accomplished military musicians and in 1963 they played at the White House for President Kennedy, eight days before his assassination. The Pipes and Drums then played at his State Funeral.
For many years, soldiers from both bands had war roles and whilst the Band of The Black Watch was disbanded in the early 1990s the Pipes and Drums are still a favourite at the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo. They still have a vital role as soldiers, manning the battalion’s medium machineguns.
The spirit of the Black Watch is summed up in the title of the Regimental Quick March “Hielan Laddie”.
For more information on opening times, admission prices etc please telephone 01738 638152 or visit the website http://www.theblackwatch.co.uk
This visitor attraction provides a fascinating trip through the history of this famous regiment and would be a good family day out while staying in one of Cooper Cottages self-catering holiday cottages located in central Scotland.