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Linlithgow Palace (the 2 photos immediately above, plus the right hand one of the 2 photos above them) was begun by James I in 1424, rising from the ruins of its predecessor, which was ravaged by fire. It became a truly elegant ‘pleasure palace’ for the royal Stewarts, and a welcome stopping place for the royal family along the road between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle. The Stewart queens especially liked its tranquillity and fresh air. The ancient palace served as the royal nursery for James V (born 1512), Mary Queen of Scots (born 1542) and Princess Elizabeth (born 1596), better known as ‘the Winter Queen’. But after 1603, when James VI moved the royal court to London following his coronation as James I of England, the palace fell quickly into decline. The end came ignominiously in a fire in September 1745. For a more detailed history, better to consult the official Historic Scotland guide.

The Palace is an imposing ruin, with visitor access possible to the highest levels, accompanied by the customary feelings of vertigo even there is an ample amount of steel bar to prevent any undesired and swift descent to the ground floor. However, this familiarisation visit now begins to explore the residual risks that are an inherent feature of virtually every historic building unless an unreasonable and impractical decision is taken to try to eliminate every conceivable risk. How do we apply the VSCG guiding principles to these risks, and how can we justify the retention of risks that wouldn't be acceptable in a modern workplace?

The Palace is set on the side of a loch, is surrounded by park, countryside and woodland collectively known as Linlithgow Peel, with its own interesting collection of visitor safety management issues, explored only briefly at this introductory visit.