Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Military Heritage Scotland

Please note that this is now an archival article, and refers to a project which was ultimately dissolved.

(But see also the Comments section below, where is news of a revised project at the Scottish Military Heritage Centre.)

Set up as a charity, Military Heritage Scotland aims to create a world class museum facility which will embrace all aspects of Scotland’s military history.

The Daily Record covered the story a few weeks ago, Call to build £100m Scottish Museum of War.

Inspired by former Scots Guard James Percy, a steering group has been formed, chaired by  Professor Gordon Murray from Strathclyde University’s School of Architecture and Jon-Marc Creaney of leading architects GCA, and the project is already reported to have attracted a donation from the New York-based Friends of Scotland organisation. The plan is also reported to have received backing from First Minister Alex Salmond – for a museum to rival London’s Imperial War Museum – and MPs and MSPs from all parties have also given their support, although there seem to be no tangible contributions (ie cash) so far – just the political equivalent of kissing babies and looking good.

At this stage, the organisation is seeking donations to help fund a feasibility study, as they have to establish the location of an appropriate site, likely operation costs, and the potential long term sustainability of the concept. We’ve noted the demise of one or two formerly well-established museums in Scotland here in recent years, and while their content may make a difference, falling visitor numbers in all but the most widely publicised venues, eg Kelvingrove, may not be promising. Scotland’s science centres are also pleading for money to keep them open, and places such as The Big Idea in Irvine have simply been unsustainable, and folded.

We don’t have such a facility here (yet?), so we have to hope they get the formula right:

It is envisaged that the project will produce a building and destination that will draw visitors nationally and worldwide, providing an opportunity to display warships, submarines, landing craft, armoured vehicles, tanks and fighter planes, allowing visitors to experience them first hand.

The facility will also incorporate educational and research resources with a repository for books, memorabilia and artefacts relating to Scottish Military Heritage, providing a military centre which will encourage Scots of all ages to take an interest in its own history and heritage.

The preferred choice of site would see a world-class floating museum built at Govan docks next to Glasgow Science Centre, with alternative locations possibly being seen in Rosyth, or Leith docks. Collections would take many forms, with warships, submarines and landing craft moored nearby, and tanks, fighter planes, uniforms, medals and memorabilia housed indoors, with special galleries established for notable features and events.

It’s an ambitious project, and has rightly identified both its setup and running costs as key factors, together with its potential for sustainability. It is a particular class of museum that Scotland lacks, and even a casual tour of facilities down south will reveal a glut of related resources, both national and private.

This project deserves serious attention and support, even of only to stem the steady loss of museums and collections that Scotland has seen over the years.

The group can be contacted using this form.

Or, at:

Military Heritage Scotland

c/o GCA Architecture+Design, Kelvin House, 87 Calder Street, Coatbridge, ML5 4EY

Update

Unfortunately, as per the message received through the comments section below, this project is no longer in existence, having been dissolved on April 2, 2010.

17/08/2008 - Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost, military, World War I, World War II | , , ,

27 Comments »

  1. I would like to say this is a brillant idea, to establish a Military Museum here in Scotland. With Army (Black Watch) and RAF connections in the familiy. I would like to add my name to the Roysth Proposal. For a number of reasons, but also a way to connect all three services. Rosyth for it’s Naval History, The RAF connection of RAF Leuchars close by and I believe there is a aircraft carrier sunk somewhere in the Firth of Forth and The Army (Black Watch) being located at Perth and all it’s other barracks based in Edinburgh.

    MY VOTE WOULD BE ROSYTH FOR LOCATION

    Like

    Comment by Nick Page | 19/09/2008

  2. Trying to contact James Percy, Sorry James lost all your contact numbers.It is with regret that i write to you this way to inform you that Wullie Stewart died on 13th NOV,his funeral is on Tues 24th NOV, at 10.30am at Prestonpans Cemetry.Hope you get this e-mail James or at least the details get passed on to you.My number is still the same 7734576.Hope to hear from you soon,Best Wishes to the family
    Alex
    Alex Grandison

    Like

    Comment by Alex Grandison | 21/11/2009

  3. Military Heritage Scotland was dissolved on 2/4/2010

    Like

    Comment by MJ Sweeney | 03/10/2011

  4. Thanks for the note.

    Sorry to learn also that it did not go anywhere, as I get the feeling I am posting more notes about museums and collections closing, rather than opening, or of existing facilities having an assured future,

    Like

    Comment by Apollo | 03/10/2011

  5. Yes, there’s probably a measure of sadness associated with the demise of the idea to establish a Scottish War Museum, but Scotland’s military heritage is still a meaningful part of the internationally renowned and superb British Imperial War Museum in London.

    Like

    Comment by Dugald | 03/10/2011

  6. There is a new project called Scottish Military Heritage Scotland which is in it’s early stages but any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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    Comment by MJ Sweeney | 23/02/2012

  7. We have a website at http://smhc-uk.org/ as I said it is still in it’s early stages but any feedback would be good

    Like

    Comment by Mary Jane Sweeney | 24/02/2012

  8. Military Heritage Scotland came to an end because the wrong person was in charge of the project, it was dissolved and a new project Scottish Military Heritage Centre was formed. A lot of time, effort and personal finance is now being put into the new project, learning from the previous plans, we are starting small and building towards a grander scale in the future.

    Like

    Comment by Mary Jane Sweeney | 08/06/2012

  9. Rather surprised and perplexed to learn that Military Heritage Scotland has been dissolved as I and other members of the committee were unaware of this which is confusing as of all the people to know about this ,we feel we should surely have been in the know of these developments.If someone could enlighten us as to when and how this came about and by whose authority this happened then I ,James Percy,would be very grateful.

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 01/07/2014

  10. James Percy…

    If you are genuine – what have you and your committee been doing for the past four years if the above makes you “Surprised and perplexed”?

    Like

    Comment by Apollo | 02/07/2014

  11. Yes I am genuine,firstly the sad death of one of our committee had a bearing on our activities and secondly we were told by the relevant councils that there were no funds available for our venture but that in time as our idea was extremely pertinent that they would contact us to engage in more dialogue regarding the set up of the facility.As of now due to conversations with the people who can facilitate this venture I am feeling very confident that we will soon be up and running and finally Scotland will have a military museum and cenotaph that we can all be proud of.

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 03/07/2014

  12. Thanks for looking back in and responding.

    You may have noticed I have followed this story (as far as I could as an interested outsider) and similar in the Blog, but so far none have materialised.

    If you, or any committee member, would care to keep me appraised, I’m happy to keep this alive and give it publicity, or air appeals.

    You can simply add a comment (I am alerted to all, as I have to deal with span and trolls), or correspond directly (or in confidence) via the usual admin@secretscotland.org.uk

    Like

    Comment by Apollo | 03/07/2014

  13. Thank you for your response,I will be happy to keep you in the loop about any developments and thank you for your offer of publicity and air appeals,James.

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 03/07/2014

  14. This hmc have attached their self and deleted from the mhs site without finding out about the organisation,also the woman is my ex and gr and. The rest have no military service. Apollo I would like to meet up with you and discuss these matters I have just recently discussed the matter of our own cenotaph for Scotland and we have the backing of all parties and services,also the head of our country know about our goal.
    Thank you
    James

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 03/07/2014

  15. “The rest have no military service” Really? Are you 100% sure about that Mr Percy, for I think differently to that statement, and can back up my statement with facts.
    I dislike people that make sweeping statements like the one you just made, especially, when you make believe it is true!

    Like

    Comment by Ian Foster | 08/07/2014

  16. My comment although thought of as sweeping by yourself was actually directed toward my ex partner ,George Robinson and other members of the committee of MHS who I know have no military background but detached themselves from the organisation and set up MHSC by using all of our contacts ,ideas,paperwork and good standing to gain momentum for their newly formed set-up in the guise of our reserve name.As of now the old committee is in the process of reforming due to encouraging feedback from relevant authorities.

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 08/07/2014

  17. Mr Percy,
    A sweeping statement it was! I can see no other description that could reasonably be used, to cover your statement that “The rest have no military service” I guess 15 years serving the colours counts for nothing then?
    I also see that you believe some of your old committee members took with them a lot of your contacts, paperwork, and even had the cheek to form a new organisation using your reserve name.
    Let me put the record very publicly straight for you once more.
    I have never met you, nor have I met most of your “ex committee”. (The only one I met and have knowledge of is George Robinson, but he is no longer with us) Any documents or contacts that the S.M.H.C created, were done so mostly through MY OWN list of contacts, and as for the name “Scottish Military Heritage Centre” (S.M.H.C) – That name came right out of my own head!
    I do hope you do not try to accuse us of stealing your logo/badge as well, for that too, is a product of my own handiwork.
    Besides my military background, I have been active on the restoration/recovery and Living History scene for many years, and during that time, I have amassed a great many contacts.
    Please please, get your facts correct before making any further public statement that concerns me, or the S.M.H.C.
    Thank you very much

    Like

    Comment by Ian Foster | 08/07/2014

  18. Smhc,was first spoke of in the solicitors office in Edinburgh by gr

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    Comment by James Percy | 09/07/2014

  19. And you expect me to know this???
    What went on with your own people in your own offices or premises is little to no concern of mine I’m afraid.
    As I said – The Scottish Military Heritage Centre (SMHC) was created in my own office here near Falkirk, with no reference or knowledge whatsoever to you or any of your previous activities.

    Like

    Comment by Ian Foster | 09/07/2014

  20. Are u Andy rank evens friend

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    Comment by James Percy | 09/07/2014

  21. Just noticed the type was somehow wrong Are u Andy Rankins friend

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    Comment by James Percy | 09/07/2014

  22. Ian We discussed mhs back in 2007 along with Andy and with the chap from Newcastle,we were introduced through Andy rankin did u not have exhibits at your premises. James

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 09/07/2014

  23. James, to date, we have never had physical displays anywhere, (apart from ones we put together under a completely different banner). We have looked at a few commercial properties with a view to establishing a permanent museum/display, but, the costs of that became rather prohibitive.
    SMHC has been put on the back burner for the time being and our priorities are being directed towards a more practical solution.

    Like

    Comment by Ian Foster | 09/07/2014

  24. Hello ian (flossy) I spoke to the horses mouth yesterday and instead of getting fed it fed myself,it’s a pity u have a short memory of who u meet,and who u don’t on such a project like this,as I certainly remember u coming to the house in 2007 and letting me know that u have two exhibits I your garden as u were interested in joining our plight to achieve our goal of a mhs.also present at this time was mjs,Andy and the guy from the Newcastle museum,the same mjs posted-mhs-disolved2/4/10 coment 3/10/11-new project smhs comment mjs-23/212 also Andy dealt with the web site,meeting Mitchell library 21/8/10 new steering committee set up,smhc web site came on line 24/3/12 it’s not about putting any one down its about finding out who gave the authority of forming a new committee and changing our web site.as our committee was not aware of any changes and are quite annoyed at this,and we will be having it reinstated and pushing forward with the info we have.
    James

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 11/07/2014

  25. ?? Puzzled now… You would need to elaborate a lot on that before I could ever understand what you are talking about.
    Feel free to PM me.

    Like

    Comment by Ian Foster | 14/07/2014

  26. All I am saying is that yes we have met before in my old house in Penilee 2007 when I was still with a maryjane ,the same one who posted that my museum is dissolved and said there is a new one being set up smhs which she said if anyone wanted to support should reply on your website smhc.

    Like

    Comment by James Percy | 14/07/2014

  27. To concerneddumfries:

    Please do NOT use my blog to publish unsubstantiated speculation about someone.

    Establish the facts and include references to confirm them, and items that are a matter of record can be mentioned.

    But speculation and unsubstantiated references to a named individual will not be allowed to appear here.

    Like

    Comment by Apollo | 21/02/2015


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