Poor old Kinloch Castle (it’s on the Isle of Rum)
Although I’ve never had the opportunity to visit (or am likely to), I’ve always like the look of Kinloch Castle.
The open arcade (wrongly referred to as a ‘loggia’ – which has a roof or covering) around the building gives it a wonderful appearance.
Dating from around 1897, wealthy English industrialist George Bullough clearly wanted something just a little better than a hovel – his new retreat included lighting, powered by its own hydro-electric scheme, central heating, double-glazed stained-glass windows, sophisticated showers, and even an early telephone system, plus a (now lost) conservatory with hummingbirds, peaches and grapes, and heated pools in the (walled) garden with… alligators and turtles. That garden also contained 250,000 tons of imported soil.
His father (James) had bought Isle of Rum 1886 for £35,000. Inheriting much of the family fortune he spent £15 million (a 1974 valuation) building the castle, employing some 300 craftsmen, and importing red sandstone quarried in Corrie, Arran.
It was eventually sold to Scottish Natural Heritage in 1957 for around £1 per acre, and featured in the BBC’s ‘Restoration’ series in 2003.
SNH has been paying to maintain the building and contents ever since, but even though it is A-listed, it could be demolished as the bill for repair and maintenance is said to have reached £20 million.
At that, I think I’m unlikely to write anything different from the last alarm call for Kinloch, so you should just read this post from 2013:
Well, maybe there is a further comment, after I read this:
While the “shocked” ‘Kinloch Castle Friends Association ‘ may have their hearts in the right place, they also have to move into the real world.
There is no bottomless pit of funding for public bodies to dip into and ‘magic’ £20 million for a building that does not pay its way, or cannot provide some sort of operational contribution.
It’s all well and good to wave your hands and cry:
“Kinloch Castle is a truly magnificent place to visit and we simply do not accept that it is a write-off. It would be nothing short of a scandal if the castle were to be demolished, a scandalous loss of heritage.”
“I can’t believe that a heritage body would even consider demolishing such a beautiful, historic and unique building. It would be a huge mistake.”
But if you can’t also bring the funds needed to prevent it:
Earlier attempts to preserve the mansion, which were backed by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, have failed given the lack of public funding available.
Then your position may indeed be morally sound, but sadly practically flawed.
Perhaps another sad aspect we have nowadays is the aspect of liability, and the fear that SNH may find themselves being sued by someone who enters the abandoned and derelict castle one day, and is injured or even killed.
Even thought they may have entered without permission and wilfully ignored ‘NO ENTRY’ and ‘DANGER’ signs, chances are that SNH remain liable simply for leaving the castle there – and that threat is why they dare not simply abandon it and walk away, and warn that demolition is their option if they cannot fund repairs.