It will be interesting to see what sort of plans arise regarding the re-use of old railway signal boxes, either already retired, or due to be retired as part of modernisation and improvement plans for the rail network.
I was almost surprised to read about this, as all the signal boxes I can think of having seen in recent years have all been closed and abandoned.
It seems many are listed, to varying degrees, so the owner (Network Rail) still has to maintain them, even if not in service and decommissioned, since listing confers responsibility, but so far, does not provide any cash. If the boxes can be let, then the interior could be maintained by the lessee, while the exterior remained with the network. Some could become cafes. Other suggestion include re-siting the boxes to allow them to be reused, perhaps at heritage railway sites.
Derelict Murthley (sealed and devoid of its stairway) is pictured below, but could be re-sited if funding can be put in place.
Just announced by RCAHMS (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland) today, April 25, 2013:
A web-based mapping service which goes live this week provides a single gateway into every aspect of the historic environment in Scotland, from archaeology and historic buildings, to industrial heritage and designed landscapes.
PastMap is a free, interactive mapping tool which pools information from five key heritage databases, providing a first port of call for anyone interested in the nation’s historic environment, from students and researchers to land managers and the general public.
Hosted by RCAHMS, PastMap consolidates data from organisations including Historic Scotland, local authorities, and RCAHMS itself. You can explore maps of Scotland featuring their particular areas of interest, choosing from the multiple layers of archaeological and architectural information to find what you need. This will allow you to:
Obtain listing information on more than 46,000 buildings which have been granted listed building protection by Historic Scotland
Explore information and imagery on over 300,000 architectural, archaeological, industrial and maritime sites through Canmore, the RCAHMS database
Access details on the 8,000 Ancient Monuments whose importance has been recognised by being granted ‘Scheduled Monument’ status by Historic Scotland.
Investigate Historic Environment Records prepared by the 17 Scottish local authorities who currently participate in PastMap, recording the historic environment at a local level
Discover details of gardens or designed landscapes which have received recognition and a degree of protection through the planning system from Historic Scotland
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said how useful it was to see all of this information about the built heritage of Scotland made easily accessible on one website. “Understanding our past and being able to view and use the records of Scotland’s historic environment will prove to be an invaluable tool. PastMap is at the forefront of an exciting digital area – the spatial presentation of data from multiple sources. In this regard the heritage sector is leading the way in Scotland. This resource merges information from a range of partners and is an excellent example of different and diverse organisations coming together and working for the greater common good”.
Robin Turner, Head of Survey and Recording at RCAHMS said, “PastMap will continue to incorporate new data from RCAHMS, Historic Scotland, local authorities and other sources, to ensure that the site remains the benchmark for information about the nation’s historic places.”
Reproduced by Open Government Licence
This has to be something that could be described as long overdue.
We are heavy users of the various online historic databases and mapping services offered by the various local authorities, but it has always been frustrating to access multiple system repeatedly in order to drill down into what should have been a single service.
Even more frustrating is (or was) the moment you got fed up trying, and asked someone if they knew, only to find their reply was a url pointing at the one online resource you didn’t get around to looking at when your patience gave out and you stopped working through them.
I’ve occasionally both criticised and defended the various systems in discussions about their relative merits, but am now pleased that usually countered negative remarks by pointing out that however slowly it may have been changing, these various systems were all moving forward and getting slowly better.
PastMap is not a new name or service, but what we see there today is a vast improvement on what used to be on offer.
I only have one ongoing grouse and major complaint with these systems, and the “new” PastMap is no exception – being made to feel like a criminal when first arriving to use them, and being presented with a volume of War & Peace to which I must agree as their Terms & conditions, and End User Agreement, and whatever else.
It’s simply unnecessary overkill, since if anyone does anything that is legally enforceable, then this agreement means nothing, the law will deal with sin of sufficient magnitude.
I didn’t read it, but I clicked it, so if I did do something naughty, it’s probably unenforceable since I failed to complete my part of the contract from the start, by agreeing without reading, and rendering it invalid.
Find the new PastMap here:
After decades languishing as yet another restoration project that didn’t have the money needed to turn it into reality, A-listed Duntarvie Castle near Winchburgh in West Lothian looks set to make the transition from “I wish” to “I can“.
In a welcome move that flies in the face of most criticism that it is not willing to move to help restorations move forward, Historic Scotland has granted Geoffrey Nicholsby permission to build a miniature tank obstacle course around the ruins of Duntarvie Castle, and create an innovative tourist attraction. Most stories I find in the news grouse about how Historic Scotland doesn’t move forward, and baulks change.
The same vision cannot be said of Newton Community Council, which is reported to have opposed the proposal, on the basis that the activity was not appropriate for the grounds of a historic building.
While Historic Scotland now seems to appreciates the huge amounts of money that disappear into a money-pit project such as a castle restoration, its spokesman said:
“In our comments to the local authority we noted the impact this development would have on the historic setting of Duntarvie Castle. However, having considered all elements of the proposal, including the potential to cross-fund the restoration of the castle, we recognised the merits, in principle, of such a proposal.”
And Linlithgow ward councillor Martyn Day congratulated the businessman for investing in the fabric of Duntarvie Castle, and said:
“The idea’s another outdoor leisure activity and it’ll help boost tourism. It can only be good news and it’s a stone’s throw from Edinburgh, which is a good place to have that kind of business. I hope it works.”
The absence of a quote from the community council probably says enough.
I’m not sure why there seem to be so many adverse comments about this. The remains have looked pretty much as seen below for some years, but unlike many ruins, this one has been fenced and supported by scaffolding for some time. Most lie open, and end up vandalised and fire damaged.
Who am I kidding? I know fine well why the adverse comments fly… jealousy and envy. The owner is a successful kiltmaker and businessman – and that’s just not allowed.
The owner plans to have the project up and running on the 8-acre site by summer 2014, beginning with four of the mini-tanks – which cost £10,000 each – and later increasing the number to eight. Visitors will be able to drive the tracked vehicles, known as Funtrak Panzers, around terrain including river crossings, mud, humps and corners, and some of the tiny tanks will be fitted with laser guns and detectors. A successful shot resulting in disabling the drive on an opposing tank. Stationary targets will also be situated around the course.
Although small, the tanks still weight about half a tonne, and a special track is to be laid to stop the ground being damaged.
The plan is to divert half of the profits from the course into work on the castle, and first job is to render the structure wind and water-tight, a task estimated to need about £1 million.
The arrival (or perhaps I should say anticipated arrival, given that we have just been told we are currently enjoying the coldest March for 50 years) of spring has seen life come to the Welcome to the Scottish Maritime Museum, and news of developments behind the move of the remains of City of Adelaide to her new home in Australia.
Australia… sounds like a good idea, as ‘sunny’ Scotland is currently set to keep its current wintry spell extension operating well into April. I’m almost beginning to believe I was sniffing too much cleaning solvent in an unventilated room recently, and that the long walks I was enjoying a few weeks ago were just a figment of my imagination. The idea of going for a nice walk armed with a camera is almost becoming a long-lost memory.
Back in Irvine:
“With the successful transfer to South of Australia of the rudder of the clipper ship City of Adelaide work has now begin on the preparation of the vessel for her journey to Port Adelaide. The technical issues associated with the treatment of the historic timbers of the vessel to meet Australian import regulations were overcome and tested with the move of the rudder. One of the engineers from Australia, leading the project, arrived in Scotland on the 10th of March and a number of specialist contractors have now been engaged. The first phase of this stage of the work will be the dismantling of the Australian built transportation cradle and its repositioning under and around the ship. Work will also commence inside the hull to provide the stability to the ship’s frame for the move.”
This announcement would appear to lay to rest claims by various naysayers that the move had been cancelled, has been stopped by a legal challenge, that the money had run out, that the timber treatment failed to meet Australian import regulations, that the Australians had run away and deserted (after their web site went down), that they had run out of money, and even one suggestion that the hull had already broken and could not be transported to the cradle.
Hunting around the web can find some fun claims that were thrown around while the project was on hold over the doldrums of the winter season.
The question now is whether or not the actual move ultimately produces better tales than the fertile imaginations that were free to roam over the period of calm, or if it all goes off without a hitch.
Parkhead Cross has been granted funding of £1 million through Historic Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme, which has just awarded more than £10 million to 12 historic towns and areas throughout Scotland, towards the cost of improvements:
- £1.6m Falkirk
- £1.2m Kirkwall
- £1m Cupar
- £1m Parkhead Cross
- £970,000 Inveraray
- £750,000 Elgin
- £750,000 Galston
- £750,000 Selkirk
- £645,000 Kirriemuir
- £548,500 Gorebridge
- £500,000 Banff
- £500,000 Kilbirnie
The funds are designed to encourage local authorities to “invest in their historic environment, whilst helping to stimulate economic regeneration”. Allocated to local authorities by Historic Scotland, the grants are made available to provide financial assistance for regeneration and conservation initiatives.
There’s already been work carried out on some of the buildings which oversee the cross, and many of the tenement building are of a fine red sandstone with original detail in the carving, unlike the plain stone of building further away from the cross itself. It’s not so long which scaffolding that seemed to have become a permanent feature on Westmuir Street and Tollcross Road eventually disappeared, and we could see the building behind it once more.
Just across the road, another tenement with a fine feature topping the corner which overlooked the cross developed some sort of potentially hazardous defect, and a band of scaffolding was added around its perimeter, presumably to avoid it falling apart and dumping lumps of sandstone onto unwitting pedestrians passing below, which would probably not have been popular.
Hopefully, this addition – shown below – will be something that the grant will help to make disappear:
While it might not actually be the most unusual job offer around, it is still far from ordinary.
Historic Scotland is reported to be advertising for a Monument Manger for the site – where the successful candidate will live in a two-bedroom house in the middle of the Forth with one other member of staff for eight months of the year. As the island only has what are referred to as ‘limited services’, there is no rent to pay
The Monument Manger can earn up to £20,373 a year, be in charge of a team of four people – and expect to see some 20,000 people visiting the island each year, plus a number of weddings, which are held in the ruins of Inchcolm Abbey. Other then the accommodation, the abbey is the only other building on the island.
Closing date for applications is Friday, February 15, 2013.
You could try Historic Scotland – the official website for proper details:
If you were interested, it looks as if you were not alone:
Hundreds of people have applied to become the manager of uninhabited Inchcolm Island in the middle of the Forth.
A total of 623 people have applied to Historic Scotland to become the monument manager on the small island off the coast of South Queensferry.
Applications have come in from people from as far away as South Africa and America, who all want to live in the two-bedroom cottage for eight months.
They add now that the cottage has a shower, washing machine, and cooking facilities, plus impure water and electricity. However, drinking water and food has to be brought over from the mainland. A limited internet connection is mentioned, and while a television is provided, they say passing boats can occasionally affect reception.
Funding of almost £8 million has been awarded for heritage projects in Scotland’s six cities. The grants from Historic Scotland will be used to enhance conservation areas and maintain historic sites.
Edinburgh projects already mentioned include work on monuments in Greyfriars Kirkyard, repairs to an original Victorian shop front, and restoration of a 19th Century listed building. Dundee will see work take place within conservation areas, including work on ‘at risk’ buildings, together with further investment in the Riverside and Crown conservation areas of Inverness.
The grants are good news, especially at the moment when purse strings are being tightened, so something somewhere has to be suffering. Something that could happen under such circumstances is the assumption that big or well-known high-profile cities can look after themselves, and have some sort of magical pot of money that can be drawn on, unlike smaller conurbations. However, as one who lives in one of those ‘big, rich cities’, I know this is far from the case, having watched many worthy building fall into decay, ruin, and eventual vandalism and demolition.
Listing etc is all well and good, but apart from legal status and little protection, it does not come with any funds to maintain or restore properties.
6 February 2012
Historic Scotland has announced that it will be offering £7.69m in City Heritage Trust grants over the next three years to Scotland’s six cities. The grants are designed to safeguard and enhance conservation areas, the historic environment and sense of place.
Glasgow will receive £2,550,000, Edinburgh will receive £2,145,000, and Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Stirling will each receive £750,000.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs said: “It is vital that we continue to improve the quality of our Scottish cities to make them better places to live, work and invest.
“Managing our historic environment creatively also contributes to sustainable economic growth by growing Scotland’s construction industry and increasing the availability and quality of traditional skills and materials. Using new skills and sustainable materials in the adaptation of existing buildings will also help support the historic environment’s transition to a low carbon economy.
“This investment builds on our Agenda for Cities and £7 million Cities Investment Fund, which has been launched to build the momentum to make sure our cities and their regions make the fullest possible contribution to sustained economic recovery – stimulating economic recovery and job creation.”
There was further information appended to the release, which helps to explain some of the terms referred to in the release:
- The Year of Creative Scotland begins on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: Year of Creative Scotland 2012 – VisitScotland. The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.
- More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at VisitScotland.org > Year of Creative Toolkit
- More information about the Agenda for Cities can be found at Scotland’s Cities: Delivering for Scotland – In Collaboration with Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling
(See also original Clipper ship cradle about to set sail for Scotland – 28 October 2011).
We’ve raised the issue of the treatment of the remains of the clipper City of Adelaide, or The Carrick if you watched it sink while moored in Glasgow, with some despair.
We often accept reality and that not every relic can be retained in pristine and ‘as-new’ conditions, but the way the City of Adelaide was treated is unforgivable, since it was – or rather is – the world’s oldest clipper ship. The only other surviving composite iron- frame and timber-hull clipper is said to be the Cutty Sark, and that is five years younger.
The City of Adelaide was built in 1864, its job to bring early settlers from the UK to the infant colony of South Australia. The state’s longest-established families are linked to the ship, and it has been estimated nearly a quarter of a million descendants of its passengers now live in Australia.
It’s final journey to the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine should have seen its future secured – that’s the idea behind a museum, isn’t it?
Instead, it lay derelict and decaying, and was so unwanted that it was first due to be deconstructed – a process whereby researchers would take it to pieces and record the structure in detail, together with the methods of construction, destroying the hull in the process.
When that didn’t happen, it was reported that the hull was simply going to be demolished to clear the ground it lay on.
Apparently that news was not well received when it went public, and this option was shelved.
Australians finally rescue City of Adelaide
Although we had been trying to keep an eye on the media, apart from local news, nothing else was spotted, primarily because we were completely unaware of what was happening on the other side of the world, and without that knowledge had no idea what to target our searches on. Unfortunately, being named ‘City of Adelaide’ meant that it was all but impossible to get results that did not favour the city rather than the rotting hull lying in Irvine.
To save looking for them again, I’ve listed them below, together with their dates of publication:
The 100-tonne cradle will be built in Adelaide, dismantled for transport to Scotland in shipping containers, then reassembled there and placed under the ship. On wheels, the cradle will then carry the ship, which now sits on a slipway at Irvine near Glasgow, and roll it on to a low-draft barge, which will take it to a transit port for craning on to an ocean-going ship that will bring the cradle and clipper to Port Adelaide. Mr Roberts said the cradle would cost about $1 million to design and build commercially but was being done for a fraction of that thanks to materials and labour being donated. But help was still needed, he said. The Scottish Government was providing some funds for the ship’s removal but the trust was still looking for help from the Australian Federal Government to transport the ship.
CONSTRUCTION of a giant 100-tonne steel cradle, to support historic clipper City of Adelaide on her journey to the Port from Scotland, will begin at Gillman next week.
A ceremony to mark the start of the project will be held at Samaras Structural Engineers on Monday morning (June 27).
A bottle of champagne will be cracked over the first piece of the cradle by Pam Whittle, the great-grand-daughter of the clipper’s first captain, David Bruce, and Marion Wells, the great-great-granddaughter of migrant Matilda Methuen.
The Scottish government decided to allow its permanent return to the Port last year.
The building of the cradle will be a joint effort by more than 15 engineering firms from around the state, donating labour and materials.
Adelaide firms Aztec Analysis and Bown Contracting and Drafting have designed the cradle so that it can be built over several sites across SA, then shipped to Glasgow in containers for assembly underneath the City of Adelaide.
The clipper and cradle will then be rolled onto a barge for transfer to a deep port at Rotterdam, where it will be transferred to a larger ship for the voyage to Port Adelaide.
Another step has been taken towards bringing the City of Adelaide clipper to South Australia from Scotland. A $1 million cradle has been built at Gillman in Adelaide and is about to be shipped to Scotland.
2012 arrival date for City of Adelaide clipper | Adelaide Now. December 28, 2011.
The first two containers of prefabricated components of a large steel cradle left Port Adelaide at the end of October and will arrive at Irvine, where the ship sits, on January 6. A further three containers, each also carrying 15 to 20 tonnes of cradle parts, will leave Port Adelaide on Friday and are due in Scotland in late February. The cradle will be moved under the ship’s hull by late March.
Carrick ready for the off – Irvine Herald. January 13, 2012.
The first two containers of prefabricated components of the cradle arrived in Irvine on Friday. The last three containers, each carrying 15 to 20 tonnes of cradle parts, are due in late February.
The first two containers containing sections of the shipping cradle have now arrived in Irvine, Scotland. The last three containers, each carrying 15 to 20 tonnes of cradle parts, are due in late February. Once the cradle is reassembled under the ship, the 150-year-old clipper and cradle will be moved onto a barge for transfer onto an ocean-going ship for the voyage to Port Adelaide, Australia. The current target date is the end of March, if all goes well.
As this post has already grown to quite a length, and the move has already gone on hold for a year due to the weather and other tests, I will not be extending it further.
Please check for newer posts in the blog, and update after March 2013, when The Scottish Maritime Museum announced that work on the move was due to get underway once more:
We’ve been following the fate of the unfortunate clipper ‘City of Adelaide’ for some time, both here and in the Forum, see: The Carrick or City of Adelaide is laid to rest.
Most people around Glasgow know the vessel as ‘The Carrick’ from its days moored on the River Clyde, where it lay between 1923 and 1989. Unfortunately, it also sank there on more than one occasion, and ownership eventually passed to the Scottish Maritime Museum. During the period 1992/1993, the remains were moved to a private slipway adjacent to the museum, and a number of scenarios followed, including the proposed deconstruction of the remains, and demolition. Fortunately, the latter option was deemed not to meet the requirements of deconstruction, which would have seen a proper historical record made of all parts and construction methods found.
There are more detailed listing of various incidents and proposals regarding the decaying vessel as it lay neglected in Irvine, and many of these were noted in the Forum thread mentioned above, and we will not be trying to list them here. Please refer to the thread for more information, if desired.
We also have two past Blog entries relating to the City of Adelaide:
June 1, 2011 – City of Adelaide is still rotting away in Irvine
January 4, 2010 – City of Adelaide rots while authorities dither
The Forum followed more current developments, including this article from August 31, 2010 – Culture Minister announces plan to save City of Adelaide/Carrick with Australian bidder
I had largely forgotten about things after this, as there did not seem to be much happening.
It seems that the wheels had indeed been ‘set in motion’ following the Scottish Culture Minister’s announcement, and I just found the following Media Release from the latter part of 2010, which I am pleased to be able to reproduce in full below:
Clipper Ship Cradle About to Set Sail for Scotland
28 October 2011
The project to return the world’s oldest clipper ship, the ‘City of Adelaide’, to Port Adelaide will reach another important milestone tomorrow with the completion of the base of a giant 100 tonne steel cradle. A ceremony at Gillman will herald the completion of the cradle base that will support the clipper during its transport from Scotland to Australia. The cradle base has been pre-assembled for integration checks and will be shipped to Scotland in a week’s time.
Valued at $1 million, the cradle has being jointly donated by over a dozen Adelaide and SA regional firms. The ceremony will take place at Samaras Structural Engineers who have donated both labour and materials to the project and will be marked by the cutting of a ribbon by Senator Don Farrell, a staunch supporter of the project and the descendant of a clipper ship captain.
Senator Farrell said “This is an excellent project that helps to mark South Australia’s 175th year. South Australians should be proud, as I am of the collegiate spirit of the engineering firms from across the State that have combined forces to build the cradle. The ‘City of Adelaide’ is an icon of the foundation era of Australia’s social and economic history. It is one of only four surviving sailing ships in the world to have transported emigrants from the British Isles to any destination and will be the only surviving sailing ship in Australia to have brought migrants here.”
Senator Farrell, George Samaras, the General Manager of Samaras Structural Engineers, Creagh O’Connor, the Chairman of the City of Adelaide Preservation Trust, and a group of supporters from the Trust and other donors will also attend the ceremony.
Adelaide firms Aztec Analysis and Bown Contracting and Drafting have designed the cradle so that it can be built over multiple South Australian sites, and then shipped to Glasgow in shipping containers for assembly underneath the ‘City of Adelaide’. The clipper and cradle will then be rolled onto a barge for transfer to a deep port, where it will be transferred onto an ocean-going ship for the voyage to Australia.
The ‘City of Adelaide’ and the ‘Cutty Sark’ are the world’s last two surviving clipper ships. Built in 1864, the ‘City of Adelaide’ is the elder of the two. It made annual runs for a quarter-century from London to South Australia carrying thousands of UK and European migrants. In Australia today, a quarter of a million living descendants can trace their origins to passengers that sailed on the ‘City of Adelaide’.
The ‘City of Adelaide’ currently sits on a slipway in Scotland and its owners, the Scottish Maritime Museum, are being evicted from the site. With few options, they called for tenders to demolish the ship. The City of Adelaide Preservation Trust lodged a bid to ‘demolish’ the ship by taking it to Australia in one piece. Late last year the Scottish Government announced that the Australian solution was the preferred bidder.
To date 75% of the project costs have been funded through contributions from Scottish Government, Adelaide City Council and Port Adelaide Enfield Council, as well as public and corporate donations. The South Australian Government is contributing land to display the clipper at Cruickshank Corner in Port Adelaide
From left to right, then top to bottom, the details of the above images are as follows:
- Parts pre-fabrication at Samaras Structural Engineers at Gillman. Photo by Richard Smith.
- Cradle fabrication at MG Engineering at Port Adelaide. Photo by Richard Smith.
- Cradle fabrication at MG Engineering at Port Adelaide. Photo by Richard Smith.
- Finished cradle components at SJ Cheesman Engineering at Port Pirie. Photo by Richard Smith.
- Cradle integration assembly at Samaras Structural Engineers at Gillman. Photo by Richard Smith.
- Laser-survey silhouette of ‘City of Adelaide’ on cradle. Cradle design by Aztec Analysis; cradle detail design and graphic by Steve Bown.
- The transportation cradle. Cradle design by Aztec Analysis; cradle detail design and graphic by Steve Bown.
- End view of transportation cradle and silhouette of clipper. Cradle design by Aztec Analysis; cradle detail design and graphic by Steve Bown.
- Colourised (real colour) laser survey scan. Laser survey and graphic by Headland Archaeology, Edinburgh.
Update for w/e Friday 27 January 2012
We received the following update:
Hot off the press from an Adelaide paper last week.
2 containers with 40 tons of steel for the prefabricated cradle have arrived at Irvine. 3 more containers comprising the rest of the cradle should arrive this month.
“The ship can be carried onto a river barge, taken into deep water and loaded onto an ocean-going ship which will carry it to Port Adelaide.“
Update for w/e Friday 10 February 2012
This was later found to have been reported earlier by the media in Irvine:
THE historic Carrick clipper ship will be ready to leave Irvine for Australia before the end of March, according to campaigners in Oz.
That’s when the Save the Clipper City of Adelaide Preservation Trust expect a giant 100 tonne cradle which will transport the vessel Down Under will be in place.
The first two containers of prefabricated components of the cradle arrived in Irvine on Friday.
The last three containers, each carrying 15 to 20 tonnes of cradle parts, are due in late February.
The trust proposed four years ago that the ship’s recovery to Adelaide be the major project to mark South Australia’s 175th birthday but they still need to find funding to ship the vessel abroad.
The plan is to roll the 150-year-old clipper and cradle onto a barge for transfer to a deep port, where it will be transferred onto an ocean-going ship for the voyage to Port Adelaide.
Via Carrick ready for the off – Irvine Herald. Dated January 13, 2012.
When I mentioned Moat Brae for the first time, way back in 2008 – Tourism opportunity missed, it was really to have a dig at the “50% by 2015% demand by the Scottish Government, which was their subtle request for the tourism industry to increase its turnover by 50% by 2015. The stick was there, but no apparent carrot to help meet the call.
Moat Brae, with its connection to Peter Pan and author JM Barrie seemed to be an ideal tourist trap (or magnet), but had been left to the vandals, with a quick search showing reports of damage dating back to 2003, and no real help to save the house, which might even have been looking at demolition if the damage and decay continued.
Since then, there has been a number of stories that suggested good news and the start of work to save and restore the house, but these always turn out not be the start of real work on the structure, but of plans.
When the name of Moat Brae bubbled up to the top of my news feeds this week, the wording suggested that work was about to start:
But it turns out that its just another planning announcement and prospectus launch, and reveals that the trust looking after the house has yet to complete its purchase:
The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust is currently raising funds for the upgrade of the building and has secured Joanna Lumley as a patron for its plans.
She said: “I am so thrilled and proud to be here to launch these exciting plans for the future of Moat Brae House and garden.
“There is such wonderful potential to create a fantastic National Centre for Children’s Literature.
“I want to help raise the profile of this admirable project so that Peter Pan fans from all over the world can support this wonderful restoration.”
The house and garden were in private ownership between 1823 and 1914.
It subsequently became a nursing home which shut in 1997 and fell into disrepair.
A local housing association then bought the property and planned to turn it into a residential development.
However, a campaign was launched to stop those proposals and ownership of the building was transferred to the PPMBT for £1 in 2010 with the goal of creating an “attraction of international significance”.
The group is now launching its prospectus with its vision for the historic site which Barrie described as an “enchanted land” which was “certainly the genesis” of Peter Pan.
The trust’s first goal is to raise £750,000 to fund the agreed final purchase price of the building and undertake urgent repair works.
While I like to think I am a realist, and understand how long these projects can take, I hadn’t thought I’d begin to wonder if I would still be writing this Blog by the time the house was opened.
Nor am I criticising the trust – hats off to the members for perseverance.
However, I think those (at the Beeb) responsible for writing the leader for the articles might want to keep the headline a bit closer to reality.
Just after the prospectus was launched, Historic Scotland granted the project £250,000 towards emergency repairs to secure the property from further decay, but this still leaves it short of the £615,000 being sought to complete the these repairs alone.
Urgent repairs funding has been awarded to the house which inspired JM Barrie to write Peter Pan after playing in its gardens as a child.
A grant of £250,000 is being given by Historic Scotland to help restore the Moat Brae building in Dumfries.
Development director Cathy Agnew said the funds would help in its goal of raising £615,000 before the end of the year to carry out emergency work.
She said it would let the trust take the “first steps to deliver this project and save Moat Brae”.
Busy time down in Dumfries, and following the above stories there was yet another, as Joanna Lumley – already noted as a patron of the Moat Brae House project – unveiled a statue of Peter Pan at the entrance to the town:
The Peter Pan statue was provided by the action group, the People’s Project, which is working to improve the appearance and reputation of Dumfries.
Ms Lumley said she was amazed at the work which had gone into the wood-carving.
“I absolutely love it – I am so impressed that it is all made out of one enormous spruce tree trunk,” she said.
“It is absolutely enchanting and it is standing outside the garden centre so everybody who is driving past on the road can see it.”
Yet another update
There must be a regular traffic jam in Dumfries these days, as I just spotted news that the people from the Buildings at Risk register have been there for a look as well, and updated the entry for Moat Brae House:
2013 – Still updating
Five years on from first noticing Moat House, and this is still Work in Progress.
A land deal has been agreed towards plans to create a national centre for children’s literature in a house that helped to inspire the Peter Pan story.
Dumfries and Galloway Council approved plans to transfer ground it owns near Moat Brae for just £1.
It will allow the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust to take forward its overhaul of the Dumfries building.
Work is currently getting under way to begin the restoration of the house where JM Barrie played as a child.
It is now owned by the PPMBT (Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust), which is spearheading a £4m scheme to restore and redevelop Moat Brae as Scotland’s first Centre for Children’s Literature.
Despite the whining heard from some sectors regarding financing and spending cuts these days, it’s nice to see that Historic Scotland is still able to help look after our built heritage.
Some £1 million worth of funding has just been announced to help six historic buildings remain active within their communities:
Drum Castle (Aberdeen) receives almost £466 k to help it function as a wedding venue.
Craigston Castle (Aberdeen) will get almost £250 k as part of a sustainable tourism project.
Stirling’s Smith Art Gallery also gets around £250 k to assist with its plans for expansion.
Dunoon’s Burgh Halls will be aided by £160 k.
The Haining Estate in the Borders gets almost £37.5 k, to become a contemporary arts, music and literature centre, following its donation to the community after the owner’s death in 2009.
Ullapool Museum will receive around £14 k, and will continue as a community resource.