Protecting funding for the historic environment
19 June 2014
Grant funding for Scotland’s historic environment should remain at the current level of around £14.5 million next year, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.
Opening a stage one debate on the Historic Environment Scotland Bill, the Cabinet Secretary confirmed she has asked Historic Scotland to maintain its overall grant budget at current levels in 2015/16.
And she announced that Historic Scotland will award almost £2 million to seven historic buildings and landmarks across central and North East Scotland.
The Building Repair Grants, ranging from £26,000 to £500,000, will see a diverse range of buildings and landmarks brought back into use, securing them for future generations. They include the interior of the Citizen’s Theatre in Glasgow, huts at a former World War II Prisoner of War camp in Comrie, a 15th century tower in Fochabers and a suspension bridge over the River Dee in Ballater.
Speaking from the Scottish Parliament, Ms Hyslop said:
“The historic environment is as much about people than buildings. It’s about what people value and want to see cared for. It is a vital resource in cultural, social and economic terms that can and should deliver greater benefits for communities. The Scottish Government is very ambitious for the historic environment.
“That is why we developed Scotland’s first ever strategy for the historic environment - ‘Our Place in Time’ - which sets out a clear vision to produce tangible benefits for this precious resource and ensure it is even better understood, protected and celebrated.
“In line with that strong ambition I worked very hard to protect Historic Scotland’s external grants programme for this year. Today I can confirm that I have asked the organisation to maintain its annual grant budget at approximately £14.5 million into 2015/16.”
“Today’s announcement of £2m to support restoration and repair work at seven historical sites across Scotland takes the amount Historic Scotland has awarded in Building Repair Grants to almost £28 million over the last five years.
“This underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to protecting and preserving Scotland’s incredible built heritage for future generations and to ensuring the historic environment continues to play an important role supporting local communities and the Scottish economy.”
Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.
The Historic Environment Scotland Bill will bring together Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) to form a new body, called Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
Historic Scotland’s Building Repair Grants scheme offers financial assistance to owners of buildings of special architectural or historical interest, in order to meet the cost of high-quality repairs, using traditional materials and specialist craftsmen, to conserve original features.
Seven buildings and landmarks are to benefit from £1,807,104 in building repair grants as announced by the Cabinet Secretary today. They are:
The Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow - £500,000
Cultybraggan prisoner of war camp huts, Comrie - £198,000
- This 19th Century theatre contains one of Scotland’s oldest surviving theatre interiors, dating back to 1878, only surpassed by the Tivoli Theatre in Aberdeen (1872) and Britannia Music Hall, Glasgow (1868).
- The building contains very rare original under-stage lifting machinery.
- The funding will support the building’s repair and conservation and re-use as a cultural space.
Polhollick Bridge, Aberdeenshire - £123,400
- Cultybraggan was a World War Two camp for German prisoners of war.
- Seven huts will be restored and converted to self-catering accommodation.
- Known as ‘Nazi 2’ it was one of two maximum security camps in Britain which held prisoners classified as the ‘most ardent’ Nazis.
- The parts of the complex which remain include complete examples of guard and prisoner compounds, which are of national and international significance.
Blairs Farm Steading, Forres - £500,000
- One of three similar category-B listed suspension footbridges on the Upper Dee
- The sophisticated engineering, including the delicate latticework of the pylons and parapets make this a significant landmark.
- The bridge is a key part of the Ballater ‘Seven Bridges’ walk and its repair is key to maintaining the important path network
Bog O’ Gight Tower, Gordon Castle, Moray - £27,654
- An A-listed building and very unusual Italianate steading complex
- Designed by Archibald Simpson, who was one of the North-East of Scotland’s most important architects.
- This building is being brought back into use and will form business and education units once the conservation work is complete.
St Francis Centre, Glasgow - £26,050
- The tower is all that remains of the Bog o’ Gight, the seat of the Gordon family built in 1479.
- It was the central focus of a much larger castle which was largely demolished in the 1950s.
- This funding will support the tower being brought back into use and enable public access to the historic tower for the first time.
Royal Alexandria Infirmary, Paisley - £500,000
- This Tudor Gothic rebuild is a rare survival of 19th Century Gorbals.
- It was designed by Peter Paul Pugin, one half of the foremost ecclesiastical architectural practices of the late 19th Century (Pugin & Pugin).
- Leaded windows will be repaired and restored with this funding.
- The infirmary is an excellent example of late 19th Century hospital and will be converted into a 47-bed extra care home facility.
- It has several unusual design features, which include the only surviving example of a circular ward block (only two were built in Scotland), which allowed for better provision of natural light than a traditional nightingale ward.