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Minister hears plans for Rothesay revitalisation

23 August 2010

Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop is today (Monday) visiting Rothesay to hear about a planned new partnership between Historic Scotland and Argyll and Bute Council to look at new ways to capitalise on the island’s heritage to revitalise the community.

The heritage agency and local authority are looking at how the area’s historic buildings can be repaired as part of a wider regeneration of Rothesay, which would both reflect the town’s past and build on the work being done by the Argyll and Bute Council’s CHORD (Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Oban, Rothesay and Dunoon)  regeneration programme.

The Minister said: “I am delighted to hear about how Historic Scotland and Argyll and Bute Council are looking at developing how they cooperate to prioritise areas where they can work together. Part of this will be investigating whether a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme can be built up to revitalise some of the key historic buildings that will be familiar to the thousands of people who have enjoyed holidays on the island in the past and recapturing some of the glory days when families would flock here.

“It is an incredible town that I have fond memories of visiting and today I have the opportunity to see some of the buildings that could be landmarks in a project like this. What is new about this partnership is that it will also consider the potential tourism value of the regeneration.

“We will be looking at how sites like Rothesay Castle, which is in the care of Scottish Ministers, can better support the local community, businesses and other tourist attractions in the area. Rothesay still has so much to offer and I am optimistic that the CHORD initiative, along with other efforts both in Rothesay and in the wider region, will draw back visitors in a proactive way.”

The Minister met with local people and representatives of the council at Rothesay Castle before going on to see some of the town’s historic landmarks.

One of the sites visited was a project to repair a 19th Century cast iron canopy at a house on the water front carried out by Historic Scotland in 2008-9.

The canopy, produced by George Smith & Co’s Sun foundry in Glasgow in the late 19th Century, was scanned with lasers to create a 3D model that allowed corroded sections to be recreated to incredibly precise measurements.

This was the first time Historic Scotland used the technology which is now being used in the Scottish Ten project, which will scan Scotland’s five World Heritage Sites and five international sites – the first of which, Mount Rushmore, was completed earlier this year. It is a partnership between Historic Scotland and the Digital Design Studio at Glasgow School of Art.

The Minister added: “What we are doing with the Scottish Ten project is showing how seriously we take conserving and promoting our World Heritage Sites. The demand for our scanning team by other sites outside the Scottish Ten project has led us to offer their services commercially through the Centre for Digital Design and Visualisation.

“This way we can expand Scotland’s profile in the international heritage sector; constantly learn from the experience and generate income to contribute towards funding the Scottish Ten sites. It is incredible to think that it all started just two years ago here in Bute with a beautiful, but relatively modest, piece of Scottish ironwork.”

Historic Scotland is also funding a booklet and walking tour guide of Rothesay’s traditional architectural ironwork, due to be released by the Bute Conservation Trust next year.

The Minister is also visiting Bute Museum where she will meet the volunteers and trustees who manage it.  Visitors can explore the Natural and Historical Heritage of the Isle of Bute and chart its history from the Mesolithic and Neolithic times to the closing years of the 20th century.

Notes for editors

  • 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.

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768100