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Historic landmarks get funding boost

16 December 2009

More than £1.5m is being invested in revitalising some of Scotland’s most important historic buildings, the Minister for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop announced today (Wednesday December 17th).

The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, the Fairfield shipyard office building and Cottier Theatre in Glasgow, along with St Margaret’s Church in Oatlands, will share the latest round of Historic Scotland Building Repair Grants.

Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said: “The historic buildings around us give us a physical link to our past. The Fairfield building reflects the area’s shipping heritage, while the Cottier Theatre and St Margaret’s are former churches that are continuing to play a role in their communities. The history of a venue like the Cottier or the Assembly Rooms can add to their prestige and the impact they have on audiences.

“By investing in historic buildings we are investing in communities. Each project represents something important about the history of the cities they are in and will generate jobs and training opportunities through their repair and end uses. These are hard times for everyone but ensuring that these projects, the jobs created by them and the sustainability of these buildings will bring valuable benefits for a huge number of people.”

The Building Repair Grants scheme has invested more than £150m in the historic environment and has helped many projects find matched funding and previous recipients have included the award winning conversion of Castlemilk Stables and repairs to Abbotsford House.

Fairfield Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. has a proud history on the Clyde and the grant of  £500,000 will see the completion of work by Govan Workspace to bring the office building back into use.

The A-listed office building has fallen into disrepair since it became surplus to requirement in 2001, though the yard remains in operation. Govan Workspace will use the funding  to convert the building into a business centre at the heart of Govan Conservation Area. Historic Scotland supported an earlier phase of work with a grant of £500,000.

Pat Cassidy, Managing Director of Govan Workspace, commented: “With the first phase of emergency works about to be completed, the award of this grant is fantastic news for the project. It will help us move on to the next important phase of restoring the building and giving it new life as a business centre with associated economic and employment benefits for the community.

“The measure of just how important Fairfield is to Govan was seen in the recent Doors Open weekend when 1,110 people queued to catch a glimpse of the historic boardroom and see the building’s other remarkable features that have been lying boarded up for the past 8 years. We’re very grateful to Historic Scotland for this vote of confidence in Govan.”   

Cottier Theatre, formerly Dowanhill Church, will continue with its repairs, with a boost of £210,000 to the Four Acre Charitable Trust. The Trust began repairs to the building in the 1990’s and has received more than £995,000 from Historic Scotland in that time.

David Robertson, project director, said: “We are delighted with this valuable award which will help us to restore the interior of the church and its colourful decoration by international famous Scotsman Daniel Cottier.”

St Margaret’s Church in Oatlands will receive £500,000 for a mixed business and community end use. The 19th century church is currently on the Buildings at Risk Register and one of the most outstanding historical buildings remaining in the area.

Anne McChlery, Director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust said: “We are delighted to hear of this award which will help secure a marvellous building – the last surviving original building of 19th Century Oatlands.  St Margaret’s will provide jobs and activity in this regeneration area.”

The historic Assembly Rooms in George Street, Edinburgh has been granted £318,000 for the conservation work required as part of a wider refurbishment project. Constructed in 1783-87, the A-listed building is a key component of the New Town and Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.  

The Assembly Rooms were built by public subscription, on a site given by the city, and cost over £6,000. Initially furnished by Young and Trotter, the building forms part of the original fabric of Edinburgh's New Town, one of the most important and best preserved examples of urban planning in Britain.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture Convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We are delighted that Historic Scotland recognises the huge importance of the Assembly Rooms to Edinburgh and Scotland’s heritage. This funding is extremely welcome as it will help us to protect and conserve the Assembly Rooms’ fabric.

“One of Edinburgh’s finest public buildings, the Assembly Rooms continues to play a major part in the cultural and social life of the city, with a busy calendar of events, functions, concerts and fairs attracting many thousands of people to the heart of the New Town throughout the year.”

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 more information visit

  • A total of £1,528,000 has been awarded in this round of funding.

  • A series of criteria are used to decide on grants, including the social, educational and economic benefits the project would bring to the community as well as the urgency of the repairs.

  • At this stage the grant offers are conditional and projects have to gain all the necessary permissions and meet all agreed delivery conditions.


Pat Cassidy, Govan Workspace
0141 445 2340. Mobile 07779 094511.

David Robertson, Four Acre Charitable Trust
0141 339 9407

Anne McClery, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust
0141 221 6061

Lynn McMath, City of Edinburgh Council
0131 529 2427  

For further information

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