Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is to award the Former Ballater Railway Station a grant of £107,500 to help repair a historic royal waiting room once visited by Queen Victoria and Tsar Nicholas II. This news follows the announcement of a wider £3 million plan from Aberdeenshire Council to reinstate the building, which was devastated by fire in 2015.
The money is awarded as part of Historic Environment Scotland’s Building Repair Grants scheme, which supports repair work to buildings of historic or architectural interest across the country.
Aberdeenshire Council plan to commission specialist conservators to recreate the ornate interior of the Category B listed building. The familiar swan-necked iron lamps, the porte-cochere (covered entrance way), and outstanding decoration including stained glass will all be present.
Thomas Knowles, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said,
We’re pleased to support Aberdeenshire Council in their project to repair and restore the Royal Waiting Room in the former Ballater Railway station. The money will allow them to repair the interior, which helps bring the building to life for visitors and creates work for local craftspeople.
“Although the application to us is related purely to repairing the damaged fabric of the waiting room, as an organisation HES is keen to support projects that enhance knowledge and understanding of Scotland’s historic environment, so we were impressed by the council’s wider plans to restore and improve the space with a new exhibition telling visitors and local people about what Ballater has to offer. We’re looking forward to seeing the newly refurbished building when it re-opens.”
Ballater Railway Station was opened in October 1866 by the Great North of Scotland Railway, and played a crucial part in the growth of Ballater. Regular visits by Queen Victoria to nearby Balmoral Castle encouraged increasing numbers of visitors to travel to the area, and it soon became an important tourist destination. The building ceased to be used as a rail station in 1966, but since 2001 had housed a tourist centre, shops and a restaurant. The council’s wider plan will reinstate these features, and includes a new exhibition space extending along the old platform.
Councillor Moira Ingleby, Chair of the Marr area committee welcomed the news saying, “This is great news for Ballater Station, the Royal waiting room is a significant part of the overall project and the grant money from Historic Environment Scotland will ensure that the restoration is carried out in the best and most sympathetic way.
The station has long been an integral part of Ballater and its destruction by fire has had a marked effect on the life of the village. It is both a significant tourist attraction and a vital piece of local history.
“Work is due to begin soon and I look forward to seeing the station rise from the ashes”.
The aim of a Historic Environment Repair Grant is to conserve original features in buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Owners of historic buildings can apply for financial help to meet the cost of high quality repairs made by specialist craftspeople using traditional materials.
Applications for Historic Environment Repair Grants are open throughout the year, and are considered in three batches. The next closing date is 31st January 2017.
About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)
Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016
2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design (IAD). Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland's position as an "innovation nation", its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector. This is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland and supported by a variety of partners.
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