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27 July 2021

£240,000 boost for communities as Scottish heritage projects awarded funding

Funding to provide training opportunities and the restoration of historic structures will benefit local communities and economies throughout Scotland

exterior of a grand, three-storey 17th century country house

A historic Tolbooth steeple in Fife, the B-listed former Govanhill Picture House and a traditional skills training programme targeting disadvantaged people in Perth and Kinross are just some of the latest projects set to benefit from funding from Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

£241,995 has been awarded to more than 20 heritage projects as part of the Historic Environment Support Fund, administered by HES. The work being carried out by the recipients will benefit communities across the country, with projects based in the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, East Lothian and the Borders, among others.

The Historic Environment Support Fund is used to support various one-off, heritage-related projects in Scotland and has been running since 2016, with over £1 million distributed since it was launched. Funding is awarded to projects which use the historic environment to make a positive difference to their local area, supporting local economies, inspiring and engaging communities with the rich heritage on their doorstep, and ensuring that the historic buildings that give places their distinct character are protected and managed for future generations.

As part of this funding, Bannockburn House Trust (pictured in banner, © Hugh McCusker) will provide local members and volunteers with training in basic restoration and building methods, as part of a 15-year-plan to revitalise the A-listed Bannockburn House. Up to 50 people will receive training on practical woodwork skills from GalGael Trust, who will also deliver learning and engagement experiences, and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust will provide opportunities for people to consider traditional building skills as a potential future vocation.

The Glasgow Artist’s Moving Image Studio will run public engagement and outreach activities at the former Govanhill Picture House as part of a regeneration plan to return the B-listed building to use as a cinema and public café. Meanwhile, the Art Walk Project will aim to increase the public’s understanding of the cultural significance of the Portobello Pottery Kilns in Edinburgh. As part of the project, they will document the hidden social history of the female decorators of Portobello, including personal stories and memories of women who once worked in the Potteries in the 1960s.

Restoration projects include repairing and upgrading a rare clock chime mechanism at Paisley Town Hall. This will allow various tunes, chosen by the local community, to be played throughout the day, and the operating mechanism will be put on display for the public to view. A community engagement programme will take place to raise awareness of the history and construction of the unusual instrument and its significance locally.

a large, square 16th century tolbooth tower with a lower 19th century prison building attached

Pittenweem Tolbooth Steeple probably dates back to the 16th century and has a rich history. It was used to hold alleged witches in 1704.

In addition, as part of a project to restore and maintain the Pittenweem Tolbooth Steeple building in Fife, three clockfaces on the A-listed tower will be restored, while Crail Preservation Society will restore the historic Mercat Cross in Crail as well as installing bollards and an information board explaining the significance of the medieval structure.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said:

I am delighted to announce this funding which has been awarded to a varied range of fantastic projects.

"Whether it’s through empowering volunteers with new skills, enabling people to engage with their local heritage in new and accessible ways, restoring an important part of a historic building so that it can continue to be enjoyed for future generations, or providing opportunities for groups and individuals that are sometimes harder to reach, each project has the ability to impact communities up and down the country.

“Despite COVID-19, many recipients have continued to adapt the way they work in order to continue delivering their crucial and invaluable work within the community – from online training and workshops to virtual events and conferences – and I am pleased to see these projects continue to shine a spotlight on and increase engagement with Scotland’s historic environment.”

The next application deadline for the Historic Environment Support Fund is Tuesday 30 November 2021. 

Find out more about HESF

Funding has been awarded to the following projects:

The Ridge Foundations CIC, East Lothian: £60,000

To deliver traditional skills training for hard-to-reach individuals. The project will provide practical skills training on derelict historic buildings and walls and receives referrals for trainees from GPs, social work, criminal justice system and schools.

GalGael Trust, Glasgow: £32,000

To support training on practical woodwork skills for up to 50 participants, as well as delivery of a range of tangible and intangible heritage learning and engagement experiences. The project will be delivered to support underrepresented groups in the heritage sector and provide routes to further training and engagement.

Bannockburn House Trust, Stirling: £20,000

To deliver a volunteer training programme at the A-listed Bannockburn House. The programme will provide local members and volunteers with training in basic restoration and traditional building methods. This forms part of a 15-year master plan to revitalise the building and estate and positively impact the local economy and community.

Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, Perth and Kinross: £20,000

To provide training opportunities for academically disengaged schoolchildren, disadvantaged people and adults within the criminal justice system, to consider traditional building skills as a potential future vocation.

Prince’s Foundation, East Ayrshire: £20,000

The funding will support training costs and bursary for a Scottish student taking part in the Building Craft Programme 2021. The programme aims to train the next generation of heritage craftspeople to ensure there is a large enough pool of people with the skills required to restore the UK’s heritage buildings for the future. It offers an eight-month programme of applied study to craftspeople and provides them with an opportunity to enhance their design knowledge and experience in traditional and sustainable building crafts. 

Renfrewshire Council, Paisley: £16,250

The funding will support a project to repair and upgrade a rare clock chime mechanism at Paisley Town Hall. The clock carillon will be brought back into use, converting it from an automatic pneumatic operating mechanism to an electronic one to allow for a variety of tunes to be played at regular intervals throughout the day. The local community will be involved in the choice of, and commissioning of, new tunes, and on completion, the operating mechanism will be on display to be viewed by the public. A community engagement programme will run to raise awareness of the history and construction of the unusual instrument and its significance locally, and a film will be produced to document the refurbishment, helping to showcase the mechanism in a historical context as well as create educational resources.

Royal Burgh of Pittenweem and District Community Council, Fife: £11,938

Part of a project to restore and maintain the Pittenweem Tolbooth Steeple building in Fife, the funding will support the restoration of three clockfaces of the iconic A-listed tower. The tower dates to 1588 and remains one of the most significant buildings in Pittenweem.

Crail Preservation Society, Fife: £10,000

To restore the historic medieval Mercat Cross in the Marketgate of Crail. An information board explaining the significance of the Mercat Cross will also be installed, as well as bollards to prevent traffic collision.

Adam Burton, Borders: £7,608

To rethatch the B-listed Rowantree Cottage in Kirk Yetholm. Rowantree Cottage is significant as a late 18th century traditional cottage, with the thatched roof contributing to this significance.

J Mark Gibson, East Ayrshire: £5,720

To rethatch the ‘Forget Me Not’ cottage located on the Craigengillan estate. The cottage dates from the 1700s and is currently used as a holiday let.

Glasgow Artist’s Moving Image Studios, Glasgow: £5,508

The project is part of a wider five-year regeneration plan for the B-listed former Govanhill Picture House to return it to use as a cinema and public cafe. The project aims to clean up the vacant public street adjacent to the building and create a green space and street cinema, with the funding supporting public engagement and outreach activities to encourage diverse usage. Activities will include art, filmmaking, ceramics and gardening workshops. The project aims to shape the building’s future use in a way that reflects the needs of the local community with a focus on environmental, cultural and architectural aspects, as well as enable its removal from the Buildings at Risk Register.

Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust, Argyll and Bute: £5,000

Part of a project to develop a design plan for Achamore Gardens which is on the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, the funding will allow the Trust to commission a Garden Designer to help develop an overarching design plan for the Garden and support the overall restoration plans and the development of a long-term strategy that recognises the Garden’s historic and cultural value, the changing needs of visitors and the ongoing maintenance requirements.

Badenoch Heritage (SCIO), Highlands: £5,000

The funding will support a community-led initiative led by Badenoch Heritage to commission a film celebrating the area’s rich cultural heritage from the pre-historic to the present day. The film will be projected onto the walls of Ruthven Barracks, which is a property in care of HES, and launched during the online Badenoch Heritage Festival in September which will end the Badenoch Great Place Project.

Art Walk Project CIC, Edinburgh: £4,400

The funding will support The Decorators of Portobello project which seeks to increase the public’s understanding of the cultural significance of the Portobello Pottery Kilns which are designated as a scheduled monument and are the only remainders of the Buchan Potteries. The project will document the hidden social history about the female decorators of Portobello, including personal stories and memories of women who once worked in Portobello’s potteries in the 1960s. This will be done through a series of talks and events as well as the production of a book.

Dr Murray Cook, Stirling: £3,700

The funding will support a project to carry out a comprehensive recording of the carved outcrop at Balfron in Stirling. The site comprises a group of unscheduled abstract carvings which have been cut into an outcrop of bedrock. The bedrock will be uncovered to expose its full extent and record any motifs that may be under turf and vegetation. Any associated objects such as blanks or tools will also be recovered. To record the context of the outcrop, a drone survey will be carried out which will result in an enhanced record and understanding of the site and its cultural significance. Individual high-res 3D models of each panel will be created.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, West Dunbartonshire: £3,480

The funding will support a project to create a Conservation Management Plan for three historic graveyards located along the Garbh Uisge river and owned by Drumardoch Estate: Little Leny burial ground, Kilmahog Graveyard and St Bride’s Chapel. As part of the project, an online training seminar will be provided for local volunteers to provide an insight into built heritage surveying and strengthen the capacity of local volunteers to support the management of the sites in the future.

Fionn Duffy, Highlands: £3,444

The funding will support an artist to undertake research into the traditional methods of glassmaking using kelp ash and shells for lime. The process will be documented through video to open the possibility for future training in these techniques. Supported by an archaeologist, the artist will also be re-constructing an 18th century Kelp Kiln to do an experimental firing. The glass will be made into beads influenced by the designs of Norse and Iron Age beads found in Caithness. These will then be distributed amongst project partners and local heritage and arts organisations.

Adrian Pope, Argyll and Bute: £2,500

To rethatch the B-listed Drovers/Morvan Cottage on Tiree which is one of the oldest traditional thatched houses remaining on the island.

Iain MacKinnon, Argyll and Bute: £2,497.50

To rethatch 9 Barrapol - a B-listed cottage on Tiree which is available for holiday lets. The project will involve cutting marram locally to rethatch the cottage.  

The owner of a thatched cottage, Edinburgh: £1,950

The funding will allow the rethatching of an A-listed 18th century cottage in Swanston Village Edinburgh. The cottage is one of the rare surviving thatched cottages remaining within the Edinburgh City Council boundary.

The Scottish Archaeological Forum, Glasgow: £1,000

To facilitate a one-off archaeology heritage conference which will feature a physical and virtual event. The conference will highlight current research of Scottish archaeology, feature a diverse range of speakers and presentations, and will provide networking and career development opportunities

About Year of Coasts and Waters 2021

The Year of Coasts and Waters (#YCW2021), led by VisitScotland, will be showcased throughout 2021. Activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink - whisky.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Stacey Dent
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07221 959 962