Church and Edgar's Wall at Coldingham Priory © Heritage Lottery Fund
Two distinctive Scottish heritage projects are to receive grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) totalling £1 million, it was announced on June 12 2008.
Linlithgow Burgh Halls, standing on Linlithgow High Street, and Coldingham Priory near the centre of Coldingham will be given new uses and places within the lives of the surrounding communities thanks to the funding.
The larger grant of £772,500 goes to West Lothian Council to regenerate the Burgh Halls, a 17th century town hall which stands in the Outstanding Conservation Area of the Linlithgow Palace complex. The HLF money will enable the interior of the currently underused building to be transformed into an arts centre.
Following the regeneration, it will contain a gallery, performance areas, function rooms, education space and a café. These new facilities will bring the Burgh Halls back as a place for people to gather, debate and be entertained as was the case for much of its 300-year history.
Church and arch at Coldingham Priory. © Heritage Lottery Fund
Speaking about the Linlithgow Burgh Halls plans, Colin McLean, Head of the HLF in Scotland said: “This is an imaginative development which will create a fantastic arts centre for the people of Linlithgow and the surrounding area, as well as saving a beautiful old building.”
While the interior will be modernised, the plans include the conservation of the fabric of the building.
The ruins of Coldingham Priory, meanwhile, will be safeguarded against the problem of erosion and will made more accessible to the community and visitors with a grant of £237,500 for The Tweed Forum.
The 12th century priory has historic links to one of Scotland’s oldest monastic buildings at nearby St Abbs Head as well as the early Christian communities of Lindisfarne and Iona.
The Forum, which brings interest groups together to protect the sensitive area of the Tweed River catchment, has devised a project to restore the crumbling stonework which is on the brink of collapse and is badly overgrown.
Remaining walls at Coldingham Priory © Heritage Lottery Fund
Once this is achieved, the grant will enable better interpretation of the A listed site as well as funding the establishment of community gardens around the Priory. These will be based on the monastic tradition of growing herbs and medicinal and aromatic plants.
“The need to conserve the actual stonework of Coldingham Priory has been the catalyst for an initiative which will open up the heritage to many more people," said Colin McLean. "It will become a place where people can take time out from their busy lives and enjoy the heritage on their doorsteps.”
“I’m always heartened when new uses can be found for Scotland’s historic buildings," he added. "They give a community a sense of place, of history and of identity that cannot be replaced. These projects show the relevance of heritage in today’s society.”
The Heritage Lottery fund has to date invested over £480m in heritage projects in Scotland.