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17 Aug 2023

Trust secures new funding for buildings conservation work

Two women stand in a garden, with an Edwardian glasshouse behind them. The lady on the left wears a navy National Trust for Scotland jacket. The lady on the right wears a floral dress.
Sarah MacKinnon (National Trust for Scotland) and Susan O’Connor (HES) announcing the funding at Malleny Garden
The award of over £1 million from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will allow us to conduct vital conservation activity across our built heritage properties.

Through a £1,062,000 award from Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Partnership Fund, our charity will undertake a programme of conservation maintenance at numerous sites around the country, use technology to better understand our built structures, and invest in further training and skills development.

This programme will include projects throughout Scotland – from thatch repairs at Culloden to structural repairs at the tower at the House of the Binns. The funding will cover works up to a value of £75,000, focusing on the most urgent conservation needs of the Trust’s buildings. It will also contribute to larger projects, for example the conservation of inset carved stonework at Fyvie Castle.

Over the past year, the Buildings team at the Trust have carried out a wide range of work to conserve and protect our built heritage, in part funded through a £250,000 Annual Repair Grant (ARG) secured from HES last year. This included replacing the lead flat roof covering on the House of the Binns, which formed part of a wider project to reopen the property to the public earlier this year; it had been closed since before the pandemic. Other ARG-funded work included an investment of over £100,000 in a number of projects at Falkland Palace to restore the stunning Renaissance stonework and undertake decorative conservation work; careful conservation of the 17th-century painted ceilings at Crathes Castle; and limewashing the exterior of Balnain House.

The Buildings team not only focus on the castles, houses and palaces in our care, but also the built structures in the many gardens we look after. In the last year, our charity has invested over £57,000 in a major refurbishment of the large glasshouse at Malleny Garden, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with further investment planned through the Partnership Fund to restore the second glasshouse within the grounds.

The Partnership Fund will also support our delivery of a training programme to upskill members of staff across the Trust, providing a wider understanding of how people can contribute to the conservation and maintenance of the Trust’s buildings.

A white framed glasshouse stands in the corner of a garden, surrounded by tall hedges and trees. A narrow gravel path leads towards the door.
The restored glasshouse at Malleny Garden, near Edinburgh

Sarah MacKinnon, Head of Building Conservation at the National Trust for Scotland, said: ‘As set out in the Trust’s 10-year strategy, Nature, Beauty and Heritage for Everyone, we are committed to the conservation, repair and maintenance of our historic buildings.’

“Through funding from organisations like HES, we can continue to carry out the vital work we do and invest the time, care and expertise required in our buildings.”
Sarah MacKinnon
Head of Building Conservation

Sarah continued: ‘Looking after over 100 places throughout the country means there’s no shortage of work to be done. We are incredibly grateful to our supporters, donors, volunteers and members, who allow us to continue to safeguard some of Scotland’s most important and valued historic buildings for generations to come.’

Susan O’Connor, Head of Grants at HES, said: ‘I am delighted that our Partnership Fund will help to support the Trust’s ambitions. Scotland is home to a vast number of heritage assets – from castles and palaces to historic houses – which are hugely important to communities up and down the country. We welcome the Trust’s efforts to explore new ways to understand and care for these places, and I very much look forward to seeing the work unfold as the project progresses.’

We look forward to sharing updates on our conservation work over the coming year.

What we do: Buildings

From iconic castles and famous birthplaces to ice houses and watermills, we care for and manage important historical buildings across Scotland.

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