Scottish heritage projects to share £7m lottery funding

Edinburgh’s City Observatory and the Govanhill baths in Glasgow are among six Scottish projects to be restored thanks to investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

A total of £7 million is being made available for projects across the country, with the aim to preserve historical buildings, engage people in the history and heritage of their area and contribute towards the economy.

The City Observatory on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, currently on the buildings at-risk register, is to receive £1.3m to create a visual art gallery space. The complex will also include the original telescopes, which will be restored, an education space and heritage trails and viewpoints leading to it.

The Govanhill baths in Glasgow were closed in 2001 but reopened in 2012 as a community art venue, and will now be given £1.2m to speed up restoration of the ladies’ and learners’ pools and the Turkish suite. The former Steamie will also be turned into a theatre venue and community events space.

Academy Street in Inverness is to undergo a £1.5 million restoration, which will include the repair and restoration of its historic buildings. The street is one of the oldest in the city but has been in danger of losing some of its landmarks.

Other projects receiving funding include Kirkcudbright Art Gallery, which has been given a grant of £931,200, the Davidson Cottage Hospital, Girvan, which is to be restored and turned into offices and studios thanks to a £1.39m grant, and the Fife Pilgrim Way, a long distance walking route from Culross/North Queensferry to St Andrews, which follows much of the original routes walked by medieval pilgrims.

Dame Seona Reid, chair of HLF’s Scotland committee, said: “Heritage is firmly at the centre of shaping and improving local quality of life. In practical terms, heritage projects can provide training and education, encourage tourism and kick-start regeneration, but heritage is also important in emotional terms.

“Research shows that investing in heritage can make people happier about where they live, and enhance their sense of identity.

“Towns and communities across Scotland are realising that far from being a dead hand on development and regeneration, heritage can be the catalyst that encourages both. And let’s not forget that this important investment is only possible because of the National Lottery players.”

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