I am currently working with a number of town centre organisations assisting them in identifying ways forward for their shopfronts. I continue to offer training and advice and guided tours. I have recently led guided tours for both AHSS and SPAB and delivered a lecture for the James M MacLaren Society in Aberfeldy. I have also given evening lectures on historic shopfronts in Rothesay and Kelso as part of their CARS.
In Stirling, I was employed by Stirling City Heritage Trust to undertake an audit of the town centre identifying potential areas for grant funded enhancement of shops and other businesses.
High Street Exhibition
I am delighted to announce that Architecture and Design Scotland's award winning 'High Street' exhibition has been brought to my own area of Strathearn thanks to grant funding by the Gannochy Trust. The exhibition opened at the Old Library on Comrie Street, Crieff on Saturday 6 October and runs until Sunday 4 November. It is open 10-2 Mon-Fri and 10-4 Sat/ Sun. The exhibition explores the history of Scottish High Streets, examines how they have changed and considers their future. It is a very topical issue so if you didn't get to see the exhibition when it was on at the Lighthouse in Glasgow why not make a trip up to Crieff to see it. The exhibition is only touring to two places, Crieff and then West Kilbryde.
As part of the exhibition, I am working with local schools, primary and secondary, to help them explore the history of their local High Street. This part of the Living Communities project which is also funded by the Gannochy Trust.
On Saturday 3 November I will delivering a talk and tour on Crieff's historic shopfronts starting at 11am. The event is free and places can be booked by emailing or phoning me.
I am currently assisting the Dalmellington Partnership who following a Community Action Plan, wanted to improve their town centre. Working with conservation accredited architect, Sonya Linskaill, we are undertaking a survey of the town centre and making recommendations about how the shops could be conserved. This is an exciting community-led project in a very historic village and we look forward to reporting on our findings in due course.
I have been working with Dunblane Development Trust who are keen to conserve and enhance a row of early 20th century shops in the town centre. I provided advice on their significance and made recommendations on their repair and conservation.
Tile and Architectural Ceramics Society Grant
I am delighted to have been awarded a TACS grant to research the Scottish tile firm, James Duncan Ltd. Over the next few months I will be continuing to look into the history of this amazing firm with the hope of publishing the results next year. I recently visited The Shop of Interest located at 1058 Argyle Street, Glasgow to see the Buttercup tiles which they uncovered during work to their shop. These are quite different tiles from the usual Buttercup tiles so are of particular interest. http://www.theshopofinterest.co.uk/
Architecure + Design scotland
I assisted A+DS at The Lighthouse in Glasgow with their exhibition on The High Street. It runs until mid April 2012 and is a really fascinating exhibition. You can find out more at: http://www.ads.org.uk/access/events/high-street-exhibition-2
You can also view some of the film footage from the exhibition at:
An exciting development is that the exhibition will be touring Scotland after it finishes its run in Glasgow so hopefully it might be coming to a High Street near you!
I have been working with several town centre regeneration projects including Leith THI, Rothesay THI and Callander CARS. I have also worked with Stirling City Heritage Trust and Dalkeith THI/ CARS.
The town of Rothesay on Isle of Bute has some tremendous historic shopfronts. The town was once a popular holiday location for Glaswegians who came on the Clyde steamers in their thousands.
Rothesay has some magnificent mosaic tiled shopfronts and also a number of particularly good inter-war shopfronts, some with Vitrolite (a coloured structural glass).
An appraisal was undertaken of around 80 shops in the THI target area and secondary area to identify their period of construction, materials and condition and to make recommendations for their future conservation. This survey has helped to identify shops of significance and to establish that the town has a particularly unusual number of mosaic tiled shops which are not found elsewhere. Identifying such a local characteristic or tradition is important in helping towns to regain their character and identity, particularly in the face of homogenisation in many High Streets.
This research and assessment went hand-in-hand with a wider programme of events organised by THI Project Officer, Lorna Pearce. I led a tour of historic shops in the town as well as delivering a lecture on the history of shops in Rothesay.
Stirling City Heritage Trust appointed me to assess 15 city centre shops for a pilot Facade Enhancement Scheme. This involved a detailed assessment of each shop including background research in the local museum, archives and library.
The shops were primarily of inter-war date including two marble-fronted shops dating to 1936 and a row of particularly attractive bungalow shops dating to 1930s.
The final report made recommendations for the 15 shops in terms of their conservative repair, signage and security measures. Available funding from Stirling City Heritage Trust and Stirling Council will be used to renovate and repair these shopfronts with improved and appropriate security measures where required.
Callander is the gateway to the National Park. It has received Historic Scotland funding through a CARS scheme. I was asked by Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park to undertake a detailed survey of the 70 shops in the town centre in order to inform the shopfront enhancement through the CARS scheme.
Callander has a holiday town feel with many day trippers and the shops reflect the holiday trade with many tourist and food orientated businesses. The town has an interesting mixture of shopfronts, many of which have a simple, domestic style appearance. There is also a former fishmongers with a lifting window and an early bakery interior.
Through the CARS scheme, one of the most interesting shops, a turn of the 20th century building with high quality stained glass, has been conserved. The glass was in a poor condition and Ramolye Glass of Dunblane have been in the process of removing the panels and carefully restoring them in their Glasgow studio. Both shops, Desirables and the Shell Shop will benefit from this important conservation work.
I have recently completed a Shopfront Design Guidance for Callander.
Dalkeith THI/ CARS is being run by Project Officer, Rod Lugg. Rod has produced an impressive Design Guidance for the town which was launched during a week long series of events in March promoting the benefits of the shopfront enhancement scheme. I delivered lectures as part of this promotion.