Historic Scotland funding for Brough Lodge

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Brough Lodge welcoes £460,000 offer from Historic Scotland

Historic Scotland has pledged a contribution of £460,000 towards the restoration of Brough Lodge, the A-listed house in Fetlar.  The offer of grant, warmly welcomed by the Brough Lodge Trust, will meet 11.5% of the total cost, which is estimated at £4m.

The Brough Lodge Trust has always intended that the old house would be used as the venue for residential workshops, attracting visitors from around the world to learn about Shetland music, textiles, archaeology and wildlife.  The Trust’s business plan has shown that the income generated from accommodation and other services would create direct employment in Fetlar and produce wider economic benefits for the North Isles and the rest of Shetland.  

With the first major phase of restoration complete, the Trust has been considering how these benefits can be maximised.  Following discussions during August with people involved in textiles, Trustees concluded that a priority should be support for traditional knitting skills.  The Trust intends to develop a programme aimed at teaching hand knitting to school children and a local task force has begun to consider how that can best be done.  It is likely that several pilot projects will be carried out to help determine the right approach.  Once Brough Lodge is operational, profits will be used to support the programme.

Meanwhile, the Brough Lodge Trust has received overwhelming support from the Fetlar community.  Other local organisations – including Shetland Charitable Trust and Shetland Amenity Trust – have indicated that, whilst they aren’t able to commit funds, they back the project.

Pierre Cambillard, Chairman of the Brough Lodge Trust said: “I am delighted that we have received such a strong financial commitment from Historic Scotland as well as moral support from key Shetland stakeholders.  We are determined to help secure the islands’ unique heritage for the future and we are confident that these endorsements of what we are trying to do will underpin our efforts to address further sponsors and funders, in Shetland, Scotland, the UK and overseas.” 

Pierre Cambillard is in no doubt that the concept of heritage workshops, developed five years ago, is now more attractive than ever before.  He said:

“Events such as Shetland Wool Week, initiatives such as Geopark Shetland and the continuing growth of interest in music, archaeology and of course wildlife have demonstrated that Shetland has the potential to play a bigger role in world tourism.  The islands already attract many visitors with special interests in all these fields.  In particular, wealthy tourists from many parts of the world, including North America, increasingly look for authentic experiences in more remote, relatively undiscovered locations.  The recession seems to have had little impact on such visitors.  The Trust intends that the facilities and high quality that Brough Lodge could offer are exactly in line with the needs of some of the most promising market segments for Shetland.”

Pierre Cambillard added that the Brough Lodge Trust is “hugely impressed” with the restoration work that has been undertaken by the Shetland Amenity Trust’s Architectural Heritage Team.  As well as installing new roofs and ensuring that the building is wind- and watertight, the team has substantially restored the original appearance of the main building. 

The Trust also hopes that a major private donor can be attracted to support the project.  However, Pierre Cambillard has emphasised that all donations are welcome, including donations in kind from local suppliers who wish to support the project through provision of materials.  He said:

“The more successful the appeal, the more quickly the restoration can be completed, meaning that the project’s benefits will begin to be realised.  It really is an investment in Shetland’s future.”

Contributions will also be welcome from those who may wish to support the pilot hand-knitting projects.   Any donations may be addressed to Brough Lodge Trust, c/o Paul Rutherford, St Olaf’s Hall , Church Road, Lerwick ZE1 OFD. A Gift Aid form is available on request and any donation will be acknowledged with a receipt.  Full details of the project are available at www.broughlodge.org.