Berwickshire Civic Society looking towards 50th Anniversary at AGM

Published by Judy Torrance on

The 49th AGM of the Berwickshire Civic Society was held last week at Thirlestane Castle. As the Society look ahead to its 50th anniversary the meeting heard how Thirlestane Castle Trust is positioning itself in the 21st century.

Edward Maitland-Carew leading the tour of Thirlestane Castle at the Society’s AGM

Edward Maitland-Carew, Resident Trustee of Thirlestane Castle Trust, gave a talk to Society members explaining that the forced closure of the Castle in 2012 due to extensive dry rot, allowed Trustees time to consider how the business could be made financially sustainable to meet the demands and expectations of the modern visitor whilst also preserving the Castle and its collections for future business’.

The AGM was held in the State Dining Room which holds one of the largest collections of family portraits in Scotland.

The Trustees decided that they needed to diversify their income generating stream whilst also conserving and promoting the heritage associated with the building, its contents and grounds for visitors.

Edward Maitland-Carew explained: “We hope that Thirelstane Castle will become a “Gateway to the Borders” for people travelling to and from Edinburgh and will provide much needed accommodation, events space and corporate facilities. The Castle recently hosted 1350 Americans at a Highland Games and fair in the grounds.”

“Events such the Vintage Car Festival held in June, Wild Outdoor Activity Camps, Historical re-enactment events and outdoor theatre enable us to share the Castle with the public and create a financially viable future. Thirlestane Castle is one of the largest and oldest inhabited Castle’s in Scotland and together with its hugely important place in Scottish history we need to ensure that we create a sustainable plan to hold it for future generations of visitors to enjoy.”

The successful application for match funding from LEADER is enabling the Trustees to carry out the first stages of the plans. Society members were shown the new event space in the Victorian Kitchen for weddings , private dining and groups, which can cater for up to 40 people. Together with upstairs servers which enables the State Dining Room to be used more easily for functions.

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