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Arbroath community call for £4,000 Signal Tower garden and courtyard makeover

Arbroath's Signal Tower. Pic: Angus Alive
Arbroath's Signal Tower. Pic: Angus Alive

Local helping hands are being sought for a project to transform the garden and courtyard of a 209-year-old piece of Angus maritime history.

The areas outside Arbroath’s Signal Tower are to undergo a £4,000 makeover with lottery cash.

And designers of the community garden at Dundee’s V&A attraction will lead the project.

Signal Tower
The Signal Tower.

They are also involving a local mental health charity set up by an Arbroath mum following the loss of her son almost a decade ago.

But the hope is locals will step up to play their part in creating the new community space.

The project

Angus Alive has been awarded £4,000 from the Heritage Lottery-funded Steps to Sustainability project which supports heritage organisations.

The volunteers will be working with Gary Kennedy of kennedytwaddle and Linsey McIntosh.

They co-designed and delivered the V&A Dundee community garden.

Gary said: “We are enthused by this project, and are very much looking forward to building a co-design team with the interested communities of Arbroath.

“We expect the experience to be engaging, creative and enjoyable, while achieving an outcome that we can collectively be proud of.”

Linsey added: “There’s so much potential with this beautiful coastal site.

Signal Tower
Waves crash over the sea wall between Arbroath lifeboat station and the Signal Tower. Pic: John Stevnson/DCT Media.

“And together we can shape the next chapter of the story at the Signal Tower.”

And local charity Reach Across is already on board for the exciting development.

It was set up in 2013 by Sandra Ramsay following the tragic death of her son, Ross.

The 30-year-old was starting out in the music and theatre industry but struggled with mental health issues and his body was found after he went missing in Glasgow.

Reach Across now delivers vital mental health support from a dedicated base in the town’s Guthrie Port.

It moved there in 2020 to meet increasing demand for support.

Rich history

The Signal Tower was built in 1813.

It was the communication station for Robert Stevenson’s Bell Rock lighthouse off the coast of the Angus town.

In the early days, copper ball mechanisms and flags on the top of both the tower and the lighthouse were used by keepers and the shore base.

The Bell Rock remains fully-operational as the world’s oldest sea-washed lighthouse.

Bell Rock
The Bell Rock lighthouse.

But the Signal Tower has since become a museum.

It tells the story of the construction of the Bell Rock and Arbroath’s maritime past.

Recently, a £34,000 restoration project opened up the spiral staircase and the top of the town to visitors.

How you can get involved

The project is being launched at Arbroath’s Webster Theatre on Thursday January 20 at 2pm.

There will be a design workshop at the theatre on Thursday February 3.

And volunteers will be on site at the Signal Tower for the first time of February 23.

Signal Tower
The Signal Tower garden. Pic: Angus Alive

Rachel Jackson of Angus Alive said: “Museums Galleries & Archives Operations Lead explains more about the project.  She said: “The project will not only help wonderfully transform the space, it is also a fantastic opportunity for keen gardeners and designers to volunteer.

“They can be a part of a small friendly team, whilst learning new design skills and helping create something locals and visitors can enjoy for years to come.”

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