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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


£2.9 million transformation of Dundee mill taking shape

March 11 2015

In just nine months, Dundee’s historic High Mill has transformed from a derelict and dangerous husk to a stunning building that could soon become a major attraction. Originally built in 1833 for flax spinner David Lindsay, the A-listed building sits by the city’s Verdant Works. It has lain empty since the 1960s and by 2012 was in genuine danger of being torn down as its condition continued to deteriorate. Now a £2.9 million project has protected its stunning architecture for future generations, and though work is ongoing it should be complete by the summer. The building will then take its place as a cultural attraction alongside the main Verdant Works museum, which tells the story of Dundee’s industrial heritage. Within the scaffolding-clad walls, High Mill’s gothic cast iron roof trusses have been blasted and re-painted, returning them to their former glory. A new roof has been put in place and when windows are fitted later this month the building will be wind and watertight for the first time in nearly 30 years. Wherever possible the building and its features have been repaired rather than replaced and more than 1,500 photographs have been taken to document the project. Dundee Heritage Trust said it was “delighted” that the rough industrial character of the building and its history was being kept. That has extended to everything from original features and finishes down to old light switches, rusty doors and graffiti being retained. The innovative design has seen the building’s wooden floors removed to create a full-height cathedral-like space that reveals the skeleton of the building and the monumental scale of the architecture. The project will almost double the size of the Verdant Works museum, provide interpretation on new themes and allow more historic objects to be displayed. They will include the centrepiece exhibit of Leisure and Culture Dundee’s 1801 Boulton and Watt steam engine. “Everyone is incredibly pleased with the progress to date,” said Dundee Heritage Trust’s museums and exhibition director Gill Poulter. “The beautiful potential of the building is now starting to emerge and the excitement levels are undoubtedly ramping up. “We cannot wait to share the experience with our museum visitors.” The project has been made possible thanks to a partnership involving the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and 23 other funders.

Perth & Kinross

City status already paying off for Perth with Historic Scotland funding

July 2 2012

The success of Perth's bid for city status has attracted a major financial boost a £650,000 investment in the restoration and maintenance of the Fair City. Historic Scotland is making the award directly as a result of the Queen granting city status as part of her diamond jubilee celebrations. The funding for Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust will be spread over three years, with the bulk of it going towards repairs on historic buildings. Priority will be made within a strategy agreed with Historic Scotland. The grant aims to safeguard and enhance the historic environment, while contributing to job creation and economic recovery. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust will receive £150,000 for the remainder of year 2012/13, then £250,000 in each of 2013/14 and 2014/15. Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ''The grant from Historic Scotland will help secure Perth's outstanding built heritage, enhancing the city and preserving a sense of place. ''Improving the historic properties will also encourage tourism, promote the use of traditional building skills, and make the city of Perth a better place to live, work and invest in. ''Using sustainable materials to adapt existing buildings will also help support the historic environment's transition to a low-carbon economy. This award marks the culmination of a successful partnership between Historic Scotland and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust.'' The grant is the first tangible economic benefit following on from the restoration of city status, which will be officially recognised during the Queen's visit to Perth on Friday. The city has more than 360 listed buildings, including the sheriff court, St John's Kirk, Perth Bridge and the City Hall the last named being saved from demolition after Historic Scotland rejected the plan. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust chairwoman Sue Hendry said: ''The trust is delighted with this announcement of Historic Scotland's support, to create a Perth City Heritage Fund to protect and conserve Perth's built heritage, helping us to ensure the Fair City continues to live up to its name. ''The scheme will allow the trust to enhance and promote historic buildings within the conservation areas of Perth and Kinnoull, and will complement the Tay Landscape Partnership Scheme currently being developed to celebrate the unique character of the surrounding area.''


Fife’s treasures to be safeguarded by new £2.6 million archive

August 17 2016

A state-of-the-art storage unit to house artefacts from across Fife is being created at Fife Council’s Bankhead depot. The purpose-built £2.6 million archive, the size of eight tennis courts, will bring together more than 100,000 historic objects, documents, photographs and works of art into one secure and environmentally controlled facility. It will enable schools, researchers, organisations and the public to view items not on display and boost the use of Fife’s archival services. Crucially, it will safeguard Fife’s collections of artefacts and historical records, which are managed by Fife Cultural Trust on the council’s behalf, and allow for cataloguing and stewardship from one central location. Due to be completed next spring, the Glenrothes base will also house the council’s historic archive records and staff managing the school library service. While the council is responsible for maintaining and conserving valuable local artefacts, until now there has been no permanent storage and operations management facility in place. Depute leader Lesley Laird said: “This new facility will deliver a number of significant benefits for local people, schools and researchers nationally by preserving Fife’s distinct and rich cultural heritage. “It offers Fifers the chance to see some artefacts that reveal Fife's unique cultural identity, but have been hidden from the public eye for a number of years.” Fife Cultural Trust’s chief executive Heather Stuart added: “This facility is set to be a fantastic asset to Fife’s cultural heritage and will provide a permanent home for some of our most precious artefacts, paintings and valuable local history records. “By gathering all of our most important collections together in one new facility we can ensure that they are carefully preserved and can be accessed and enjoyed by the people of Fife and visitors to the kingdom for years to come.” Collections which will be stored include works by famous and admired Scottish Colourists, including William McTaggart and Samuel Peploe, as well as items from Fife’s social industrial history collection, such as linoleum samples dating back to 1840. The new storage unit is one of several projects, including: The creation of a flagship museum in Dunfermline – the Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries is due to be completed in early 2017, and; The extension of Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery to increase the available space to display the gallery's art collections of national significance, which was refurbished and reopened in June 2013.

Perth & Kinross

Scotland’s heritage safeguarded thanks to Perth firm’s expertise

November 13 2015

A Perth-based land and property firm is playing a key role in upgrading some of Scotland’s most famous historic buildings. A commission from the Landmark Trust will see specialists Bell Ingram lead the upgrading and maintenance of a portfolio of 19 renowned properties across Scotland, including The Macintosh Building in Comrie. Dating from 1903/4, the well-known Charles Rennie Macintosh-designed building was commissioned by a local draper and ironmonger as a shop with a flat above and workrooms in the attics. The project also coincides with the broadcast of Restoring Britain’s Landmarks, a new Channel 4 series offering behind-the-scenes access to the Landmark Trust and documenting two of its renovation projects and their history. The six-part series follows the Landmark Trust’s restorations across the country and explores the stories behind many other extraordinary buildings in the organisation’s collection. Susan Burness, director of Bell Ingram Design and RIAS-accredited conservation architect, said: “This new contract with The Landmark Trust is a significant win for all of us at Bell Ingram and we are delighted to be involved with the conservation of some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks. “We are, at the moment, working on four projects for the Trust: Ascog House on the Isle of Bute and Auckinleck House in Ayrshire, as well as The Macintosh and Pineapple buildings (Dunmore). “We are very excited to have these projects under way and believe our expertise and experience in property restoration is a vital aspect in bringing new life to these impressive, historic buildings.” Alastair Dick-Cleland, conservation manager at the Landmark Trust, said: “Thanks to TV shows about sympathetic adaptation, people are beginning to see that there are serious risks in not using an architect.” The Landmark Trust is a British building conservation charity founded in 1965 that rescues buildings of historic interest or architectural merit and makes them available for holiday rental. The trust cares for nearly 200 buildings across Britain and several in Italy and France.


Australians hail ‘forgotten’ Fife explorer John McDouall Stuart

June 25 2013

Tributes paid in Fife to a “forgotten” Scottish explorer who became the first man to walk from the south to the north across Australia have been capturing the imagination of historians and the public Down Under. The Courier has been contacted by several Australians who were fascinated to read our recent coverage online and have been keen to find out more about what has been happening in Fife. Dysart man John McDouall Stuart, born in 1815, is a hero in Australia after leading the first successful expedition to carry out the feat and map the internal lands of the country while doing so in 1862. Closer to home, Fife Historic Buildings Trust launched a search in February for relatives of the explorer, who is not particularly well known here. The trust has been working on transforming his birthplace a house on the corner of Fitzroy Place and Rectory Lane, Dysart into a modern holiday home and were keen for his relatives to attend its opening. Last month the holiday apartment was officially opened by Kaye Bachelard who is the great-great-great-grand-niece of Stuart. The building formerly housed the McDouall Stuart Museum, which was closed by Fife Council in 2009 due to low visitor numbers. Work on the £50,000 restoration project by Fife Historic Buildings Trust started last year. Paul Curnow, a lecturer at the Adelaide Planetarium in South Australia, got in touch to thank The Courier for a “great article” and revealed that Adelaide is holding a John McDouall Stuart exhibition at its Migration Museum until October 26. The title of the exhibition is Crossing Country: John McDouall Stuart. Exhibits include the rifle used by Stuart. Mr Curnow said: “I couldn’t speak on behalf of the Australian people because I guess he would hold different significance for different people. “However, as an individual I can say that he represents that tough pioneering spirit of the early explorers in Australia. “He traversed the continent from south to north, and then made it back again where others had failed. Australia has over 45,000 years of history and he met Aboriginal Australians who had never seen a white man in their lives. “What a shock it must have been for them to see a white man and a horse for the first time. Furthermore, what an experience it must have been for him and his men meeting what would almost seem like an alien culture to their own.”

Perth & Kinross

Scaffolding comes off to reveal restored Perth building’s Georgian grandeur

January 5 2016

A high-profile building in the heart of Perth has been transformed with the help of grant aid to restore historic properties in the city. Scaffolding has now come down from the corner of High Street and George Street to reveal an elegant Georgian tenement built in about 1780 which has been worked on over the last few months by skilled local craftsmen. The block at 1-3 George Street, which includes Ivory Whites Bridal Boutique and Williamson’s florist on the ground floor, benefited from a grant from Perth City Heritage Fund to help the owners’ association meet the costs of conservation work. That work included removing the failing cement render and repairing the historic masonry with lime mortar, repairs to the roof, chimney and cast iron gutters and downpipes. One of the biggest changes to the building has been to return the brightly painted sash and case windows to their original pattern and colour, including all the false windows which were discovered when the render was removed. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust’s conservation architect, Andrew Driver, explained: “This is not to do with window tax, these were part of the original design to give a regular rhythm to the frontages.” The work has been carried out by Perth contractor One Call Ltd and overseen by Cupar architects, Arc. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust have been running the heritage fund since 2012 when Historic Environment Scotland rewarded Perth’s newly gained city status with a fund to assist owners of historic buildings in the city centre and Kinnoull conservation areas. Since then, the fund has awarded more than 30 grants ranging from a few hundred pounds to over £200,000 to help owners repair and bring back into use historic buildings in the city of Perth. One of the key reasons for this building receiving a grant was because the proprietors joined together to form an owners’ association. Not all common repair schemes need to be as large and complex as this one, but the first step should be for the owners to get together to discuss the works and formally set up an association if anything more than the most minor repairs are needed. Support for owners who would like to collaborate to organise their own repairs can be obtained by contacting either Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust or Perth and Kinross Council. Earlier this year the trust was awarded £750,000 as a second tranche of City Heritage Funding from Historic Scotland to offer as grants. The fund will run until 2018 and anyone interested in applying for a grant should initially contact Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust on 01738 477093. To find out more about Perth City Heritage Fund go to www.pkht.org.uk.


£40,000 boost for St Athernase Church preservation project

June 16 2016

An ambitious project to restore a historic Fife church has received a major funding boost. A £40,000 grant has been awarded to St Athernase Church in Leuchars as part of a campaign to restore the building to its former glory. The money has been awarded from the National Churches Trust and comes as part of a wider community effort to preserve the iconic structure. Greeting the news, Reverend John Duncan, the minister at Leuchars St Athernase, said: “It is wonderful news that the National Churches Trust is to give Leuchars St Athernase such a generous grant and we are pleased that it also acknowledges the importance of St Athernase Church at a local and national level. “I am grateful to the trustees of the trust for enabling future generations to appreciate the historical jewel we have in St Athernase Parish Church.” Lauded as one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Scotland, St Arthernase Church dates back as far as 1150 and is visited by hundreds of people every year. Positioned at the heart of Leuchars, the church has remained an integral part of community life for almost 1,000 years and remains a focus for worship in the area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvWbcAItOdA Last month, The Courier revealed plans to restore the Grade A listed building to its former splendour, with campaigners estimating that around £500,000 will be required. Repairs to the roofs, walls and drainage of the church’s nationally important Norman apse and chancel are required, while accessible information about the history and architecture of the church is also to be installed. Once the repair project is complete, the church will be able to hold a range of community activities including guild meetings, choirs, Sunday schools, and coffee mornings, which currently have to take place in another building adjacent to the church. Reverend Duncan added: “Until the funding is in place you are always waiting for the news, but now we have this grant the architects can now get going.”


Roseangle base is another stop on the journey to a Dundee Museum of Transport

April 2 2011

Dundee Museum of Transport has secured a temporary home in the west end to get its exhibitions up and running. The group wants to house its collection permanently at the old Maryfield tram depot on Forfar Road but will open a temporary base in a former laundry on Roseangle. The museum chairman, Jimmy McDonnell, said, "We are delighted at the generous offer of space from the owner at no charge to the trust. The empty building will allow us to have an office to coordinate our fund-raising efforts and activities and, most importantly, to continue to gather, store and catalogue artefacts and items relating to Dundee's rich transport history. "Our main objective is for Maryfield tram depot but this will be a temporary office place and we're going to have a small display area. We are going to be a bit restricted for space here but we will have a revolving small display here and maybe some stuff outside. "We've an RAF Tornado jet promised to us from Leuchars and we want to get an exhibition ready to do something in time for WestFest in June." Vice-chairman Terry Small had been in talks with the McManus Galleries to acquire memorabilia associated with the Tay Bridge disaster before he was taken ill last week. The museum committee is now looking for help to clear the site on the corner of Roseangle and Greenfield Place. "We want to get the Claverhouse Group involved and the criminal justice department to help us start work on tidying up here," Jimmy said. Committee member Nigel Watson added, "We are wanting to get the community involved, too. It's their museum." The group has also secured a five-figure sum from the Dundee Historic Environment Trust supported by Historic Scotland to commission James F. Stephen Architects to carry out a feasibility study at the Maryfield depot. Jimmy said, "This is the first big step towards securing a permanent home for the museum."Find out more at dundeemuseumoftransport.co.uk

Perth & Kinross

‘Heritage dragons’ to hear Blairgowrie school regeneration bid

October 1 2012

A Perthshire community group is heading to London to pitch its regeneration plans to a group of ''heritage dragons''. Just like the entrepreneurs on television's Dragons' Den, members of The Ericht Trust will be given an opportunity to convince a panel that they are worthy of backing. The Blairgowrie and Rattray community development organisation is looking to rejuvenate Blairgowrie's B-Listed former Hill Primary School and will join local groups from across the UK on Wednesday in their quest for assistance. The groups will be outlining their proposals for heritage-led regeneration projects, as they compete to secure over 400 hours of free professional advice that could help drive their project to fruition. The Ericht Trust plans to regenerate the building into a self-sustaining community asset that would include a working print museum, a multi-functional hall, a small cinema, a climbing wall and conference/training rooms. The trust faces challenges relating to funding, ownership and ensuring it has the right skills to complete the project. The ''dragons'' who will evaluate their plans are Clive Dutton, the executive director for regeneration at Newham Council, responsible for delivering the London 2012 Olympic legacy in the borough, leading architect and Bristol mayoral candidate George Ferguson and Ian Marcus, managing director of leading private investment firm Evans Property Group and chairman of The Prince's Regeneration Trust. They will be joined on the day by a panel of leading experts from a variety of professional backgrounds - including finance, legal, architecture, community engagement and funding - who will provide The Ericht Trust with expert knowledge on creating a sustainable business model and guidance on how to secure private investment for the project. The one-day event will conclude with The Ericht Trust and the other competing projects pitching their proposals to the ''dragons'' and receiving a grilling in front of an audience. ''We are delighted to be taking part in the Heritage Dragons event,'' a spokesperson for the trust said. ''At The Ericht Trust, we passionately believe in our plans to revive Hill Primary School and return this iconic site to the thriving community asset it once was. ''Our aim is to support enterprise, education and employment and put the heart back into the town by filling existing gaps in the cultural and social facilities. ''By attending Heritage Dragons we hope to tap in to the resources and advice we need to help move our project forward.'' Heritage Dragons has been organised by the Heritage Investment Working Group (HIWG), a cross-sector collaboration of leading heritage regeneration agencies and national organisations representing commercial and social enterprise. Ian Lush, chairman of the HIWG, said: ''Britain has a wonderful legacy of historic spaces and places but thousands sit redundant and in a state of decay. The Heritage Investment Working Group's agenda is simple: investing in the rescue and reuse of these historic buildings makes sense.'' Hill Primary School in Blairgowrie was built in 1878 and is owned by Perth and Kinross Council. rburdge@thecourier.co.uk