A brand new visitor attraction housing the Great Tapestry of Scotland could be created in Tweedbank, if councillors give their support today, Thursday.
Members, meeting in Hawick Town Hall, will be asked to back the formation of a detailed business case for the establishment of a new facility next to the future Tweedbank railway station.
The 160 embroidered panels tell the history of the country, and is the brainchild of Borders historian Alistair Moffat and author Alexander McCall Smith.
When exhibited around the country the tapestry has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to each display.
Speaking to the The Southern, Mr Moffat said: “Sandy McCall Smith had the idea to do it and he rang me and said ‘will you write the narrative, will you decide what’s going to be in it?’, and I didn’t let him finish the sentence, of course I would.
“So I in my office near Selkirk I sat for several weeks working out what should be in it, so it is appropriate in a way that it has come full circle, but there are other things that link it to the Borders in my view.
“This is an area of textile production and this is the most gorgeous work of art. It is a textile, it is a piece of embroidery, it’s not a true tapestry in that sense.”
He added: “The number of visitors we’ve had in the last few months is extraordinary - in 18 days 50,000 people saw it at the Scottish Parliament and in Aberdeen they had to open the gallery on evenings and Sundays to cope.
“This is a juggernaut, it’s a cultural phenomenon, and if we get it here in the Borders we will add a fantastic magnet, a huge attraction to bring people down here, and this site is perfect because it will be right next to one of the best new public transport links in Scotland.”
Council leader David Parker added: “We’ve got lots of attractions that are very similar but this about creating a different type of attraction, something unique, and the Great Tapestry of Scotland, that tells the 420million year history of Scotland, is something that people are going to want to come and look at for decades to come, and we think having it here in Tweedbank near the train station will have a significant benefit for everyone.”
Mr Parker added that it was likely that the council and other partners would contribute to the capital cost of the project.