Tim Stead’s house saved as trust reaches funding target

The life’s work and amazing home of legendary Borders-based woodworker and environmentalist Tim Stead, who died in 2000, has been saved.

By Kevin Janiak
Monday, 18th January 2021, 12:41 pm
Updated Monday, 18th January 2021, 12:42 pm
Maggy Stead outside The Steading in Blainslie, which can now be purchased by the Tim Stead Trust.
Maggy Stead outside The Steading in Blainslie, which can now be purchased by the Tim Stead Trust.

The Tim Stead Trust has been working to raise enough funds to buy his home, The Steading in Blainslie, from Tim’s widow Maggy to ensure its contents are saved so that the public can view, and touch, his many projects.

As reported in the Southern last month, there were fears that the target of £450,000 would be difficult to reach. Also, a private buyer was waiting in the wings if the trust was unable to come up with the cash.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund had refused to award a major purchase grant, and the trust’s hopes were severely dashed. However, within days a major benefactor stepped up and offered matched funding up to £250,000.

This was swiftly followed by a number of major private donors and trusts, and within a few weeks the majority of necessary funds has been secured.

The target was reached with the help of a Crowdfunder campaign, launched only a week ago.

It has raised more than £23,000 with donations from more than 240 individuals.

The funds will allow the trust to purchase The Steading for the nation and begin an ambitious programme of restoration, renovation and development.

Maggy Stead, Tim’s widow, said: “It is a huge relief to me to know that my Tim’s work will now be preserved and used in such a creative way.

“He would have loved that.”

And his son Sam, also a trustee, said: “It is fantastic that we have managed to get to the point where The Steading can be bought by the trust and start working on opening it up for the public.

“The amazing support from friends and fans of my father’s work has been truly heartwarming.”

The trust has ambitious plans to develop The Steading as a major international centre for ‘wood culture’ which embraces Tim Stead’s all-round vision for the environment, art, literature, wood-working and architecture.

The Steading is envisaged as a centre for education and creativity, reflecting its unique place in the Borders, but with a global reach.

The trust will continue to raise funds in order to make that dream a reality.

Nichola Fletcher, chair of the trust, said: “We are overwhelmed by the speed of this response, and with the enthusiasm that our project has sparked.

“We are so grateful to our supporters, who have given so generously.”

“The past two months has turned me into a fund-raising junkie so I’m not stopping now.

“We have urgent restoration work to do and, of course, we have ambitious plans for The Steading.

“So now the real work begins, of fundraising for Phase 2 of the project, which will allow us to realise our dream of developing The Steading into a major centre for creativity and education.”