Trust’s grant helps to secure Abbotsford’s role in region’s tourism

Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott.Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott.
Abbotsford House, the former home of Sir Walter Scott.
A grant of over £220,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to the Abbotsford Trust will help to ensure that one of the Borders’ most significant cultural, architectural and historical icons survives the coronavirus pandemic.

The £224,200 grant will help pay for a range of essential day-to-day costs including salaries, utilities, garden upkeep and security at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, near Melrose.

Like all such attractions, the trust had to shut Abbotsford’s doors to visitors on March 20 and it has remained closed ever since.

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Even though it remains closed to visitors, the running and conservation costs of the Category A-listed buildings, gardens and collections remain virtually unchanged.

Giles Ingram, the chief executive of the Abbotsford Trust.Giles Ingram, the chief executive of the Abbotsford Trust.
Giles Ingram, the chief executive of the Abbotsford Trust.

Giles Ingram, the trust’s chief executive, said: “Abbotsford is not only one of Scotland’s most significant heritage icons, it is also a crucial linchpin to supporting the local and regional economy across the whole of the South of Scotland.

“Although we still anticipate there may be tough times ahead for us, the Heritage Emergency Fund grant is helping us to look to the future with more confidence.

“We can’t wait to welcome our visitors, friends and neighbours back again and are carefully following announcements from the Scottish Government for guidance on when we can re-open.”

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At least 70,000 people of all ages from all over the world visited Abbotsford last year.

In the absence of visitor income because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity feared its losses could reach £350,000 or more this year alone.

Created by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Abbotsford is among the most significant designed landscapes in Scotland and is renowned internationally as the prototype of Scots Baronial architecture.

The Scottish Government’s Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland designate Abbotsford’s historic buildings and gardens as being of “outstanding” significance.

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Abbotsford is also home to Scott’s globally-important collections of more than 9,000 books and 4,000 objects.

The Abbotsford Trust is an independent Scottish registered charity that owns and cares for the historic buildings, gardens, and collections created by Sir Walter and his descendants.

The trust was established in 2007 to prevent the site closing to the public following the death of Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott, the last descendant of Scott to live at Abbotsford.

The 200,000+ visitors it has welcomed since its post-restoration re-opening in 2014 have contributed many millions of pounds to the local economy and supported hundreds of jobs across multiple business sectors, as well as creating around 30 direct new jobs at Abbotsford itself.

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