Lecture on the life and career of Jim Clark

Jim Clark pictured during his last race in Britain.
Jim Clark pictured during his last race in Britain.

One of the Borders’ greatest sporting figures, British Formula One champion and Indy 500 winner, Jim Clark OBE, will be remembered in a special talk taking place at Chirnside this Monday – ahead of the opening this summer of the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum.

Live Borders’ learning and engagement officer, Kenneth McLean, will host a talk for the Chirnside History Society, at the Chirnside Community Centre, entitled ‘The Jim Clark Story’, giving an overview of Clark’s career, from his early life through amateur racing and on to becoming world

champion, and his untimely death in 1968.

At the talk, there will be a display of artefacts and memorabilia from the new museum.

“The life and legacy of Jim Clark are extraordinary and a joy to share with

community groups across the Borders,” said Kenneth.

“Anyone is welcome to come along on the night, to explore some fascinating memorabilia, ahead of the museum opening

in summer 2019,” said Kenneth.

The museum, which will continue to be operated in Duns by local charity, Live Borders, will provide expanded exhibition space showcasing Jim Clark’s race cars, memorabilia, his trophy collection, film footage and interactive displays.

The £1.6m project is being taken forward by Scottish Borders Council in partnership with charity Live Borders, the Jim Clark Trust and the Jim Clark Memorial Room Trust. Funding for the project has come from the Council, the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and the Jim Clark Trust, the latter including a grant from the Fallago Environment Fund and individual donations from around the world.

The existing Jim Clark Room closed at the end of May last year to prepare for the redevelopment works. The new museum is scheduled to re-open this summer.

The lecture will take place at Chirnside Community Centre at 7.30pm on May 20. No advance booking is required. Other community groups are invited to get in touch with Live Borders if they would like Kenneth to lead a talk for them – they can email enquiries@liveborders.org.uk.

Meanwhile, the Jim Clark Trust issued a statement this week which said: “We are thrilled to let you know the new museum, with a new name and a new logo, is under starter’s orders, due to open later this summer.

“The current schedule is for the new Jim Clark Motorsport Museum to open in mid-July. However, due to the ongoing construction programme and then the installation of exhibition displays, the opening dates will not be confirmed until nearer the time. Please keep in touch with our website and social media for updates. We look forward to welcoming visitors very soon.

“Plans for the new museum in Jim’s home town of Duns began back in 2013. The Jim Clark Trust charity was formed in 2015, architecture and operating plans formulated in 2016, the fundraising started in 2017 and the building works commenced a year ago in 2018.

“We are delighted that, 50 years on from the original Jim Clark Memorial Room, opened by Jim’s parents in 1969, we will soon be starting a new chapter in the story of Jim Clark, celebrating his life and his legacy to inspire future generations.”

The statement continued: “At the heart of the new museum will be the Clark Family trophy collection, with a celebration of Jim’s life from his early school years and farming in the Scottish Borders, to becoming a racing driver and international icon, winning the Formula 1 World Championship in 1963 and 1965, and Indianapolis 500.

“Visitors can expect a modern interpretation and emotional experience with memorabilia, imagery, archive film, a gallery, interactive displays, retail shop, classic race car simulator and two Jim Clark race cars as the star attractions. The new museum will aim to capture the contrasting worlds of rural farming life in the Scottish Borders with the excitement, glamour and danger of motor racing in the 1960s, that so influenced his character and made Jim Clark one of the most admired and much loved racing drivers of all time.

“A few weeks ago we were delighted to welcome Dario Franchitti, 4 x IndyCar Champion and 3 x Indianapolis 500 winner, to view progress. The new £1.65 million museum is a partnership between the Jim Clark Trust, Live Borders and Scottish Borders Council, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Fallago Environment Fund and thousands of public donations.

“We are grateful for the support of our honorary president, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, our patrons from the world of motorsport, and all our supporters and volunteers for their generosity and encouragement, without whom the new museum would not be possible.”