Scotland’s Jute Museum @ Verdant Works wins Heritage Lottery Fund support for the High Mill Open Gallery Project

Published

10th July 2014

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The project is focused on Dundee\\\'s internationally significant jute heritage, the cornerstone upon which the city\\\'s prosperity was built. The development will complete the restoration of the \\\'A\\\' listed Verdant Works, securing a sustainable future for this nationally important industrial heritage complex by creating a stunning space for the display of the Trust’s collections and for artistic, cultural, educational and community events.

Development funding of £114,000 has also been awarded to help Dundee Heritage Trust progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The £2.2 million project will carry out essential conservation work to ensure the preservation of the High Mill and adjoining Glazed Alley which are currently derelict and on the Buildings at Risk Register. Built in 1833 the High Mill is the oldest and most imposing part of the significant industrial complex, approximately half of which has already been transformed into the award-winning Scotland’s Jute Museum @ Verdant Works.

As well as complete renewal of the roofs and building stabilisation work, the scheme involves an innovative idea to remove the rotten wooden floors, creating a full height cathedral-like space with a dramatic ‘forest’ of columns, revealing the monumental scale of the architecture.

The project will open up and improve public access to the city’s rich textile heritage by creating 971 square metres of new exhibition space, allowing for further interpretation and enabling some of the large industrial objects in the Trust\\\'s reserve collections to be displayed for the first time. Graphic and audio visual interpretation will allow for more stories and themes to be explored and will use evocative images from the Trust\\\'s important archive and photographic collections.

The project will create a new community resource where a wide variety of groups can meet to take part in heritage-based activities. A vibrant programme of events will engage diverse audiences, both current and new, with this newly accessible textile heritage. Having a flexible space suitable for innovative joint events and activities enables the Trust to build new partnerships or strengthen existing ones with the numerous other cultural organisations within the city.

The project is also being generously supported by Historic Scotland which has allocated £500,000 towards the eligible building works. Dundee Heritage Trust is now embarking upon a major fundraising effort to raise the remaining £175,000 needed to ensure the project goes ahead.

Gill Poulter, Heritage Director for Dundee Heritage Trust said, ‘We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this significant level of support which is fantastic news for the Trust and the city. The project gives us the opportunity to create something new and different that will have a dynamic future of its own but which is complementary to the existing jute museum, helping to protect and enhance it.’

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