Dec14

Scotland's castles

Rescued, rebuilt and reoccupied, 1945-2010.

 

By: Inglis, Janet

The second half of the twentieth century saw a 'Golden Age' of castle restoration in Scotland. During this time over one hundred ruined or derelict castles and towers were rebuilt and reoccupied, mostly by private owners who purchased the building with a view to restoring it. This was a far greater number of restorations than at any time in the past, yet the literature on castles has largely by-passed this modern 'renaissance' of Renaissance buildings.

The majority of the restorers bought a ruinous or derelict building with which they had no family connection - mostly from 'old' owners whose family had owned the building for generations - and were often prepared to take substantial financial risks, undergo physical hardships and face considerable uncertainty over planning applications. Clans, charitable trusts and public bodies, such as local councils, also carried out restoration projects, as did a small number of 'old' owners. What caused such a proliferation? Two research questions are posed: why were so many Scottish castles restored between 1945 and 2010, and who were the restorers? The question of why so much activity took place in this period is analyzed in terms of the developing 'restoration climate', which was increasingly championed by the media, and the interrelationships between social, political and economic factors which allowed it to flourish.

At the heart of these relationships are the owners, whose demographic characteristics are surveyed. Their personal qualities and motivations are also examined through an analysis of first person narratives and published interviews with the owners of many of the restored buildings, both in Scotland and beyond its borders, alongside surveys of the architectural features of the castles themselves. It was concluded that the restorations represent a positive benefit to Scotland, through the rescue of an irreplaceable and iconic section of the country's built heritage which would otherwise have been irretrievably lost. Scotland's Castles: Rescued, Rebuilt and Reoccupied, 1945 - 2010 Abstract The second half of the twentieth century saw a 'Golden Age' of castle restoration in Scotland. During this time over one hundred ruined or derelict castles and towers were rebuilt and reoccupied, mostly by private owners who purchased the building with a view to restoring it. This was a far greater number of restorations than at any time in the past, yet the literature on castles has largely by-passed this modern 'renaissance' of Renaissance buildings.

The majority of the restorers bought a ruinous or derelict building with which they had no family connection - mostly from 'old' owners whose family had owned the building for generations - and were often prepared to take substantial financial risks, undergo physical hardships and face considerable uncertainty over planning applications. Clans, charitable trusts and public bodies, such as local councils, also carried out restoration projects, as did a small number of 'old' owners. What caused such a proliferation? Two research questions are posed: why were so many Scottish castles restored between 1945 and 2010, and who were the restorers? The question of why so much activity took place in this period is analyzed in terms of the developing 'restoration climate', which was increasingly championed by the media, and the interrelationships between social, political and economic factors which allowed it to flourish.

At the heart of these relationships are the owners, whose demographic characteristics are surveyed. Their personal qualities and motivations are also examined through an analysis of first person narratives and published interviews with the owners of many of the restored buildings, both in Scotland and beyond its borders, alongside surveys of the architectural features of the castles themselves. It was concluded that the restorations represent a positive benefit to Scotland, through the rescue of an irreplaceable and iconic section of the country's built heritage which would otherwise have been irretrievably lost.

Read the whole thesis.

Author: Inglis, Janet

Article Source: University of Dundee

Keywords: Scotland, Castles, Conservation

 

 

Author:
Inglis, Janet
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