Tapestry roof

Tapestry project raises the roof as progress continues

Construction of the Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre’s eye-catching roof is nearing completion, ahead of the landmark facility’s opening in spring 2021.

The interactive visitor centre is being built by contractors Ogilvie Construction, and once opened will aim to kickstart the regeneration of Galashiels, providing significant economic, social and educational benefits.

New drone images show the progress made with the roof and walls of the building, which are expected to be in place later this month, and alongside installation of the windows, the landmark facility will be wind and watertight. Metal decking and concrete flooring are also now in place.

The building which will house the Tapestry has been designed by one of Scotland’s leading architectural practices, Page \ Park, while the adjacent former Post Office will be re-purposed to bring the B listed building back into use. There will also be retail, café, educational and touring exhibition space, as well as an ongoing events and exhibitions programme.

Experts predict that the centre – within walking distance of the Borders Railway – will attract over 50,000 visitors to Galashiels each year once opened, as well as create 16 jobs. Almost £900,000 of extra spending per year is predicted for the local economy, providing 12,000 extra visits to complementary attractions, supporting a further 17 jobs.

The project, and the regeneration of Galashiels, is being led by Scottish Borders Council with support of the Scottish Government, through the Borders Railway Blueprint programme, as well as community groups such as Energise Galashiels Trust.

Charity Live Borders will operate the visitor centre, working in partnership with the Council and the Tapestry Trustees, and have plans for a range of activities in the run up to the opening, kicking off with its Welcome Panel Tour which aims to see 1,000 people from across Scotland contribute a stitch to the attraction.

Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, Councillor Mark Rowley, said: “In little over a year’s time, we will have a national destination visitor attraction and significant community facility opening in the Scottish Borders.

“It will be a fantastic addition to the Borders’ growing array of impressive visitor attractions such as our Jim Clark Motorsport Museum, which exceeded all visitor expectations with over 12,000 visitors in its first few months open. I’ve no doubt that the Great Tapestry of Scotland, in its impressive new home, will become another major draw to the Borders for local, national and international visitors too.

“The Tapestry team, led by Sandy Maxwell-Forbes, have extensive plans to build the anticipation ahead of the opening, and I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the Welcome Panel Tour.”

Sandy Maxwell-Forbes, Tapestry Centre Director, added: “It fills me with pride to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland’s new interactive visitor centre and exhibition space develop. You can already get a real sense of just how transformational it will be and how the new contemporary structure, with its wonderful folding origami-style roof, really draws out the fantastic façade of the historic post office building.

“Just as the building develops apace, so too are we already working to encourage people to visit the new Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre, and explore Galashiels and the wider Borders, when it opens.

“I am incredibly excited, and my excitement only builds as I speak to so many others who are also looking forward to its opening, including global tour operators who have expressed great interest in bringing visitors here and those we have already met on our Welcome Panel Tour.”

Created by renowned writer Alexander McCall Smith, historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy, The Great Tapestry of Scotland tells the country’s story through 160 panels, making it one of the largest tapestries in the world.

Alistair Moffat, of the Tapestry Trustees, said: “Like all great art, the power of the Great Tapestry of Scotland is immense and revealing.

“It celebrates Scotland the Brave, Scotland the Inventive, Scotland the Surprising and Scotland the Occasionally a Bit Rubbish (the Hillman Imp panel is nevertheless well loved) and draws a nation’s story together in a traditional but completely new way.

“Now it has found its home in the heart of the Borders, in a stunning new building that will become a focus not only in Galashiels but also across our country and for those coming from the south. Great architecture will house great art.”

The Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor attraction is central to plans to regenerate Galashiels, alongside a number of other projects which will provide a host of benefits for the town and the Scottish Borders.

More information on the Welcome Panel stitch tour is available HERE.

Updates on the regeneration of Galashiels are provided HERE.