Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Calls to save geology hero's home

Hugh Miller's House (Pic: Undiscovered Scotland)
Hugh Miller's family home in Cromarty is now a museum

Geologists hope a cottage museum the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) plans to offload to help it make savings will be saved from closure.

Alternative funding is being sought for the birthplace of Hugh Miller, who made important fossil discoveries in Cromarty in the 1800s.

Alan Owen, president of the Geological Society of Glasgow, said it would be a "terrible loss" if it had to shut.

Geoscientist Magazine's Ted Nield said the cottage was a memorial to Miller.

NTS has announced plans to change the way 11 of its properties - including Miller's former home - are managed after being forced to look at cost savings.

'Pivotal role'

Last April, the cottage hosted events marking the bicentenary of the Geological Society of London.

Mr Nield, editor of the society's magazine, said Miller's work with fossils was internationally important. He added that a portrait of the Scottish geologist and journalist hangs outside his own office.

He said: "The cottage in Cromarty is the only real significant memorial to Hugh Miller apart from a plaque on a wall in Edinburgh where his newspaper office used to based.

"For Scotland, it is of inestimable value because Hugh Miller held a pivotal role in a time of emerging enlightenment."

Mr Nield said Miller's discoveries - which clashed with the 19th Century geologist's own religious beliefs - and his suicide had to be remembered.

Mr Owen, of the Geological Society of Glasgow, said the museum was important to promoting greater public understanding of geology and science.

"I think it would be a terrible loss if it had to close," he said.

"It's historical importance to geology to that part of the country is enormous."

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