Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 15:53 UK

10m bid to protect Scott's home

A campaign is being launched to safeguard the future of the house

A 10m campaign has been launched to safeguard the future of the historic Borders home of Sir Walter Scott.

Abbotsford House, near Melrose, was home to the writer from 1824 until his death in 1832.

The future of the building has been under discussion since the death in 2004 of the last direct descendent of Scott to live in the property.

The Abbotsford Trust will now put together a bid for a seven-figure sum from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The trust is headed by former Scottish Office Tourism Minister Lord Sanderson of Bowden with the Duke of Buccleuch as its patron.

As well as the lottery bid it hopes to gain match-funding from other trusts as well as individuals around the world.

This is an absolute gem and a hidden treasure with so much potential
Cllr Graham Garvie

One bid to attract more tourists to the area could be to rename the station at the end of the proposed Waverley rail route between Edinburgh and the Borders.

It would be called Abbotsford instead of being named Tweedbank.

"We believe with the improvements we hope to put in place, Abbotsford can become a world-class visitor attraction and at the same time save its buildings, lands and contents for the nation," said Lord Sanderson.

"The car park is hopeless and we need to provide an attraction to interpret the history of Scott to young people like they do at Culloden battlefield."

Scottish Borders Council culture spokesman Graham Garvie said the authority was keen to assist the scheme.

'Just perfect'

"One of my colleagues came up with the idea of renaming the planned Tweedbank railway station, Abbotsford as it is less than half a mile away," he said.

"The tie in with Waverley is just perfect.

"This is an absolute gem and a hidden treasure with so much potential."

Plans for the building have been uncertain since the death of Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott four years ago.

Since then Abbotsford, which attracts about 30,000 visitors a year, has been run by executors.

Now the Abbotsford Trust hopes to ensure the property's long-term future as one of Scotland's key tourist attractions.


SEE ALSO
Legal action over Abbotsford plan
16 Oct 07 |  South of Scotland
Abbotsford housing plan rejected
12 Sep 07 |  South of Scotland
10m target to save Scott's home
23 Feb 06 |  Scotland

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