Ms. McAlpine, who is also convener of the Scottish Parliament’s committee on Culture, Tourism, Europe, and External Affairs, sponsored the event in parliament and used her opening speech to highlight Dumfries and Galloway heritage sites which have benefitted from HES custodianship since the body was established in 2015 by the Scottish Government.
She praised high-profile attractions like Caerlaverock Castle, which is being brought to life using VR technology. Ms. McAlpine also drew attention to several smaller projects which have benefitted from HES investment, including parish churches in Sanquhar, Dunscore, Kirkcudbright, and Thornhill.
She also singled out restoration projects to bring older buildings back into good repair in order to benefit the community, including Annandale Distillery, Moat Brae children’s literature centre, Moffat town hall, and the Crichton memorial church. The funding HES provide for such projects helps support local businesses, social enterprises and voluntary groups.
HES also manage 12,525 Canmore Galloway records, 33,000 catalogued archives, and have a role in safeguarding 3367 listed buildings locally.
Historic Environment Scotland is the result of a merger between previous public bodies ‘Historic Scotland’ and ‘The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland’.
Speaking to gathered guests, Joan McAlpine said:
“In Scotland we are blessed with a rich cultural heritage, containing the most incredible built heritage, from medieval castles, through Georgian mansions to ancient brochs.
“The committee I currently chair is responsible for overseeing the work of HES and it is clear the merger is a considerable success – I think we were all particularly impressed when conducting our pre- budget scrutiny last year when HES told us that there were so many people visiting their properties, that their self-generated income was actually growing.
“This reflects the success story and indeed the passion for Scotland’s heritage by our growing cohort of international visitors as well as Scots themselves.
“It’s clear that many people are already enjoying Scotland’s cultural heritage, and I am really looking forward to hearing about how Historic Environment Scotland plan to make sure that many more people get to enjoy that heritage.”
Please find attached an image of Joan McAlpine MSP with Jane Ryder, OBE, Chair, Historic Environment Scotland and Alex Paterson, Chief Executive Historic Environment Scotland