First Minister Alex Salmond has confirmed that funding to allow construction work on the state-of-the-art visitor centre at the field of Bannockburn to begin this summer was now in place – the new, world class facility will be ready and up and running in time for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in June 2014.
Speaking during a visit to Stirling Castle, the First Minister announced that the Battle of Bannockburn Project would commence building and landscaping work in early summer, with work to conserve the historic monuments on site also scheduled to start later this year, subject to local planning consents.
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“The eyes of the world will be on Scotland during 2014, with international events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup being held on our shores.
“2014 also marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, and I am delighted to announce today a significant milestone in the commemoration of this fascinating period of Scottish history in what will be the most ambitious partnership between the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.
“It is exciting to confirm that landscaping and building work on the state-of-the-art visitor centre will commence in the summer, with work to conserve the historic monuments also due to begin in the coming months.
“The backing in place from Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund will ensure that the ambitious Bannockburn Project comes to fruition, paving the way for an unrivalled experience for those who are lucky enough to travel to this historic site in the future. We intend to use the cutting edge of Scottish technology to bring the battle to life and showcase our history in a dramatic way.”
The Battle of Bannockburn Project is a joint venture by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, to provide a new visitor centre and experience for one of the most significant battles in Scotland’s history for the 700th anniversary in 2014.
Generous contributions of £5 million from the Scottish Government and £3.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund are being made to realise this ambitious project in time for the 700th anniversary of the battle in 2014.
The new Battle of Bannockburn Project tender process is now underway and a shortlist of contractors has been completed for the planned building and landscaping work and for the conservation of the listed monuments, including the iconic statue of Robert the Bruce.
The present visitor centre is due to be demolished in the autumn but a programme of educational activities will still take place off-site and a small Battle of Bannockburn information centre will be set up during the period of construction.
The Centre will house state of the art installations that will provide a step-change in interpretation and learning and highlight the significance of this pivotal event in our history – it will incorporate a unique and exciting immersive exhibition which will bring to life the sights and sounds of medieval battle for visitors to the center.
Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland said:
“With the forward programme of works now confirmed, we can move forward with the transformation of the Battlefield to make it worthy of the great weight of history that surrounds it.
“We will focus on delivering interpretative and educational content that will be second to none. By the time of the 700th anniversary of the battle, visitors will have an unforgettable experience as they confront the context and reality of an event of enormous significance in the story of Scotland.”
The team behind the new visitor centre last month launched an appeal for people to share their memories and photographs of the battle site to help shape the new visitor centre and make it as memorable an experience as possible.