Schools inspire welcome panel for Tapestry visitor centre

Pupils from schools in a garden on a summer day holding artwork

Published: Friday, 22nd June 2018

School finalists from across the Borders have provided ideas to inspire a welcome panel for the new national Great Tapestry of Scotland visitor centre.

We asked schools across the area to come up with themes which will all be incorporated into the welcome sign for the visitor centre in Galashiels, which will be put together by artist Andrew Crummy and historian Alistair Moffat.

Welcome panel competition

A panel of judges included:

  • Mr Crummy
  • Mr Moffat
  • Susie Finlayson - one of more than 1,000 stitchers who worked on the Tapestry
  • representatives from charity Live Borders
  • council representatives

All judges highly commended the designs from the six schools.

Edenside Primary - Kelso

Edenside Primary focussed on the importance on River Tweed, while Sprouston Primary’s pupils were inspired by their personal connections to the Tapestry.

Galashiels Academy - Galashiels

The high school team looked at the places and attractions in the Borders, and also focussed on the importance of the Borders Railway and Common Ridings and Festivals to the area.

St Mary’s School - Melrose

Pupils at looked St Mary’s School at their hometown of Melrose and the beautiful landscape it sits within.

Glendinning Primary - Galashiels

Glendinning Primary were inspired by the Borders textiles industry and discovered during research that Galashiels weaver named Robert Coulter wrote the famous Scots folk song Ally Bally Bee.

Heriot and Fountainhall

Heriot and Fountainhall made a joint entry which included the beauty of the Gala Water, and the railway, which are local to their communities.

Councillor Euan Jardine, Executive Member for Culture and Sport

“The finalists all worked incredibly hard to produce some fantastic designs, which will give Andrew Crummy plenty to work with to create a striking new welcome panel for the visitor centre.

“It was fantastic to hear Ally Bally Bee being used as an inspiration for one of the designs, with the Coulter Candy Trail to be created in Galashiels alongside other streetscape improvements agreed this week.

“The Great Tapestry of Scotland is integral element of the new national visitor destination being built in Galashiels, which will create fantastic educational facilities for schools in the Scottish Borders.

“Today was an example of how the Tapestry can inspire young people to think about the fantastic culture, art, heritage and history we have in the Borders.”

Mr Crummy

“All the entries were fantastic in different ways.

“The ethos of the Great Tapestry of Scotland is helping each other and it is clear that is what the pupils did as part of their designs.

“It is also great to see pupils learn more about the area they live in through this project. It is clear they are proud of the Scottish Borders.

“This was a really exciting project and I think the pupils have opened up a fantastic treasure box of ideas.”

Development underway on visitor centre site

The regeneration of Galashiels was kickstarted this month with the demolition of the former Poundstretcher building where the visitor centre will be located.

The new national visitor destination will host the Great Tapestry of Scotland, alongside a range of other elements that will significantly enhance the visitors’ experience to Galashiels.

Drone footage and photography has captured the demolition as the building was pulled down piece by piece over a seven-week period, which was ahead of schedule. Construction of the new £6.7million landmark building – which will also see the former Post Office being brought back into use – is now expected to begin in October.

More information

Images from the event are available on our Flickr page.

Drone film footage of the former Poundstretcher building been demolished is available on our YouTube channel.

Drone and streetview images of the demolition, as well as artists’ impression of the new visitor centre and Tapestry images, are available at SBC’s Flickr page.

Councillors on the Executive Committee on Tuesday 19 June approved proposals to take forward five streetscape improvements in Galashiels.

Regeneration of Galashiels

  • The regeneration of Galashiels aims to capitalise on the success of the Borders Railway, which has presented a series of opportunities for Galashiels and the Borders, with the area seeing an increase in visitor figures
  • A partnership approach, including Scottish Borders Council, Energise Galashiels Trust, charity Live Borders and businesses and community groups, will aim to do this through a series of initiatives which will create a number of economic, social and educational benefits to transform the town
  • The Great Tapestry of Scotland Visitor Centre will be the catalyst for a wider masterplan to re-shape the town and encourage investment in Galashiels and the wider Borders economy
  • Plans are also being developed by local firms for a Business Improvement District (BID) which if successful will generate additional footfall and increased spend in the town centre
  • The regeneration of Galashiels has the support of the Scottish Government through the Borders Railway Blueprint programme, as well as community groups such as Energise Galashiels Trust.

Great Tapestry of Scotland

  • The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a unique community arts project to stitch the entire story of Scotland
  • It was the brainchild of renowned writer Alexander McCall Smith, historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy
  • The Great Tapestry initially went on display at the Scottish Parliament, before touring around the country
  • An exhibition of the Tapestry in the Verdant Works in Dundee has been credited with quadrupling visitor numbers to the museum in 2016, with the venue taking on additional staff to cope with the increased numbers. It was so successful it returned to the same venue in summer 2017.