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Moving forward with history town idea

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Moving forward with history town idea

FUNDING has been secured to take forward the History Town theme idea for Annan.

Annan the History Town Group has been given £19,440 by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) to develop the town’s heritage assets to bring more visitors into the High Street and local area.

The money will be used to engage a design company to produce a blueprint for improving what Annan has to offer.

Chairman of the Annan the History Town Group, Richard Brodie said: “It is brilliant that SOSE has recognised the potential of our ideas to create a brighter future for Annan by building on our past. They were particularly impressed by the community support we have generated over the past two years with 26 local organisations working with us on our project.”

And he revealed that, following a competitive tender, they have appointed Studioarc to work with them on identifying ways of bringing local history to life.

The firm previously worked with The Devil’s Porridge Museum at Eastriggs, and was instrumental in them gaining five star attraction status.

Richard added: “We have just had our first meeting with Studioarc and included our strategic partners such as Annan Riding of the Marches, Annandale Distillery and Annan Museum in the discussions.

“In a well-attended meeting, Annan historians provided a comprehensive account of the many themes and threads in our past from ancient Roman Annan to modern day; the town’s motte and bailey home to Robert the Bruce; Annan the butt of Border raids; Robert Burns’ strong connection with the town: our strong boatbuilding and fishing heritage, including our unique Viking haaf net fishings; our industrial past which created wealth to create one of the most impressive sandstone built Georgian High Streets; famous characters of their time like Edward Irving and renowned artists like William Lockhart; in the 20th century Annan achieved fame as the town where all the pubs were nationalised to control drink in World War One, this state management scheme lasting from 1916 – 1974; then in the 1950s Chapelcross became Scotland’s first nuclear power station.

“The study will identify innovative ways to engage visitors so that we can get the same footfall as other market towns in Dumfries and Galloway.”

The group is keen for townsfolk to contact them with more ideas, and examples from other places, to help put Annan on the map.

n Emails should be sent to [email protected]