Restoration of McArthur’s Store

The Harbour Trust has been working for some 5 years to realise the restoration of McArthur’s Store.

Timescale

  • In October 2004 the Harbour Trust established the McArthur’s Store Building Preservation Trust to promote a restoration project
  • The establishment of the Dunbar Townscape Heritage Initiative in 2005 saw the designation of the Store as a Priority Project
  • A feasibility study was commissioned and completed in January 2006
  • In July 2006 a project organiser was appointed and the architectural scheme was reviewed in consultation with the fishermen
  • A preferred scheme was adopted and a development stage entered into with the production of detailed designs and costings
  • Applications for funding to a number of agencies took place during 2007
  • By December 2007 it was possible to appoint a contractor to proceed with the works which were completed in May 2009

Funders

The Harbour Trust could not have achieved the restoration of McArthur’s Store without the help of a number of agencies which have generously grant-aided the project.

Firstly I would like to thank the Dunbar THI and the staff of East Lothian Council and the Alba Conservation Trust who have promoted the restoration work and guided the Harbour Trust throughout. Particular thanks go to Paul Zochowski of ELC,and Lyn Kilpatrick, Catherine Kidd and Una Richards of Alba. 

At the heart of our funding through the THI have been significant grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland so our thanks go to these organisations and in particular Lori Kika our HLF case Officer, Judith Williamson our HLF monitor and Robert Martin our grants officer at Historic Scotland.

East Lothian Council has backed up the moral support provided by both staff and councillors with a substantial grant of its own. I would like to commend the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their willingness to risk early grants at the development stage when a full scheme was by no means certain.

The restoration would not have been possible but for the support given by staff at the Scottish Government Marine Directorate. Only with their support was it possible to slip under the wire at the closing stage of the European Union FIFG scheme to secure a major grant for the project. Particular thanks to Gordon Hart for his assistance.

It would not have been possible to develop the restoration scheme but for a grant received from the Leader Plus Programme. Thank you to Jayne Adamson for her support and guidance. Thanks, too, to Viridor Credits Scotland and Clive Barber of Viridor Dunbar for providing the funds that finally closed the gap on our funding.

Finally our thanks go to the Architectural Heritage Fund which provided the grants at the early stage of our project that allowed us to carry out a feasibility study and to appoint a Project Organiser. The Trust has also availed itself of a working capital loan from the AHF. Stephen Enthoven at the Fund guided us throughout.

Professional and Construction Team

Of course securing funding is only one aspect of delivering a successful scheme. Having a skilled professional team is another. I must thank our professional team for their patience, commitment, and expertise over the last four years.

Our team was led by LDN Architects under the supervision of Dermot Patterson. Alex Liddell and Carsten Herman have been our job architects. Our Quantity surveyors were Morham and Brotchie with John Spalding and Steven Moffat looking after our pennies. Peter Elliot of Elliot and Co was our Structural Engineer and Irons Foulner, with Stuart McPherson and Mark Barrett were our Mechanical and Electrical Engineers. Our archaeological investigations were carried out by Addyman Archaeology with Tom Addyman and Kenny McFadyen.

Of course there can be no successful restoration project without a skilled and experienced contractor and in Hunter Clark we have had one of the most skilled and experienced in Scotland. Our thanks and congratulations go to Hunter Clark for the fine workmanship that has gone into the restoration work and to coping with a prolonged period of freezing conditions last winter when we promised them that frost was virtually unknown at Dunbar Harbour. Thanks to John McLeish and subsequently Niel Friel who led the project with Jim Brady and the redoubtable Willie Walker as their site staff.

Finally, our thanks go to George McNeill, our Project Organiser, who has guided us through the labyrinth of fund raising and project co-ordination. Without you George, none of this could ever have happened.

On a personal note, I would like to thank all the members of the Dunbar Harbour Trust who have been involved with the project. Particular mention should be made of Becky Donald, John Blyth and John Band who, along with myself, were founder members of McArthur’s Store Building Preservation Trust and have been closely involved with the project throughout.

Mention must also be made of the long suffering fishermen who have had to endured a great deal of discomfort and inconvenience during the restoration period. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their patience and co-operation over the past couple of years and hope that, having now seen the transformation of the stores from what they were into what you see here today, they will consider the wait to have been well worthwhile.

Conclusion

Clearly this project would not have been realised without the shared commitment of many organisations and many individuals. I hope that you will agree that what has been achieved is remarkable. Perhaps the oldest continuously used harbour building in Scotland has been given a new lease of life. The building has been brought into the 21st century but its essential industrial character has been retained. Not only has the restoration enhanced an important area of the old harbour for residents and visitors alike, but it has allowed the building to continue to perform an important role in securing the future of our local fishing fleet. I sincerely hope that generations of fishermen to come will be able to make good use of the facility.

CMcW July 2009

McArthurs Store old