New plans unveiled for historic 18th century building in heart of St Andrews

A historic 18th Century property in the heart of St Andrews could soon have a distinctive 21st Century flavour added to it - if plans are approved by Fife Council.

Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 2:27 pm

St Andrews Preservation Trust has submitted plans to create a new flexible meeting and exhibition space at the rear of its museum in North Street.

The museum itself is located within a former house in the town’s Old FIsherman’s Quarter, close to the castle and cathedral, and contains a wealth of information and objects relating to the culture and history of St Andrews and its residents including fine art, costumes, furniture, postcards and photographs as well as many other artefacts with local connections and significance.

According to the proposals lodged with Fife Council, a more modern outbuilding will be created within the existing rear garden grounds, while existing outbuildings will also be renovated to form new enclosed exhibition spaces.

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An artist's impression of the planned work

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The Trust, which has charitable status, believes the work is needed to “future proof” the Trust to generate income, maintain standards and ensure that it remains a sustainable organisation servicing locals and visitors alike.

A statement from Oliver and Robb Architects, on behalf of the Trust, said the plan was to create a building which feels “rooted in the present with respect of the past”.

It added: “These proposals shall ensure that St Andrews Preservation Trust continues to be a sustainable and educational organisation, delivering the culture and history of St Andrews to the local populace and visitors alike.

“These proposed alterations provide the Museum with a variety of exhibition spaces which will facilitate a variety of uses, ensuring that the Museum remains engaging and relevant for years to come.

“The proposed design solution provides a contemporary building which honours the history of the site and its surrounding context.

“The renovation of the outbuildings will also transform largely disused spaces into meaningful exhibition spaces.”

The proposed alterations to the existing outbuildings will re-purpose existing storage space into additional enclosed exhibition space.

In relation to the existing outbuildings, the intention is to create a series of exhibitions of traditional shops, with each “bay” being utilised for a different shop.

This aims to create an interactive experience paying homage to the existing streets and shop fronts of historic St Andrews.

Historic artefacts and exhibits from within the existing museum will be relocated to these new spaces, to free up room within the existing museum to create an exhibition reflecting the traditional use of the building as fishermen’s dwellings.

Meanwhile, the new meeting and exhibition space is intended for use between the hours of 9am and 10pm for private event hire, but it will mainly serve as alternating exhibition space that will host several exhibitions per year which the public can visit during museum opening hours.

Several community groups will also meet weekly or fortnightly in the space in the morning for group activities such as art classes, scrapbooking, reminiscence workshops and other wellbeing activities.

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