Un­earthed pieces of town’s past could go on dis­play once again

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS -

A slice of Mon­trose his­tory has been re­turned to the town’s her­itage col­lec­tion al­most two decades after a con­tro­ver­sial sell-off.

After lan­guish­ing in a store for years, the do­na­tion boards which hung on the walls of the Dor­ward House res­i­den­tial home have been pre­sented to An­gus Alive by for­mer An­gus coun­cil­lor Terry Wood, who said he hoped they might once again be put on lo­cal dis­play.

Lo­cal mer­chant Wil­liam Dor­ward founded the house in 1838 and his gen­eros­ity, to­talling £28,774 be­tween 1838 and 1851, are the first recorded do­na­tions on the five boards.

They chart the sup­port of bene­fac­tors from around the globe up to the 1990s, but in 1999 the boards were at the cen­tre of lo­cal con­tro­versy when the gov­er­nors of the fa­cil­ity sold them off to a lo­cal an­tiques dealer.

Mon­trose Com­mu­nity Coun­cil crit­i­cised the sell-off de­ci­sion as “morally wrong” at the time and tried to se­cure the boards in the hope of hang­ing them lo­cally, pos­si­bly in the Ball­house cham­ber where the body met.

Mr Wood, who was an An­gus Coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Dor­ward House trustees dur­ing his time as a coun­cil­lor, said: “They were on dis­play in the an­tique shop but never left the town and have been in stor­age since. They were gifted to me for pos­ter­ity when the shop closed, but an ap­proach to Dor­ward House to re­turn them there was de­clined.

“I am now over the moon that An­gus Alive has ac­cepted them for the lo­cal col­lec­tions.

“I feel they are an im­por­tant part of lo­cal his­tory and hope­fully they may once again go on dis­play some­where to let peo­ple see the do­na­tions dur­ing the long his­tory of Dor­ward House,” added Mr Wood.

Pic­ture: Paul Reid.

Terry Wood with An­gus Alive col­lec­tion of­fi­cer Dr John John­ston and the boards.

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