Perthshire Advertiser

Stone newsisa bigboost forregion

- DOUGLAS DICKIE

kings and queens of Great Britain at Westminste­r Abbey.

It was moved to Edinburgh Castle in the 1990s, but is now returning to Perthshire, just a few miles from its spiritual home at Scone.

Perth and Kinross Council says the story of the Stone of Destiny will be “brought to life using cutting edge technology in a stunning, custom designed exhibition space”.

It will be free for all to see and is expected to play a vital role in the renewal of tourism in the city and the wider region, providing a welcome boost to Scotland’s tourism offering.

Constructi­on work on the new museum at the city hall is due to start in February and the attraction is scheduled to open in 2024.

The space will showcase more than 10,000 objects and will tell how ancient Scotland emerged from the Kingdom of Alba and the preceding realms of the Picts, Scots and Gaels, highlighti­ng the crucial part that Perth played in the shaping of Scotland.

Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle said: “I’m hugely proud and excited that the Stone of Destiny will be moving to Perth.

“Our new £26.5m, world-class museum is the perfect place to display this historical­ly significan­t object, which represents both Perth’s history as the original capital of Scotland and our future as a vibrant new city.

“Perth has a growing population and ambition – a place to live life well, where culture and heritage is accessible to all.

“As the centrepiec­e of our nationally recognised collection, the Stone of Destiny is a gamechange­r, firmly establishi­ng Perth as the place to be.”

Depute leader of the SNP group at the council Cllr Andrew Parrott added: “This is fantastic news for Perth and for Scotland.

“In returning to its original home in Perthshire, the Stone of Destiny will bring to life Scotland’s story for more people than ever before, inspiring our communitie­s and drawing in visitors from around the world.”

The decision brings to an end seven years of work by the council to have the stone returned to the region.

Council chief executive Karen Reid said it would be “transforma­tive” for the region as it looks to emerge from the coronaviru­s crisis.

She added: “This is Perth’s time, and I’m thrilled that from 2024, thousands more people will be able to access the stone for free, right here in Perth.

“We have the expertise, the capacity and, above all, the enthusiasm to showcase this remarkable object, for everyone.”

Helen Smout, chief executive at Culture Perth and Kinross, said: “To bring this iconic object to Perth and tell its story in the context of a brand-new museum is so exciting for everyone involved.

“In what has been a challengin­g year, this news provides further hope for a bright, successful future for our region.” Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said: “I am absolutely thrilled to hear that the Stone of Destiny is to return home to Perthshire.

“This is tremendous news for the city and a real boost for the city hall project. It has been a tough year for the city and I truly believe this will be an important draw for people to come and visit.”

News of the Stone of Destiny’s return to Perthshire was widely welcomed this week.

Even the city’s football club got in on the act.

St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown told the PA: “This is huge for the whole of Perth and Kinross that our region will be reunited with the Stone of Destiny, which is of immense historical significan­ce to Scotland.

“As a football club at the heart of the community we added our voice to the campaign calling for its return and we are delighted it will finally happen.”

John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, said: “I am absolutely delighted by this news. As someone who has campaigned for the stone to return to Perthshire for almost a quarter of a century, it sometimes seemed like this day would never come.

“The return of the stone to its ancestral home will be a huge boost to the economy of Perthshire. Indeed, the Stone’s relocation to Perth will put it within 90 minutes driving distance of 70 per cent of Scotland’s population, and will surely lead to an increase in those visiting our city and the surroundin­g areas.”

Mid Scotland the Fife MSP Murdo Fraser has also been an advocate of the stone coming home.

He said: “This is fantastic news, not only for Perth but for the whole of Perth and Kinross – a real boost in dark times. I have been one of the campaigner­s calling on the return of the Stone of Destiny to its spiritual home in Perth, and to be told that it will be is one of the highlights of 2020 – a truly historic occasion.”

Perthshire South and Kinross-shire MSP Roseanna Cunningham said the stone was “back where it belongs”.

She added: “Variously known as the Stone of Scone, Jacobs Pillow, the Lia Fail, this piece of Perthshire sandstone is imbued with hundreds upon hundreds of years of Scottish history – whether or not you believe that the monks allowed Edward’s soldiers to take the real thing back in 1296.

“I have absolutely no doubt that having the stone back in Perthshire will be a huge boost to our local tourism and hospitalit­y sector as it starts to build back once we are finally through the incredibly tough times brought about by the global pandemic.”

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 ??  ?? Attraction An artist’s impression of the interior of the new city hall
Attraction An artist’s impression of the interior of the new city hall

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