Conservator outlines plan for repair of carved tablet
Conservation experts have been working on the distinctive stone feature on Dunblane’s historic Leighton Library building.
The carved tablet, or cartouche, on the A-listed building’s east facade was removed early November.
It is part of a restoration project estimated at around £460,000 at Scotland’s oldest purpose-built library, built in the late 17th century.
Edinburgh-based conservator Graciela Ainsworth – who restored the statue of John Cowane at Stirling’s Cowane’s Hospital – took the cartouche to her workshop in the city to assess its condition to recommend conservation treatment.
The Leighton Library Trust has now applied for listed building consent ‘to repair the cartouche removed from the east elevation and currently in storage and then, following repair, to reinstate the cartouche in the niche on the east elevation’.
It follows consent for its removal which was granted in 2021.
The latest application includes a document from the conservator outlining how she aims to proceed with the work.
It states: “Proposed work to repair the cartouche and reinstate it in the niche on the external east wall of the Leighton Library.
“Carefully remove all ferrous fixings. Lessen the dark impervious sulphation layer. Lessen the cementitious residues, being careful not to disturb any early polychrome. Local consolidation and filling of the fractures on the back.
“Supply and installation of new non ferrous fixings, designed to suit the Cartouche and including sall marble repair at the head.
“Reinstallation of the cartouche into the back of the niche. Removal of previous dark cementitious render at the back of the niche, and application of new lime-based render to finish.”
Phase one of the library building’s restoration focuses on its exterior, including removing cement harling and replacing it with lime harling, replacing the crowsteps on the south end, and ensuring chimneys, the roof and slates are secure, as well as renewing windows.
The second phase will involve the conversion of the ground floor room, known as the Undercroft, into a stateof-the-art exhibition and visitor area.
Fundraising for the restoration project is continuing.
Leighton Library honorary treasurer Chris Onslow said: “It has been many years since this wonderful, old and unique building was restored and the Trustees are keen that by restoring the fabric, the legacy of this treasure will be secured for many generations to come.
“We continue to raise funds for the building works, costing around £350,000, and are planning how to raise funds for phase two which we anticipate will cost around £110,000.”
The Leighton Library collection whose oldest book dates back to 1504 – has been taken into storage during the restoration of the building.
There are around 4500 books which include first editions like The
Edinburgh Edition of Robert Burns poems (1787).
The building and collection is managed by the Leighton Library Trust, which originates in a bequest by Robert Leighton who was Bishop of Dunblane between 1662-1672.
By spring 2021 the building restoration appeal had raised £172,000 with generous grants having been received from, among others, The Pilgrim Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust.
Anyone who wishes to discover more about the library or make a donation can contact the trust at www. leightonlibrary.org.uk
Even Santa Claus needs some help - and a host of local businesses played a pivotal role in providing Christmas cheer to children and young people during the festive season.
The Stirling Observer’s Give A Gift Appeal couldn’t operate without the generosity of the drop -off points across the area.
Appeal coordinator, Observer reporter Kaiya Marjoribanks, said: “The drop-off points have been particularly vital to ensuring the success of the appeal.
“Across lockdown and the pandemic and all the challenges that brought, many of these businesses were still only too happy to help out and find a safe way of accepting donations.
“And now in the midst of a cost of living crisis, they again stepped up to the plate.
“Over the years drop-off points have come on board and stayed on board and it’s no coincidence that every year the number of places offering to be drop-off points increases, as does the volume of gifts donated.”
Morrisons supermarket in Springkerse have now acted as a drop-off point for several years with trolleys full of toys and gifts being collected from the store year on year - with 2022 no exception.
“The team there are always only too happy to help and helping local causes and charities is something they do all year round,” added Kaiya. “We have been so lucky to have them on board all this time.
“Similarly, another stalwart, Nationwide Building Society in Port Street, gathered in a bumper collection thanks to staff and customers. Again, helping local charities is something they are very involved in and we feel fortunate to have them involved.
“Having the Nationwide in the city centre along with Karen Hill and her colleagues and customers at Barber and Co in Upper Craigs who are always happy to take in the toys, has been greatly appreciated.
“Waitrose also are an important drop-off point - with the staff there also very involved in local charities and good causes. We picked up a bumper collection from the store.”
Stirling Albion were a welcome addition to the drop-off point list this year, with donations being dropped off at Forthbank, as well as the Binos Christmas event.
“You can’t underestimate the reach of Albion and their fans, and having an organisation so firmly at the heart of the community supporting Give A Gift was hugely appreciated,” said Kaiya.
Jintz Express cafe and takeaway again proved to be popular drop offs for locals in Bannockburn thanks to Lianne and her colleagues.
And Andrew Anderson & Sons funeral directors in Raploch and Balfron also vitally helped to widen the reach of the appeal, as well as the Intrepid store in Aberfoyle thanks to Clare Mulcahey.
Beech Tree Cafe in Dunblane meanwhile also once again gathered in bags of goodies, having been a loyal drop-off point for several years.
“Being able to have dropoff points across much of our circulation area,” said Kaiya, “is so important, particularly in terms of helping our readers feel they can be part of the bigger effort.”
Tesco Express in Callander and the Tesco Express store in Fallin also came on board as drop-off points once again this year.
“It’s particularly nice that we don’t have to chase anyone to become a drop-off point,” said Kaiya. “All of these businesses have come to us to offer their help which shows a real Christmas spirit and the desire to help those who may be going through challenging times.
“On behalf of the Stirling Observer and all the charities and good causes who helped Santa distribute the toys to local children and young people we’d like to say a huge thank you for their help.”
Among the charities and good causes which help to distribute the gifts every year are: Stirling
Young Carers; Home-start Stirling which supports families with young children going through difficult times; Stirling Women’s Aid; Stirling Council social services; PLUS, which provides social opportunities for children and young people with disabilities; Cornton Vale and Glenochil Family Support Hubs; FVRH children’s ward; and Support4families, which helps families affected by a loved one’s drug or alcohol misuse.
Groups set up by local volunteers in the Observer circulation area including CRAG (Cowie), Ladies of the Rock, Polmaise Community Council, and Love in a Box, were also able to receive toys for children and families they support once again. Several other organisations also benefitted thanks to the donations.
To see video footage of the haul of donations visit the Stirling Observer Facebook page.