A bright future for Brodick Castle
Sir, We were sorry to read of Michael Smith’s disappointment following his last visit to Brodick Castle (Castle woes, Arran Banner, November 3).
Even a jewel in the crown needs a polish now and then and we can assure Mr Smith that if he returns to Arran next year the situation will be very different. As is often said, the night is darkest before the dawn and because the castle has been shut the impression of inactivity may have been given. However, this is far from the truth.
Readers will be well aware that the castle has been closed for over £1.5 million of vital fire suppression work (the importance of which has been underlined by the tragic events at Glasgow School of Art).
The closure has also given us time to re-think how the castle and its collections will be presented in future. More will be revealed by the time the castle re-opens in the springtime – a new approach to experiencing its history and stories. With investment totalling £3 million over the next five years, we aim to bring out the human stories behind the castle and the community, as well as revealing hidden dimensions to the various objects on display.
We are also making significant investment in the castle gardens and grounds, quite apart from the fabulous Isle be Wild play area that Mr Smith mentions.
We have created the new Silver Garden which is thematically linked to the castle’s Beckford Collection of silver objects. It also includes sculptures specially created by Sally Matthews and based on Arran’s legendary White Stag. This will be followed by new signage and wayfinding.
Our café and retail areas are in a temporary arrangement at present and they too are about to benefit from a makeover. A new experience is being designed for both, which will play a role in the overall improved visitor experience we will be offering.
Far from being neglected, Brodick Castle is a proving ground for new ideas and visitor experiences. We hope that the people of Arran will join us in 2019 and come to see for themselves what has been achieved.
Yours, Jared Bowers Operations manager, Brodick Castle, Garden and Country Park, National Trust for Scotland.