Wanlockhead museum bowled over by new home for archive

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Wanlockhead’s once-thriving bowling club sadly passed into village history many years ago.

However, the long-vacant clubhouse in Scotland’s highest village is about to play its part in celebrating that rich heritage.

Although tiny, Wanlockhead punches way above in weight in Scottish history, being the home of the National Museum of Lead Mining.

Preserving and promoting the hamlet’s heritage is the Wanlockhead Museum Trust’s job, and it has faced the growing problem of finding somewhere to safely store the mass of artefacts and documents it has gathered over the years.

It also wanted to create some classsroom space for the many school parties now visiting the village.

Now, it has managed to acquire the clubhouse and the 3.5-acre site around it from the main local landowner, the Buccleuch Queensberry Estate for an undisclosed sum, meaning that the club will once again play its full part in the life of the community.

Also included in the purchase is the car park to the rear of the bowling green, to be used for cars and buses carrying visitors to the museum, the associated restored lead mine and the trust library.

Estate manager Alan Nisbet said: “The trust and its volunteers have been undertaking some outstanding work promoting the culture and heritage of the village to local schoolchildren and visitors to the region.

“The estate enjoys regular discussions with many different groups in the local community, and the trust provided a clear vision on how they believed the building and associated land could be used that would benefit young people and the local area overall.

“We are pleased to be able to sell them this land and hope it will flourish under their stewardship.”

Trust chairman Jon Evans said he was delighted about the sale, stating: “The trust identified as long ago as 2013 that more space was needed in order to provide the best possible storage for its artefacts.

“In addition, in recent times, we have received many requests to study our archive material but, unfortunately, we have no available secure space.

“Thanks to this purchase, we hope in the near future that we will be able to welcome individual researchers, schools, colleges and universities to the village and without making too much impact on the current environs.

“We look forward to the opportunity to work with the village council and other local organisations, including educational centres, to research and preserve the unique history of Wanlockhead.”