Ancient close is now a Braveheart byway

Lanark Grammar aryt students in Wallace Close Aug 2018
Lanark Grammar aryt students in Wallace Close Aug 2018

It’s hoped that one of Lanark’s historic ancient alleyways, known, among other names, as Hastie’s Close will from now on be dubbed “The Wallace Close”.

The Lanark Community Development Trust, as part of The Lanark Vision strategy to deliver a facelift to the town centre for the benefit of local folk and to attract tourist, has transformed the once shabby throughfare at the foot of the High Street near the Tolbooth into a history attraction.

It walls now sport colourful murals, depicting scenes of The Braveheart’s stay in the Royal Burgh including his marriage to Marion Braidfute and the less happy occasion of the murder of the town’s English sheriff Heselrig.

The Bayeux Tapestry-style artwork was masterminded by the Trust-appointed Ali Smith, Director of Art Pistol Projects, responsible for Glasgow’s famous Billy Connolly and Rennie Mackintosh wall murals.

Ali and Art Pistol Projects set up two creative workshops at Lanark Grammar School with a group

of Art and Design students. They researched the story of William Wallace and developed visual ideas and graphics for the close artwork. They were also shown a range of techniques used in spray paint art including the intricacies of cutting templates.

Three of the students who took part in the workshops also spent time during their summer holidays assisting enormously with the actual artwork whoich now adorns the close.

Funders of the project include the Border Biscuits Community Support Fund, Greggs the Bakers and Western Recreation Trust.

Sylvia Russell, Chairman of Lanark Community Development Trust, commented: “We’re delighted with the results

of the ‘Wallace Close’ in the High Street and hope that locals and visitors will enjoy the fantastic designs.

“It’s been great working on such a creative project, and seeing the involvement and enthusiasm of the young Lanark Grammar students.

“The long-term plan for us, and an aim of the Discover Lanark Business Improvement District (BID), is to transform more closes in the High Street based on other aspects of Lanark’s history – drawing in tourists and making them more pleasant spaces for locals to use regularly.

“Watch this space!”

Ali Smith, who led the project’s Lanark Grammar School art team commented: “It’s been a real pleasure to be involved in this project.”