Enthusiastic welcome as new museum opens

Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum opens -
Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum opens -

THE new museum of Biggar and the Upper Clydesdale got off to a flying start, with more than 1000 visitors in its first few days.

It has been the biggest and most ambitious community project ever undertaken in the area.

But it has been given the seal of approval from locals and tourists alike.

It replaced both Moat Park and the Gladstone Court, which were no longer fit for modern visitors.

Biggar Museum Trust raised £2.2 million to buy and convert the derelict Stephens Garage on High Street.

“It seems to be going very well,” said James Dawnay, chairman of the Trustees.

“We have had a lot of people round – a lot of local people too.”

He was particularly pleased with that as the biggest part of the money raised came from individuals who lived in, or were connected with, Biggar.

And locals, those living in the ML12 area, get in free.

“We are very pleased with the response,” he said.

“We have had as many people in a fortnight as we would have had in two or three months previously.

“The general reaction to the museum is 100 per cent enthusiastic.

“I think people are very impressed by the high standard; it is a more professional standard than they were expecting.

“Most people think we have done a very good job and that is encouraging.”

The fact that the special exhibition area meets the exacting standards set for top class museums means that Biggar can “borrow” pictures from national galleries.

The opening exhibition is by Symington artist James Howe, which have never been exhibited together before.

Now the museum is looking for more patrons, visitors and volunteers.

“This is still very much a volunteer organisation,” added James. “It is a community project and it is the community that will be running it. It is very important we get local people involved.”