Published: 15/04/2017 09:03 - Updated: 14/04/2017 14:33

Grant Lodge - a glorious past but a sad present

The Friends of Grant Lodge have written to all 45 candidates standing in Moray in the local elections.

The group, which aims to restore the B-listed building in Elgin’s Cooper Park, is concerned that the building’s future has slipped off the radar amidst an atmosphere of political apathy.

It is now 14 years since a fire broke out in suspicious circumstances. The lodge has lain boarded up and empty ever since.

Stuart Huyton, from the Friends group, said: "We are asking candidates, as part of their election campaigns, to come out and state publicly their position on Grant Lodge.

"Many people, including myself, have very fond memories of Grant Lodge from when it was

Moray’s main library.

"But Prince Charles has a term for what it has now become – a monstrous carbuncle. We can’t just continue to leave it.

"Many people might think it must be a ruin inside because it’s boarded up, but they would be pleasantly surprised. The fire damage was slight and most of the interior is in good shape.

"The building is part of the fabric and history of the town.

"It also has a fine location on the recently launched Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere heritage trail – roughly at the midpoint and near to the Cathedral. We believe it has a positive and sustainable future."

Grant Lodge was designed in 1750 by Robert Adam, one of the best known architects of that century.

Later, in 1820, it became the site of the last clan uprising in Scotland when around 700 highlanders of Clan Grant marched on the lodge during an election dispute.

Then, in 1903, Lieutenant Colonel George Alexander Cooper presented it as a free gift to Elgin.

The deeds specifically stated that it should be used as a public library and reading rooms, and its grounds should become a public park.

The property subsequently served as Elgin’s library for most of the 20th century before it was used to house the local heritage service from 1996. However, part of the present problem lies in the fact that the same deeds also state that if it was ever sold off, then ownership of Cooper Park will revert back to the Cooper family.

Lt Col Cooper’s closest descendents are now believed to be living in America but they are aware of the situation.

 

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