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New life for former Port House of Jedburgh to be restored to former glory

14 October 2020
Scotland

The AHF continues its support of Scottish community-focused initiatives through our recent investment into Jedburgh Community Trust’s Port House project. Formed in 2002, Jedburgh Community Trust is a charity working to support the economic development of Jedburgh and save local heritage buildings for use by the community.

This £100,000 loan will contribute to transforming a Category A-listed three-story architectural gem into a Community Resource Centre in the heart of the Scottish Borders. This impactful space will create offices for local third sector organisations, house the social enterprise startups of the area’s residents in ‘incubator units’ and provide the community with a hire space for activities and events. Given the recent job losses in the town, the project has only increased in importance and relevance.

The project will remove a building from the Buildings at Risk register, bringing life back to an important street within the Town Centre all while supporting local organisations in their efforts to do even more for their community. With support from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund, the historic property was acquired by the trust. While carrying out extensive feasibility studies and developing the project, they put the building to work with meanwhile uses including as a workspace for a sports therapist, a dance studio teacher and local tradespeople.

Since 2013, the AHF has supported the project with three Project Development Grants towards community consultation, fundraising and architectural designs. This recent loan will provide the Port House with the working capital necessary for the socially beneficial capital redevelopment of the building.

One of the town’s 130-plus listed buildings, the Port House was completed in 1900 and served as the head office for the Jedburgh Co-operative Store Company. Its exposed cast-iron structure, glass curtain walls and large windows were truly rare and innovative then, and architect James Pearson Alison designed it in this fashion to provide the shoemakers and sewists at work inside with the maximum amount of daylight.

Len Wyse, Chair of Jedburgh Community Trust, says:

“At Jedburgh Community Trust, we are delighted that work is finally underway to restore the Port House to its former glory. Its distinctive design, fine windows and detailed decorative features, (illustrative of the thought and care that Cooperative Societies invested in shop design in the early 20th century), will again brighten up Exchange St in Jedburgh, We are very grateful to AHF and other funders for their support and for their commitment to the project.”

Commenting on the partnership, Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the AHF, said:

“This is an important example of Cooperative architecture, right in the heart of Jedburgh. Cooperative buildings are typically high quality and contribute to the local streetscape – Port House certainly fits this mould. The mix of uses that will animate the space will also be a big contributor to the vibrancy of the high street and we wish Jedburgh Community Trust well in making it a focal point of the town once again.”

Photo Credit

c. Jedbergh Community Trust

Editor’s notes

1)            The Architectural Heritage Fund is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. We are the only specialist heritage social investor in the UK. We provide advice, development grants and loans.

2)            For media enquiries please contact Oliver Brodrick-Ward, on 020 79250199 / oliver.brodrick-ward@ahfund.org.uk