Bell Ingram Design plays key role in £1.6m restoration project

After 18 months under lock and key, Braemar Castle opened its doors in late summer to reveal a startling transformation.

The structure has been restored to its former glory with its turrets, towers and curtain wall rendered in a traditional oatmeal shade, while the castle’s treasured collection has been returned to a now wind and watertight interior.

This soft opening marks a key moment for Braemar Community Ltd., whose volunteers have carefully unpacked the Castle’s treasured items, from the smallest pieces of cutlery to giant four-poster beds.

Bell Ingram Design has been at the heart of the £1.6 million project to restore the A-Listed landmark to its former glory, with conservation architect Susan Burness heading up the team alongside main contractor Harper & Allen Masonry.

Susan Burness said: “The restoration work is a key milestone in the wider plans to transform Braemar Castle and its Estate into a cultural destination and top-class visitor attraction that compliments the amazing landscape and helps promote Braemar as a learning and engagement hub.

“It is an extraordinary building with a fascinating history, and it’s been an honour to work with Braemar Community Ltd. to deliver such an important community project.

“I believe that the work we have done will future proof the building and allow the Trust to preserve the furnishings and artworks which call Braemar Castle home.”

Most of the work was focussed on the external fabric of the building, which included structural repair, and the re-harling and lime-washing of exterior masonry and the curtain wall in an oatmeal colour which was based on a small sample of historic lime wash which was uncovered when the cement harl was removed.

Susan continued: “The restored building reflects the original colour, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the Castle. Essential interior works, including electrical upgrade, window repairs and drainage upgrade, now provide a more appropriate environment for the collections stopping any further detrimental effects and providing a more pleasant environment for visitors.”

Fog House

Earlier this year, Bell Ingram volunteers spent three days picking heather on the Deeside hillside at Invercauld Estate.

Their job was to collect 80-bales of heather for professional thatcher Brian Wilson to use as material to re-roof a small decorative garden feature – known as the Fog House – in the grounds of Braemar Castle.

The volunteering days were the brainchild of Iain Cram, Director of Bell Ingram Design, who is part of the team restoring the Castle.

Iain said: “The restoration of the Fog House marks an important milestone in the ongoing transformation of Braemar Castle and its grounds to ensure its long-term protection for the enjoyment of visitors from all over the world.

“We are proud to do our part to ensure the survival of this important building for future generations and our partnership with Braemar Community Ltd. has also given our employees a great opportunity to volunteer and make a positive difference to the community.

“Volunteering days like this are a fantastic boost to our conservation and outdoor learning efforts as well as promoting a sense of wellbeing and connection between our staff and the places where they work.”

About Braemar Castle

Braemar Castle, located at the Haughs of Dee, has been an army barracks, family home and visitor attraction since it was built in 1628 by John Erskine, the 6th Earl of Mar as his Highland hunting lodge.

It was a target in the first Jacobite uprising in 1689 and torched by John Farquharson of Inverey. Following the Battle of Culloden, the castle was used as a garrison for Hanoverian soldiers to suppress any lingering Jacobite support.

The castle was gifted to Braemar Community Trust Ltd. on a 50-year lease by owner Captain Alywne Farquharson, 16th Laird of Invercauld and Chief of Clan Farquharson, in 2007. Since then, it has been managed by the Braemar Community Ltd., its interior kept just as it looked when the laird was in residence.

The community group, supported by the help of an anonymous benefactor, helped secure the contents of the castle and the volunteers raised half a million pounds, locally and from generous private donors, which bolstered major funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland to make the Castle wind and watertight and safeguard its future.

Raising The Standard Project

The £1.6m restoration is part of the castle’s Raising the Standard Project, which has been supported by The Prince’s Foundation, who acted as advisors to Braemar Community Ltd throughout the project.

As well as conserving the fabric, developing the landscaping and work to make the castle more accessible, the project aims to innovatively re-interpret the castle’s story and introduce new opportunities for learning and engagement, and to elevate the castle’s visitor experience creating to a top-class attraction.

Initiatives include a new website, online booking and presence on the Bloomberg Connects app alongside more than 200 places of interest around the world, placing Braemar Castle on the international radar. Together with this sits a full programme of activities including outreach within the wider area and events to be held at the castle which engage the community with the heritage on its doorstep.

The castle’s rebirth has also received royal backing: The Prince’s Foundation has had an advisory role throughout the project development, while a young student linked to its Building Craft Programme has been hands-on removing the old cement harling and applying traditional lime replacement.

Find out more at www.raisingthestandard.org.uk

Our people

Iain Cram

Iain Cram

Architect
Design
Tel: 01738 621 121

About: Iain is Partner in charge of Bell Ingram Design. His main role is working with clients on projects from the initial concept, through site searches, funding challenges and statutory consents. He's an experienced and talented architect with a long track record, working on a diverse range of projects from small scale residential through to large public, commercial, residential and tourism builds. Interests: Architecture, Building Surveying, Trustee of the Scottish Lime Centre, a highly respected historic building skills training centre.

Get in touch

We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

    The Webster Memorial Theatre, Arbroath

    Award-winning project transformed historic theatre into a modern and fully compliant visitor attraction.

    Brief

    Our client Angus Council engaged Bell Ingram Design in 2004 to fully refurbish and transform the historic Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath into a modern visitor attraction and improve the overall audience experience. Externally the Main Façade, built in 1867, was in poor condition with the stonework badly eroded and spalling, plus there was a particular focus on Health and Safety and the Disability Discrimination Act, with the theatre facing closure if not swiftly brought up to acceptable standards.

    Process

    A grant from the Town Heritage Initiative was sufficient to fully fund the renovation of the external stonework. Improvements were made to the provision of public spaces including the creation of an attractive and inviting entrance area and foyer. The main auditorium was completely remodelled to significantly enhance sightlines, lighting sound and acoustics, with disabled access fully integrated with the overall design. Radical enhancements to the Assembly Hall provided additional multi-function performance and conference space. Work on the theatre also tied into an opportunity to improve the existing streetscape.

    Outcome

    The Webster Theatre is now a fully accessible, multi-functional and successful professional theatre. The success of the project can be demonstrated by the range of awards it has received since opening in January 2008. The theatre received the award for Best Example of Environmental Improvement/Conservation 2008 from the Dundee Institute of Architects, the Ron MacFarlane Award for the Best Accessible Building in Angus in 2008 and the Angus Council 2009 Excellence Award for Project of the Year.

    Our people

    The Webster Memorial Theatre | Arbroath

    Get in touch

    We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

      Our people

      Scott Ramsay

      Scott Ramsay

      Associate
      Design
      Tel: 01307 462 516

      About: Scott provides support to the project architects and building surveyors throughout the company in the preparation of drawings and specifications for the submission of Planning Applications and Building Warrants, through to tender and construction stages. During the construction phase of a project he takes on the role of contract administrator. Scott has been trained in the use of Revit Architecture, allowing him to create real-time 3D models. Interests: Architecture, BIM (Building Information Modelling)

      Get in touch

      We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

        Article posted on 21/07/2020

        Great Glen Hall – Robertson Homes

        Playing a key role in transforming a derelict hospital into stylish apartments and townhouses.

        Brief

        Robertson Homes engaged Bell Ingram Design as Design team leaders, Architects, Planning and Heritage Consultants to assist in their ambitious transformation of the Grade B listed Craig Dunain psychiatric hospital in Inverness into the Great Glen Hall development of stylish apartments and townhouses. The project, which is part of the wider Westercraigs housing development, was made particularly challenging because the building had suffered severe damage to the central area after a fire in 2007.

        Process

        In collaboration with Roberson Homes and supported by Highland Council, Bell Ingram Design delivered detailed proposals to reconfigure the building into a broad mix of large townhouses through to smaller flatted blocks. A sound understanding of how the original building was designed and intended to function, allowed the Design Team to work with the remaining structure to provide a viable solution that met the concerns of all the interested stakeholders.

        Outcome

        The £13 million redevelopment of Craig Dunain into Great Glen Hall is an ongoing flagship project for Robertson Homes with Bell Ingram Design playing a key role in the transformation process which has seen traditional materials and mature landscaping combined with 21st century interiors and amenities. A highlight was restoring the landmark to its former glory by lowering the first of two 20 tonne pre-fabricated steel roofs onto the building. Entry into the first of the 60 new homes took place in Spring 2018.

        Our people

        Iain Cram

        Iain Cram

        Architect
        Design
        Tel: 01738 621 121

        About: Iain is Partner in charge of Bell Ingram Design. His main role is working with clients on projects from the initial concept, through site searches, funding challenges and statutory consents. He's an experienced and talented architect with a long track record, working on a diverse range of projects from small scale residential through to large public, commercial, residential and tourism builds. Interests: Architecture, Building Surveying, Trustee of the Scottish Lime Centre, a highly respected historic building skills training centre.

        Get in touch

        We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

          Article posted on 01/01/2020

          Brechin Townscape Heritage Initiative

          Public Sector funded restoration project to transform historic row of 19th century, gable-ended buildings.

          Brief

          Bell Ingram Design was appointed as Project Architect and Lead Consultant on seven linked projects within the Brechin Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI). The work centred on a historic row of early 19th century, gable-ended buildings along 29-33 High Street. The main project was the conversion of a derelict property. into three apartments and ground floor retail space. We were also appointed by the neighbouring owners on both sides of this property to carry out external restoration, plus THI grants also enabled BI Design to complete external improvements on four further communally owned properties within this key area. Brechin THI was a five-year, £2.9 million project funded by Angus Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Historic Scotland (Historic Environment Heritage Fund – Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme).

          Process

          29-33 High Street was one of a number of similar, historic properties located on Brechin High Street. The overriding character of the buildings was based more on the consistency and use of locally sourced building materials rather than on a particular architectural style; the quality of design being attributed to the skill of local artisans. However, the row had fallen into dereliction because Brechin’s historically low property prices meant that the cost of conversion back to a habitable standard exceeded the property’s value once refurbished. The appointment of BI Design to carry out work on properties adjacent to 29-33 High Street meant that we were able to apply a consistent approach to the grouping as a whole. As each property had a different client (sometimes multiple clients), the works were restricted by budget to a greater or lesser extent and had to be carefully prioritised. 

          Outcome

          Being a high-profile site within the centre of Brechin it was important to minimise any disruption caused to the local community by scaffolding. The construction works were completed within budget and with no complaints received from residents or businesses. Restoration of the 19th century row has greatly enhanced Brechin’s existing streetscape which Angus Council believes will in turn help to raise the spirits of Brechiners and attract new jobs and investment. Retail space and apartments within the Arrowpoint developments are now occupied and, importantly, the value of each property has been enhanced by applying a consistent approach across the row.

          Our people

          Scott Ramsay

          Scott Ramsay

          Associate
          Design
          Tel: 01307 462 516

          About: Scott provides support to the project architects and building surveyors throughout the company in the preparation of drawings and specifications for the submission of Planning Applications and Building Warrants, through to tender and construction stages. During the construction phase of a project he takes on the role of contract administrator. Scott has been trained in the use of Revit Architecture, allowing him to create real-time 3D models. Interests: Architecture, BIM (Building Information Modelling)

          Get in touch

          We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

            Our people

            City of Brechin | Townscape Heritage Initiative

            Get in touch

            We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

              Article posted on 26/06/2019

              Marshall Monument Refurbishment

              Historic city centre project to replace copper and cupola on landmark building in Perth’s Cultural Quarter.

              Brief

              Perth and Kinross Council instructed Bell Ingram Design to replace the failing copper skin and cupola on the Grade B Listed Marshall Monument, which is part of Perth Museum and Art Gallery. The internal cast iron structure needed refurbishment, and the inside and outside of the Marshall Monument required re-decorating. Management of a city centre site where the boundary is the physical edge of the building required detailed planning of the construction process with strict constraints placed on the contractor in terms of site compound, deliveries and security.

              Process

              To avoid negative press for our client, the existing copper was replaced with a pre-patinated copper sheet matching the colour of the copper sheeting which was removed, and the cupola was completely replaced with a new steel structure and glazing to provide adequate ventilation as well as a water tight skin. The internal cast iron structure was completely stripped back by hand and treated with anti-corrosion coatings. New floors were constructed within the actual dome to provide easier access for future maintenance and repairs.

              Outcome

              The project was successfully completed on time and within budget, and despite the difficult site restraints, with no complaints received from local residents or businesses. This was particularly important to the client as the Marshall Monument is a much-loved Perth landmark, and all aspects of the construction work came under close scrutiny from public, press and business community. 

              Testimonial

              “Bell Ingram has worked for Perth and Kinross Council for a number of years. The quality of professional services and technical competence has always been to a very high standard.” –  Alistair Cummings , Perth and Kinross Council, Maintenance and Projects Officer.

              Our people

              Iain Cram

              Iain Cram

              Architect
              Design
              Tel: 01738 621 121

              About: Iain is Partner in charge of Bell Ingram Design. His main role is working with clients on projects from the initial concept, through site searches, funding challenges and statutory consents. He's an experienced and talented architect with a long track record, working on a diverse range of projects from small scale residential through to large public, commercial, residential and tourism builds. Interests: Architecture, Building Surveying, Trustee of the Scottish Lime Centre, a highly respected historic building skills training centre.

              Get in touch

              We'd love to hear from you, use the form below to email me direct

                Article posted on 01/04/2018