Galashiels welcomes the Great Tapestry of Scotland

By | Category: Travel destinations

Today, a purpose-built gallery in Galashiels opens and it becomes the permanent home of the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

The Bannockburn image from the Great Tapestry of Scotland. Image – scotlandtapestry.com

This 450 foot long, 160 panel tapestry has had a transient life since it was completed nine years ago. After travelling around from place to place it now has a permanent home not in Glasgow or Edinburgh where one might think but deep in the borders in Galashiels.

It has also been the subject of crime as one panel relating to the Rosslyn Chapel was stolen (yet to be seen again) and a replacement was created.

Why Galashiels?

Because the feeling from the powers that be is that the tapestry will encourage tourism and visitor growth to a town where regeneration could play an important role in the growth of the town. It is hoped that it might bring another 50,000 people to the town which sits near the Borders end of the very successful Borders Railway.

Conceived as an idea by the Scottish fiction writer – Alexander McCall Smith in the early part of this century and then designed by a Borders man, Andrew Crummy, and then hand-stitched by a team of more than 1,000 people across Scotland, led by Dora Wilkie.

Those thousand are probably the most important as, without them, the tapestry wouldn’t have been created. I bet each of them goes around saying, “I did that bit” as they shepherd friends and relatives and explain each part of the history described on it!

The tapestry isn’t just about significant events in Scottish history. It includes representations of millworkers and fisher folk as well as the success of Andy Murray at Wimbledon in 2013.

If you plan a visit, be forewarned that the visitor centre in which the tapestry is houses is only open from Thursdays to Sunday so an early week visit will lead to disappointment. At least until the popularity grows and more staff or volunteers can come on board to open up on other days.

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