Troubled bridge could be prime candidate for national project

Seatown bridge in Lossiemouth - prime candidate for inclusion
Seatown Bridge in Lossiemouth – prime candidate for inclusion

A NATIONAL PROJECT tasked with investigating urban environments and how they have changed through time is focussing on Moray communities and seeking their assistance.

Scotland’s Urban Past (SUP) received a £1.6million Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2014 to assist with their aim of recruiting people from around the country in the project, seeking their help in telling the history of their own local community.

One local project that is already attracting attention to the SUP plans is the landmark Seatown Bridge in Lossiemouth, while the Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere project in Elgin is also showing a keen interest.

Over the five year project more than 4000 people are expected to have contributed to an online database that will contain details of architecture, archaeology and industry.

Now Moray residents are being encouraged to play their part by becoming ‘urban detectives’ who would investigate the histories of attractions in the centre of their communities. Any information uncovered will then be added to the ‘Canmore’ national database.

Jim Royan, chair of the Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere project in Elgin, said that the SUP project fitted well with their own project: “We are attempting to bring the last 1000 years in Elgin to life and help people appreciate the value of the history we have in the town.

“There is a huge amount of information in the archive at Elgin Library – so if people want to become amateur detectives and uncover the past of certain parts of the town that would be a good place to start.”

Interest in the project is already being noted by the Lossiemouth Community Development Trust (LCDT), for whom a spokesman said: “We are currently looking at the Seatown Bridge in Lossiemouth which has been a bone of contention in our community for several years.

“The SUP project would certainly be a vehicle under which our community could further investigate the history of the bridge, building a picture of its past would, we hope, assist us in our plans to establish its ownership, take control of the situation and effect urgent preservation work that would protect this landmark structure for the future.”

Meanwhile the spokesman moved to clarify reports in the media this week over the future of the bridge, which wrongly identified local councillor John Cowe as the Chairman of the LCDT: “Our chairperson is actually Donna Milne.

“Councillor Cowe is a valued associate member of the LCDT and we are grateful for the efforts he has already made in assisting the Trust as it strives to take control of this particular situation.”

Individuals and communities are being invited to submit their local projects that may fit into the aims of SUP. Further information can be obtained on the Scotland’s Urban Past website while ideas can be submitted by email to Carol Stobie by email