Abbostford, the unique home of Sir Walter Scott, has been open to the public for almost 200 years, helping countless individuals understand the important contribution that Scott made to literature and to themes around National Identity. The trustees of the Abbotsford Trust are now embarking upon a major campaign to restore and conserve Abbotsford and to develop a new visitor centre so that greater numbers of people can access and understand the legacy left to the world by Sir Walter Scott and his house at Abbotsford.
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Sir Walter Scott had a deep love for his country that inspired his writing, creating a style of romanticism that would heavily influence the development of the novel in English literature. Nowhere else in the world can evoke the power of this romanticism than Abbotsford House, which, uniquely, was designed by Scott himself. When you touch the bricks and mortar of Abbotsford, you are touching the mind of Sir Walter Scott. The beautiful house and grounds have survived for almost 200 years and they provide a way in which people can understand and interpret Scott's philosophy. As one of the first examples of the Scottish Baronial style (which in turn fed into the gothic revivalism movement) the house also holds an important place in the history of architecture and design. Abbotsford is now in urgent need of investment. Work is required to ensure the future survival of the structure of the house and to improve the visitor experience. Without this Scotland, the UK and the world, stand to loose a key facet in terms of our literary and architectural heritage. The campaign to save Abbotsford will improve facilities for existing and potential audiences as well as restoring and conserving the house and gardens. This will create a much improved visitor experience for all those accessing Abbotsford. Currently 24,000 people visit Abbotsford each year but with the crucial work to Abbotsford complete, this is expected to rise to 75,000. This is a major campaign of international significance, with the total cost budgeted at ¬£9,753,980. An application is being submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for ¬£4,447,815 and Historic Scotland has committed ¬£500,000. A number of other statutory agencies have indicated potential support to a level of ¬£3,000,000. This leaves a funding gap of ¬£1,806,165 that needs to be secured from private donors, trusts and foundations. In addition to the above, to secure the long term future of the house and estate, the Abbotsford Trust will be establishing a ¬£3 million Foundation Fund. This fund will help to safeguard the future of the house and estate beyond the lifetime of the capital campaign, limiting dependence upon continued financial support from the public purse. The fund will help the Trust build up the reserves required and create an unrestricted fund that can be used to support a range of projects. This includes future repairs and restoration, as and when they arise. Again the money for this will be secured from a range of potential individual major donors and trusts and foundations. When Sir Walter Scott built his home at Abbotsford, he wove into its fabric the very essence of his own beliefs. As with many of his novels, he looked to the past to create a new vision and a stronger sense of identity, contributing to a new style of architecture that, today, is easily identified with the Victorian era. Abbotsford is unique as arguably a living symbol of the life and works of one of the most significant authors in British history, and as such, someone who made a unique contribution to the development of the modern novel, making Abbotsford of international significance. Should Abbotsford not be able to survive and thrive, it would be a major loss to Scotland, the United Kingdom and the World. This campaign will not succeed without the support gained from grants and donations. As Scott himself understood, sometimes there is an opportunity to invest in a unique and inspiring venture that will lead to a stronger future. As he once said: One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum.
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