A STRIKING new image has been released of a planned visitor centre dedicated to the Battle of Prestonpans.
The plans include the creation of a tapestry pavilion to house what is thought to be the longest piece of embroidery in the world.
The Prestonpans Tapestry, which is the length of a football pitch, would be displayed in a new tapestry pavilion at Prestongrange Heritage Museum if plans to revamp the site are given the go-ahead by East Lothian Council later this month.
The Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust, which has been campaigning for a battle centre and tapestry pavilion since 2007, has been negotiating with the council over the past two years to come up with a joint plan for the museum site. It has now revealed an artist’s impression of what the museum could look like if its plans are supported by the local authority.
The Trust wants to see the original miners’ bath house transformed into a battle centre, with the creation of an adjoining circular pavilion for the 104-metre tapestry, which took more than ten million stitches, 15,000 hours of sewing and cost £50,000.
It also hopes for “substantial investment” in the rest of the museum by East Lothian Council.
The council is due to finalise its capital budget on February 14 and the Trust is hoping that this will include a commitment to securing the future of the museum site.
The Trust has already raised around £100,000 in public donations towards the £2 million needed for the battle centre and tapestry pavilion.
It estimates more than 100,000 people would visit the site each year.
Trust chairman Gareth Jones, said: “We are quite prepared to raise the £2 million needed for the battle centre and tapestry pavilion, but there is no point in such an investment if the rest of the museum is not improved.
“Unfortunately, we can’t move forward with our plans until we have a formal commitment by East Lothian Council. Hopefully that will be forthcoming this month as part of their future capital programme.”
He added: “This is a great opportunity for the council to create a fantastic facility at Prestongrange for locals and visitors – at a site that desperately needs investment before it becomes beyond repair.”
Andrew Hillhouse, the local artist behind the new impression, has already painted a series of dramatic paintings for the Trust, showing key scenes from the famous 1745 battle. The plan is that they would be displayed in the battle centre – an interactive visitor centre offering people information about the Battle of Prestonpans.
Trustee of the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust, Kristine Cunningham, said the Trust was “very optimistic” that the council, which owns the museum, would agree to a joint plan for the site.
“We need the agreement of the council and some sort of master plan for the whole site before we can go and approach major funders,” she said.
“The battle centre and tapestry pavilion would cost in the region of £2m, but how much it would cost to bring the whole of the rest of the museum up to speed has still to be worked out.
“It certainly would be nice to have the battle centre and tapestry pavilion established in the next two to three years.”
A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said: “We are aware of the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust’s plans and they have been discussed by the elected members.”