Queensferry Museum reopens after emergency repairs

Museum custodian Elizabeth McKinnon and the iconic Burry Man at the restored attraction. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Museum custodian Elizabeth McKinnon and the iconic Burry Man at the restored attraction. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A MUSEUM that was shut for emergency repairs amid concerns over the safety of its roof has reopened.

Queensferry Museum was cordoned-off in April when council officials stepped in after cracks appeared in the ceiling of one of the exhibition rooms.

The move came in the wake of the Liberton High School tragedy which saw a loose wall collapse, killing 12-year-old pupil Keane Wallis-Bennett.

Following a string of repairs, the building has now been deemed “structurally sound” by council chiefs but some re-plastering and painting work is still to be completed.

The city has been unable to provide estimated costs for the repair work involved.

The reopening coincides with the start of a busy tourist season which is expected to be even greater this year, as visitors flock to the town to watch the new Queensferry Crossing taking shape.

Cllr Lindsay Paterson, who represents Almond Ward, said the town was relieved the museum work had been completed and the venue allowed to reopen. “It’s disappointing at the start of the summer season it has been closed but at least now as we get into July and August it’s going to be open with additional opening hours,” she said.

“It’s just a relief for people that it’s open, I think – the local community was quite worried.”

But she added that safety had to “come first” and “any possibility someone could be harmed had to be the priority.”

Terry Airlie, Secretary of Queensferry & District Community Council, said the repairs had taken too long and more work still had to be done in the town.

He said: “Unfortunately it seems to have been an inordinate amount of time to get to this point – it’s been closed since Easter. We are glad, but frustrated it has taken so long.”

Local shop owner Jenni Meldrum, 57, a member of the Queensferry History Group, expressed “disappointment” the council had failed to keep the group informed of progress.

“It still remains as to what is actually happening – we are not aware of any big repairs being done in the museum and we are not really being kept up to date with what is being proposed,” she said.

“Really I think our big disappointment is still with a lack of information coming from the council about it and we have got an active history group doing some tremendous stuff and we would like to be involved in the museum.”

Gillian Findlay, senior curator of history for the city, confirmed the building was sound and not expected to close again.

The completion of repairs at South Queensferry comes as the city moves to transform the Custom House in Leith into a dedicated museum to the port.

The landmark has been used to store items belonging to the National Museums of Scotland, but they intend to vacate the building by April 2015

Campaigners pressing for a Leith Museum had been left with only two weeks to find around £600,000 to buy the building before the city’s intervention.