£90k boost for £15m barracks project

Display in the WW1 room of the King's Own Scottish Borderers Museum at Berwick Barracks
Display in the WW1 room of the King's Own Scottish Borderers Museum at Berwick Barracks

£15m plans to redevelop the 18th century Berwick Barracks have moved another step closer to fruition after receiving £90,000 funding.

Contributions have been pledged by groups including the King’s Own Scottish Borderers’ trustees, the Woodhorn Trust, Berwick Guild of Freemen and English Heritage.

That means the partners putting together the project partners can now prepare plans and gather information required by potential funding bodies.

The project would see the barracks be developed into a heritage hub telling the story of Berwick and the Eastern Borderlands.

It would be expected to attract up to 60,000 visitors a year, according to a UK Government-funded feasibility study carried out last year.

Philip Mawer, chairman of the Berwick Archive and Museum Action Group, which has been leading the project, said: “It’s very encouraging that so many key players have been quick to back the project financially.”

“That’s a reflection of its economic importance to the town and of their confidence in the project.

“Their generous contributions have enabled us to reach our target quickly, so that we can now move forward without delay.”

The project would also see Berwick’s record office and archive move onto the barracks site, also to include a cafe, shop and educational facilities.

Joe Lang, a member of the archive and museum action Group, said: “Given the present funding climate and the complexity of the project, we expect to fund and implement it in stages over a period of around three to five years.

“For starters, we have to divide the project up into a series of individually fundable modules, with each one advancing the project towards its overall goal without duplicating effort or cost.

“Now we know the £90,000 is in place, we can start work on this necessary first step in raising the multi-million-pound funding we’re going to need.

“At present, Berwick doesn’t have a destination visitor attraction. We need an attraction that competes with Alnwick or Bamburgh or Holy Island.

“We need a wet-weather attraction, an attraction for families and for higher-spending visitors, a year-round attraction, and the Barracks could be that.”

As well as the current permanent displays being expanded, there would be a new emphasis on arts events, living history re-enactments and festivals.