Chequered flag now in sight for revamp of Berwickshire’s Jim Clark museum

An artists impression of what the expanded museum will look like.
An artists impression of what the expanded museum will look like.

The chequered flag is now in sight for plans to give a museum dedicated to Borders racing legend Jim Clark a £1.6m revamp.

Scottish Borders Council has secured almost £635,000 in National Lottery funding to pay for the expansion of the existing Jim Clark Room in Duns.

Jim Clark celebrating a victory in the US in 1966.

Jim Clark celebrating a victory in the US in 1966.

That news comes as the Jim Clark Trust has confirmed it has reached its fundraising target of £300,000, thanks to thousands of public donations.

The £1.6m project, being backed by more than £600,000 of council funding, will see the existing exhibition space in Newtown Street redeveloped to create a modern museum to celebrate the life and achievements of Jim Clark, a double Formula One world champion.

Jackie Stewart, honorary president of the Jim Clark Trust, said: “I am thrilled that the dream has come true that sufficient funding is going to permit a great Scottish hero to be honoured by what will be an excellent testimony to his success as one of the world’s greatest racing drivers of all time.

“I am so proud to have been a friend of Jim’s. I learned so much from him, and I miss him dearly.

“This initiative will recognise one of Scotland’s greatest sporting heroes in the very grounds that he so much loved.

“I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Borders Council and the Jim Clark Trust and all who have financially supported this endeavour to honour a great Scottish sportsman.”

Galashiels councillor Euan Jardine, the council’s executive member for culture and sport, said: “It is wonderful that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given its support for this project and that the Jim Clark Trust has also reached its ambitious funding target.

“Thanks to these funds, combined with the council’s own commitment, we can now look forward to a much improved museum.

“This project will create a visitor attraction which will bring in tourists and Formula One fans from across the world to Berwickshire in bigger numbers than ever before and will really be a fitting legacy to Jim Clark.”

The new museum will provide expanded exhibition space showcasing memorabilia and the trophy collection, two of Clark’s race cars, new image galleries, film footage, interactive displays, technology and an education zone.

It will continue to be operated by Live Borders.

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “We are delighted that, thanks to players of the National Lottery, we’re able to support the transformation of the Jim Clark Room into a visitor attraction worthy of his sporting greatness.

“It’s certain to attract people from far and wide, benefiting the Borders’ tourist economy.”

Doug Niven, a trustee and cousin of Fife-born Clark, said: “On behalf of the trust, I would like to thank Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Borders Council and the thousands of individuals across the world that have supported our £300,000 charity fundraising campaign, without whom this project would not be possible.

“Those people should feel justifiably proud having contributed to today’s announcement.

“We look forward to a new museum celebrating the life and achievements of Jim and his legacy for Scottish motor sport to inspire future generations.”

Over the past five years, the project has received widespread support from the likes of Dario Franchitti, Allan McNish, David Coulthard, Clive Chapman and Lord March, all patrons of the trust.

Wider aspirations for the museum project feature an extension in the future to showcase more race cars with a celebration of Scottish motor sport, a classic car restoration programme, support for technology skills apprenticeships and a driving tourist trail through the Borders taking in historic venues such as the old race circuits at Charterhall and Winfield Airfield, local market towns and Clark’s grave at Chirnside.

Lynne Irons, Director of Managed Services at Live Borders, said: “Live Borders is delighted that the efforts of all the partners has led to successful fundraising targets being reached and look forward to working with them to create a first class museum and visitor experience for Duns and the wider Scottish Borders.

“The expanded museum will be a modern and vibrant celebration of Jim Clark’s life and career for visitors from all walks of life to celebrate his life and achievements.”

Development funding of £53,100 was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in March last year to help progress plans ahead of the full funding application.

Jim Clark won the Formula One championship in 1963, becoming the then youngest ever World Champion. He followed it up with victory again in 1965 and in the same year also won the prestigious Indianapolis 500 in America. He remains the only driver to have won both the Formula One and Indy 500 titles in the same year.

Clark tragically died at Hockenheim in Germany at the age of just 32. He was much admired for his modesty and humility alongside his remarkable natural ability in all forms of motor racing.

He is still considered one of the greatest ever racing drivers and remains to this day one of Scotland’s most admired sporting heroes.

Members of the public can keep in touch with the redevelopment plans, news and future events by registering at www.jimclarktrust.com

Notes to Editors

An artist’s impression of what the expanded museum will look like is available from SBC’s Flickr page, along with a selection of images of Jim Clark and a copy of The Jim Clark Trust logo. Please credit Sutton Images for Jim Clark pictures.

Heritage Lottery Fund applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, National Lottery players’ money is used to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. www.hlf.org.uk. @heritagelottery