Gunsgreen House was taken over for its inaugural Community Week recently as the building’s trust paused to take stock of their work over the last few years.
The former merchant’s house hosted a refined afternoon tea party, an art show its sunlit upstairs rooms, and an evening of folk music in its famous basements.
The art challenge, on Monday, June 15, saw line drawings, pencil sketches and paintings inspired by John Bellany, who had painted Gunsgreen himself, all created by local artists in a day-long workshop.
And on Saturday night the cellars rang with the music of local group The Podlies, who performed behind bars in the cellar, and Martha Raine, the young singer-songwriter from Holy Island.
Fay Waddell took over as chair of Gunsgreen House Trust at the start of June from Simon Furness, who continue behind the scenes and will also act as a guide.
“We think it went really well, in particular the art challenge,” said Fay. “That was great because it was intergenerational, with students from the school as well as older people coming together.
“And we’ve found out that the cellars have great acoustics - The Podlies really enjoyed that. The space is already hired out for wedding receptions and things, so we may look at putting on more musical nights in the future.”
Outgoing chair of the trust, Simon Furness, told assembled guests on Friday evening how he felt that he could hand over the running of the trust because the house had made a profit, and is “a going concern”.
But that is not to say that there aren’t challenges, added treasurer Brian Payne.
“When, for example, the lift broke last year,” he said, “that meant finding £40,000.
“And when it comes to painting the exterior of the house, for example, it’s not just a matter of going down to B&Q. Paints that we can use on Class A buildings are not cheap - that can come to around £30,000.”
He went on to pay tribute to the people who have helped make Gunsgreen “an up and coming business”.
On average Gunsgreen House welcomes 5,000 visitors a year to Eyemouth and over 90% of these are first time visitors to the town.
Brian added:“We exist because of the time and efforts put in by everybody, from Tony our operations manager, ably aided by staff past and present, to the volunteers who give their time as guides, our sponsors and trustees.
“The future is what we have to think about now.”