Future of historic harbour-side buildings secured for generations to come

A range of historic, listed buildings at Portsoy Harbour that recently formed the backdrop to an episode of Peaky Blinders and featured in the remake of the film Whisky Galore, are to be conserved and revitalised by the North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT). The four buildings, right beside the sea at Portsoy’s historic harbour, belonged to local business man Tom Burnett-Stuart who sadly passed away in January 2020. In a remarkable act of generosity and care for the people of Portsoy, Tom left the buildings to the NESPT in his will. Estate executor Alastair Robertson said “I am delighted to see these wonderful buildings being put into the care of the NESPT. They have a strong track record in building conservation and adaptation. A great example being the Sail Loft here in Portsoy which was developed from a roofless ruin into a four-star bunkhouse for visitors.”

NESPT Chairman, Marcus Humphrey commented “We are enormously grateful to Tom Burnett-Stuart for his generous bequest, and we look forward to working with the executors and the Portsoy community to conserve the beautiful buildings and bring them back into uses that benefit the town. My great thanks also go to the estate executors, Alastair Robertson and Jacky Player, who have worked tirelessly to allow a smooth transfer of ownership of the buildings to the NESPT.”

The buildings are the category A listed Portsoy Marble Warehouse designed by John Adam; the category B listed Portsoy Marble Workshop; the category B listed Granary Building; and the category C listed “Rag” Warehouse. The buildings are largely unused, although the Marble Warehouse has a popular shop on the ground floor (currently open on Fridays and Saturdays) and the Portsoy Pottery on the first floor. In addition, the bequest includes two self-catering holiday cottages at the Harbour, three empty and unused cottages in Whitehills and a “sizeable” sum of money to be used to protect the architectural integrity of the Harbour. As well as protecting and conserving the buildings the bequest secures the viability of the NESPT for the foreseeable future. It is hoped that the legal process will be completed, and the formal transfer of ownership achieved by the end of the year.

The Old Harbour was built in 1692 and is category A listed by Historic Environment Scotland. It is owned by Aberdeenshire Council.

Read the full news piece here, including a short biography of Tom Burnett-Stuart.

Find out more about HTN members NESPT here.

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