Why put the Battle Centre at Prestongrange Museum?
It's an FAQ alright, and the 1745 Battle Trustees have attempted to answer it
"The starting point in our Trustee discussions for the proposed centre was of course: as close as possible to the battlefield with good access for a goodly number of visitors. Access is always going to be vitally important."
A joint venture at St Joseph's was a real possibility except that's manana. Meadowmill, although it has the excellent Battle Viewpoint already, has long been designated for Sports Development and the Bing is unstable. Cockenzie and Bankton Houses both have great connections, but neither has anywhere obvious to build and present impossible access challenges.
Prestongrange Museum already has a number of attractions, admittedly presently under-developed but capable of imaginative development and there's excellent access. It also has, in the BathHouse, a building in urgent need of restoration and creative future use. That scenario is most attractive to investors not least HLF and Historic Environment Scotland. And ELC is very much in favour because the planned additional footfall of 80,000pa would stimulate interest in all the other existing attractions. Current footfall is just 8,000.
The £600,000 capital budget ELC has set aside can readily act as seed corn for imaginative ideas for the Hoffman Kiln, the Beam Engine and all manner of other heritage elements not to overlook the steam engines.
Vital need to be self-sustaining once it opens
The Battle Trust is 100% committed to implementing a self-sustaining centre, with Entrance Fees and all manner of events and activities. This can only be achieved through a world class facility attracting considerable visitor numbers. This also vitally requires repeat visits from those of us staying within 50 miles as well as many one-off visits by tourists as possible.
By locating at Prestongrange the number of activities that can be created between all the elements of heritage is maximised. All activities will cross promote.
Battle Centre wont detract it will stimulate interest in Prestonpans Industrial Heritage
There is no point in Prestongrange seeking to compete with Newtongrange, the Scottish National Mining Museum, as a tourist destination for those interested in mining per se. The Pans heritage stretches way beyond the coal that we mined; what we did in the Pans was to add value to that coal by creating industries and jobs locally that used that coal. We made salt, glass, beer, pottery, bricks and chemicals and we traded from Morrison's Haven across Europe - not least to Gothenburg! And we excelled with our Pandores oysters. We had defensive forts at the Haven and tidal mills to grind the flints for the glass industry.
All this heritage, and the value added hereabouts to the coal that we mined, can and will be told out loud once the visitor numbers that the Battle Trust can bring along are arriving.
... and talking of battles, let's add that during the battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547 the English fleet stood offshore from Morrison's Haven and shelled the Earl of Arran's soldiers.
Published Date: February 3rd 2017