Duke of Rothesay set to visit Brechin

Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay - as he is known in Scotland - will visit the Merchant's House when he visits Brechin tomorrow (Thursday).

During his visit, the Duke of Rothesay, president of the Prince's Regeneration Trust (PRT), which helped fund the regeneration of Brechin's oldest town-house, will see the fully restored townhouses and meet their tenants, Mr and Mrs Wise and Mr and Mrs Walker.

Kit Martin CBD, project consultant of the PRT will guide Prince Charles through the buildings together with PRT staff. During his tour Prince Charles will be introduced to local craftsmen and apprentices involved in the overall Townscape Heritage Initiative of which the Merchant's House's survival and reuse is a fundamental part.

Also as part of his visit to the city Prince Charles will also tour the Town House Museum where he will see the main gallery and get the chance to meet stakeholders, funders and the design team.

Before its regeneration the Merchant's House, an A-listed building, had become a blot in the High Street, having lain empty for 40 years.

The Merchant’s House, situated within the City’s Conservation Area, was identified as one of seven priority projects by the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) primarily due to its poor condition, location, high costs to restore and its historic significance.

Although the oldest part of the building dates back to 1575, and the rear wing dating to 1717, the roof beams date back a further 100 years.

In the 1960s the building was in such a poor and deteriorating condition that invasive works by the local council were carried out.

This included the installation of a cement asbestos roof which is thought to have been key in saving the timber roof structure which is largely intact.

Maria Perks of Prince’s Trust, Kit Martin and Doug Reid of James F. Stephen Architects and Sarah Kettles project manager of Brechin THI carried out an initial visit of the site in May 2010.

With the formation of a steering group, led by Sarah Kettles, first meeting in June 2010, work to get all the relevant planning applications and grants took place quickly.

A design team was established, led by Doug Reid of James F. Stephen architects in Glamis, with W. H. Brown acting as main contractor and work began in January 2011.

Also involved in much of the work was Pauline Megson of Prince’s Regeneration Trust, who saw the completion of the building.

Using traditional building methods, original features such as the extraordinary 15th century roof structure were repaired, elements such as the Nepus gable chimney, a distinct local feature, were reinstated whilst a traditional lime harl was applied to the exterior.

A small, single storey building, the old print works, was reconstructed to the rear and high quality bathroom and kitchens were fitted within both properties.

Traditional building methods were used throughout, and Georgian paint schemes adopted in keeping with the surviving interior architecture of the rear wings of the properties.

During the construction phase the contractor arranged for two apprentices to work alongside skilled crafts men on the project as part of the craft fellowship funded by Historic Scotland.

Brechin’s High Street, from Swan Street to City Road will be closed from 12 noon to 4pm to cater for the event.

An alternative route via Southesk Street, Panmure Street and Swan Street will be in place.