Read our regular staff blog and get a behind-the-scenes-view of life and work at Stirling Castle.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland: Our People’s History

by StirlingCastle 30. January 2015 09:43

Having spent the last few weeks immersed in The Great Tapestry of Scotland, learning all there is to know about the project as we prepared for its arrival at the castle, I could regale you all day long with statistics. For example did you know that, at 143 metres, it is the world’s longest embroidered tapestry? Or that the 160 panels took around 500 hours each to stitch and involved over 1000 men, women and children from across the nation making it Scotland’s largest community arts project?  However there was one thing I didn’t know and hadn’t planned for when I finally came face to face with the tapestry; how powerful it is in the flesh and the emotions it would evoke.


 


As I spent the morning interviewing colleagues from Historic Scotland and members of the Great Tapestry Project Team the same themes and phrases kept cropping up in conversation: the people’s history, the distinctive way it tells a story, the extraordinary detail involved, but overwhelmingly, its capacity to arouse a great range of emotions.  A few people even welled up as they recounted their favourite panel and what it meant to them.



As I took the time to walk the room and view the panels I understood immediately what had been described to me.  I expected to meet some familiar characters along the way who have impacted my work here at the castle from Wallace and Bruce to James V and Mary Queen of Scots.  But as I looked at my surroundings, sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows of the majestic Great Hall, I realised that the stories depicted in the panels actually happened right here in the castle and I got goose bumps. That’s what makes the castle such a special and apt setting for the exhibition; visitors will get to see Scotland’s history in a place where so much of it took place.



I was also unprepared for the extent of modern history represented in the tapestry including production at Ravenscraig, Dolly the sheep and Archie Gemmill’s goal in the 1978 world cup campaign.  As one of the Tapestry Team pointed out to me, there is something that everyone can relate to, something that is important to them and their own history. And that is what makes The Great Tapestry of Scotland such a unique experience;  it recounts the true story of Scotland’s history created by the people for the people.


I cannot encourage you strongly enough to come along and see this amazing exhibition which so richly deserves its title.


The Great Tapestry of Scotland is open to the public from 31 January until 8 March and is included in castle admission price. 


Further information on the Great Tapestry of Scotland exhibit. 


Nicola McCrae
Marketing Executive, Stirling Castle

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Wha’s Like Him? Gie Few!

by StirlingCastle 19. January 2015 07:09

At Stirling Castle we’re not short on heroic figures to admire, from Wallace and Bruce to the soldiers of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. However, this weekend (24th and 25th January 2015) we’ll be celebrating another beloved and iconic Scottish hero – Robert Burns.



A Celebration of Burns will include special tours, games, activities and food. What’s not to love?

Our Burns Tour will focus on the poet’s visit to the castle in 1787 and how it went on to inspire The Stirling Lines. Visitors can look forward to hearing more about the Bard as well as passionate recitations of some of his most famous works.

Young visitors can also join in the action on our Burns for Bairns Tour which will be led by the castle’s watchman. Travel back 228 years and follow in Burns’ footsteps as he relives the tour of the castle grounds. Great fun for all the family.

We’re also asking if you have what it takes to be Scotland’s Poet and challenging visitors to pen a few Burns-style lines of their own in Poets' Corner.

And of course no celebration of Scotland’s beloved poet would be complete without a look at a Burns Supper. Join our food historian in the Great Hall to find out the secret to a great haggis and indeed how to properly address it.

After all that, refuel in the Unicorn Café who will be offering a special Burns menu that includes haggis, neeps and tatties, scotch broth and tea and short bread.

So join us in remembering an auld acquaintance of the castle and make sure his legacy is not forgot.

A Celebration of Burns takes place Saturday 24th and Sunday 25 January from 12pm-4pm and is included in Castle admission price.


Nicola McCrae
Marketing Executive, Stirling Castle


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New Year Clean Up

by StirlingCastle 7. January 2015 05:53

Over the next two weeks the furnishings in the Castle’s Palace and Great Hall will be receiving special attention from Stirling’s Monument Conservation Unit and Historic Scotland’s Collections Unit. Between 6th and 19th January visitors will be able to get a glimpse of these teams carrying out conservation cleaning on Stirling’s large textile collection.



The majority of the work will be carried out from scaffolding, and involves using specialist conservation materials to gently remove any dust that may have built up on these delicate items. This process will also allow staff to assess the condition of the textiles and make recommendations about their future care.


The furnishings in both the Palace and Great Hall are reproductions based on years of meticulous research into how the rooms of the Castle may have looked during the 16th century. They include the magnificent Unicorn Tapestries, specially commissioned to adorn the walls of the Queen’s Apartments, and based on a medieval set held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 



Lynsey Haworth
Regional Collections Manager (Central)

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