Thursday, November 8, 2018

Old postcard featuring 18th century building in Scotland

This postcard, which is well over a century old, features the "Public Library" in Elgin, Scotland.

The structure, known officially as Grant Lodge, was built starting around 1765. According to the website Clan Grant Visitors, Sir James Grant of Grant (1738-1811) had it built as an "act of kindness" for his aunt, Lady Innes. It was designed by famed architect Robert Adam.

Clan Grant Visitors further states: "James already own[ed] lands in Elgin between Elgin Cathedral and the River Lossie and use[d] a smaller building already on the site as a quarry for the larger Grant Lodge to be built. Sir James, the owner of the largest expanse of natural pine forest in the country, was not short of materials to complete the build."

Here's a glance at the rest of Grant Lodge's history:

  • 1771: Lady Innes dies, Grant Lodge become Clan Grants' main residence in Moray.
  • 1899: Family sells Grant Lodge to Sir George Cooper for £5,500.
  • 1903: Cooper gifts Grant Lodge and surrounding grounds to Elgin. Grounds become Cooper Park, and lodge becomes a public library, which it remains for more than nine decades.
  • 1996: Library is converted to local heritage center.
  • 2003: Fire extensively damages interior of Grant Lodge. Many historic documents were feared lost, according to BBC News. Structure is boarded up and abandoned.
  • 2004: According to the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland, a consultant estimated that it would cost £500,000 to restore Grant Lodge for use as a local heritage center.
  • 2008: "The Northern Scot reports that the feasibility study carried out by the Highland Buildings Preservation Trust on behalf of Moray Council has estimated the cost of converting the building into an arts centre between £3.1 - £4.5 million."
  • 2015: "External inspection finds the property boarded up and in declining condition."

Here's what it looks like these days, all sad and boarded up...

Clearly, someone needs to #SaveGrantLodge and #RenovateGrantLodge. So pass this blog post along to your favorite British millionaire benefactor!

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The postcard was mailed in August 1908 to a Miss Lwyford (or Luyford or Twyford or Tuyford), who was staying on a hotel on the Isle of Wight. It seems they had trouble finding her. The postcard is addressed to the Sea View Hotel, but there's a scrawled note indicating that the mailman should try the Pier Hotel, instead.

Here's the cursive message, to the best of my transcribing:
Dear Miss Katharine
I was pleased to get your PC: I do hope you will have a good time and come back to us looking ever so well. Poor Bobbie does not seem well and he won't eat. I don't think he cares very much for his surroundings like me. I am writing to your mother.
James [or Jessie]

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