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Copyright 2017

Burgh Chambers Clock Tower Restoration


Burgh Chambers 1843

Burgh Chambers 1843

Some years ago the tower and steeple of the Burgh Chambers was deemed unsafe and dismantled.

The building, which dates from 1843, is listed and Fife Council have a duty to reinstate the steeple but say they do not have the money to do this. Work started in 2013 to re-instate the tower. Over £60,000 was spent, the majority from the Common Good Fund. Matching sandstone was purchased, worked sandstone features ordered and a replacement cradle for the clock bells made. Then everything stopped.

Dismantled Steeple

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During 2015-16 the Communuty Council conducted a wide ranging communuty survey as part of the Community Development Plan. Re-instatement of the spire and clock was a major concern of many citizens. I decided to find out what the present situation was regarding the steeple. I discovered that the dismantled parts were in storage. I contacted the Heritage section of Building Services who were more than happy to show myself and Cllr Langlands the stonework. In Cupar we discovered 7 large canvas bags of worked sandstone arches, replacements for stonework which was beyond repair. We were told that the contents of each bag cost about the price of a small car. There was also a large supply of cut sandstone blocks. All of this stone was purchased locally and came from the source of the original stone.

We have concerns that the longer the stonework remains in storage the more likely it is to be lost, damaged or used for something else. The people responsible for dismantling and storage may move on, valuable knowledge will be lost. The Heritage team say that sandstone deteriorates the longer it is stored. The new stone needs to be worked soon after being taken out of the ground, the stored stone is not subjected to normal weathering and starts to dry out. This is URGENT and needs immediate action.

Also of concern is that it is uncertain where the clock workings (Bells, weights, dials and mechanism) are. I am working on this  and hopefully will get a possitive answer. This shows that the longer we are in limbo the more difficult and expensive it will be to re-erect.

Burgh Chambers Complex

Burgh Chambers Complex

The Community Council have asked again for the town’s clock tower to be re-built, in accordance with the legal requirement which was imposed on Fife Council at the time of take-down. In the meantime, there is an opportunity for local people to help develop the entire Burgh Chambers complex. As previously reported, a feasibility study now shows that the entire complex could house heritage, business and community facilities in a way which is financially sustainable. It would respect the heritage which is so important to all of us and provide a new focal point for the High Street. However, the only way forward is for a new (and independent) Trust to be formed with at least 20 members. That Trust will own or have a long-term lease on the property and will manage its daily operation and financial well-being. It’s likely that some of the trustees will be drawn from the members of the Community Council and other local organisations. However, all charity trustees are legally obliged to act independently of any organisation to which they might belong. So there is a strong incentive for enthusiastic individuals to play a key role.

It won’t all happen at once, so the next step is for a steering group to be formed, which can refine the outline proposal, consider alternatives as a fall-back, and drive the fund-raising as well as the detailed design. This is not a trivial project. The indicative costs are about £4million. So here is an open invitation for interested people to become involved.

Your Help Needed

Re-instatement of the tower and clock is only one part of a wider discussion which will need to be taken with regard to the whole Burgh Chambers Complex and Upper Library Hall. Since Fife Council closed the Local Office the complex lies near derelict with the Heritage Trust being the only permanent tenant and two or three groups using the Town Hall. If you have any ideas or would like to offer help in campaigning to save this superb asset please contact any member of the Community Council or email us burntislandcc@outlook.com

The Stump

Clock2

Text

Dismantling Of Tower & Steeple

The tower & steeple were dismantled in 2012/13 due safety concerns; it was thought unsafe and likely to cause a danger to the public.

New Worked Stone

Ct 18

Replacement Stonework

Money has already been expended on replecement stonework.

Cullaloe Sandstone

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Cullaloe sandstone was purchased to match the original stone quaried from the Grange. Cullaloe quarry uses the same seam of distinctive white sandstone.

Stored Stonework

Stored Stonework

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Remnants of the clock

Remnants of Clock

Remnants of Clock

 Burntisland Community Council. 
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