Letter: Castle's graffiti can stay for now

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I AM writing to correct some of the many inaccuracies in your article in the 5 September edition, "Graffiti has to go, insists heritage body".

In 2007, one side of my home, Kelburn Castle in North Ayrshire, was spray-painted by four well-known Brazilian graffiti artists, resulting in a colourful but somewhat controversial mural. The Graffiti Project, as it was known, was instigated by my son and daughter.

As the re-harling of the whole castle was being planned anyway, Historic Scotland approved the enterprise on the understanding that the mural would be removed when the castle was re-harled. However, like me, who was initially apprehensive about the whole thing, officers from Historic Scotland were pleasantly surprised by the skill and originality of the result and have put no pressure on me to have it removed prematurely.

Your article gives exactly the opposite impression and suggests that Historic Scotland and I are in conflict and have had several meetings on this issue, when in fact it has not been necessary to have any.

The same article refers to a fire at Kelburn in February 2009 and states that "Lord Glasgow has been forced to raise an estimated 2 million to repair the damage". In fact, after insurance payments, it cost me less than 30,000.

The potentially most damaging statement, however, is reference to "a continual financial crisis being faced by Lord Glasgow". I can only assume that this was gleaned from a discredited television programme transmitted three years ago entitled Crisis At The Castle. Although managing and maintaining a large historic building is always a financial challenge, Kelburn Castle and Country Centre are performing well at present and the future looks even more promising.

I would be interested to know where your reporter acquired so much false information but, in the meantime, I would be grateful if the inaccuracies of the article could be officially corrected.

Patrick Boyle, Earl of Glasgow


WITH regard to the article "Graffiti has to go, insists heritage body" (5 September) I would like to clarify the following inaccuracies: n Historic Scotland has not stepped in and ordered the removal of the graffiti from Kelburn Castle and will not be doing so in the future.

n Although we have had meetings with the castle's owners and North Ayrshire Council, these have not been specifically to discuss the removal of the artwork.

n We were happy to support this exciting and innovative project. The artwork is a celebration of Kelburn Castle's importance as a historic building and has attracted many visitors to the estate.

Ranald MacInnes, Historic Scotland's Principal Inspector for Glasgow and the south west

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