STEPS have been taken to secure irreplaceable artefacts held in the world-renowned Culloden Battlefield visitor centre after its roof was damaged by severe winter storms.
The force of winds exceeding 100 mph in the Highlands peeled away a section of the centre’s roof and did extensive damage to the framework underneath.
This exposed part of the interior to the elements with debris falling inside and more being scattered around the surrounding grounds.
On examining the extent of the damage, surveyors advised staff to make the building on the outskirts of Inverness secure and vacate it pending a more detailed structural assessment.
The property, which was completed in 2007, was closed to the public at the time and was not due to re-open for the new season until February.
None of the historic artefacts inside the centre, drawn from collections around the world, were damaged by the incident.
They include weapons and documents relating to the events of 16 April 1746, the day of Jacobite troops’ fateful encounter with Government forces, and all are held in shatter-proof, museum-grade glass cabinets which offer a very high degree of protection.
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The National Trust for Scotland, the charity which owns the Culloden site, has sent in a top team of conservation experts to ensure the safety of the artefacts.
Jennifer Melville, the Trust’s Head of Collections, Archives and Library Services said: “It was not just good fortune that prevented any harm coming to the Culloden exhibits – they were all well protected within their installations.
“All of the alarm and environmental control systems within the centre remained operational throughout but we also took the precaution of increasing onsite security coverage.
“The objective now is to determine the full extent of damage to the building and how long it will take to effect repairs.
“If it is not possible to make good the damage quickly, we put in place temporary measures to ensure the building remains fully wind-, water- and snow-proof.”
Insurance assessors, surveyors and structural engineers are currently onsite.
The Culloden Battlefield visitor centre was designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects and was shortlisted for the 2008 World Architecture Festival Awards and the RIAS Best Building in Scotland Award.
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