THE Wallace Monument is to undergo an extensive refurbishment ahead of the series of international events to take place throughout Scotland next year.
The 220ft sandstone tower, perched on a volcanic crag and overlooking the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, is to be completely re-modelled inside prior to the start of the main 2014 visitor season.
Paid for by public subscription – donors included Giuseppe Garibaldi, leader of the Italian Red Shirts – and completed in 1896, the distinctive landmark, on the Abbey Craig above Cambuskenneth Abbey, already attracts over 110,000 visitors a year.
Stirling District Tourism said the refurbishment was partly being carried out in response to the various international events taking place next year, including the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.
The first floor of the building, originally known as the Hall of Arms, with its stained glass windows depicting the arms of Great Britain, Scotland, Wallace, and of the burgh of Stirling, will be re-designed to provide visitors with a presentation on the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
At the heart of the gallery will be William Wallace’s 5ft 6in broadsword. The story of Wallace’s life will be told to visitors in the Hall of Heroes, on the second floor, where busts of other prominent Scots, from Robert the Bruce to Robert Burns, celebrate Scotland’s contribution to science, engineering, industry and the arts.
On the third floor, visitors will be able to discover the story behind the building of the monument, as well as other memorials which have been constructed to pay tribute to Wallace since the unveiling of the first significant monument at Dryburgh in the Scottish Borders, in 1814.
Ken Thomson, marketing manager of Stirling District Tourism, said: “Next year is going to be an important one in terms of tourism with the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games, and the independence referendum.
“There will be a huge focus on Scotland internationally and we want to provide visitors to the National Wallace Monument with the best experience.
“Hopefully, in the years following, the Stirling area can benefit from the focus Scotland receives next year.”
The cost of the refurbishment, which is not yet finalised, will be funded by Stirling District Tourism.