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Completion of archaeological studies point the way forward for two of Gorebridge's historic sites.

Newbyres Castle:

Archaeology Scotland have completed their report on the geophysical survey of Newbyres Castle .This has indicated that there is evidence of further remains under the ground to the immediate north of the castle which could be of interest and related to the castle . The next phase would be to carry out some excavation/trial pits to see what maybe beneath the surface and for further consolidation of the existing remains.

The Gorebridge Community Development Trust will be discussing with Archaeology Scotland the way forward for the next stage.An interpretative panel will be located near to the remains as part of the Gorebridge Heritage Trail .

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 Stobs Mill Gunpowder Works :

Addyman Archaeology have just completed their study on the remains and recommend that a steering group of interested parties be set up to explore the next stage to improve access and interpretation of the site .They feel that the site is of national importance and should be a scheduled ancient monument . The works were extensive as the OS map of 1850 indicates . With the results of the study and some 3D images of the buildings that were on the site a sketch had been produced that will go into the Gorebridge Heritage Trail leaflet.

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Newbyres Castle , Geophysical Survey Workshop May 19th and 20th

The next phase of work to discover more about the history and remains of the castle took place  on the 19th and 20th May with Gorebridge Community Development Trust , volunteers , Archaeology Scotland and Alistair Wilson from Rose Geophysical Consultants LLP:

Geophysical survey of the ground around the castle (with Section 42 Scheduled Monument approval from HES) led by Cara Jones, Archaeology Scotland, and Dr Susan Ovenden and Alistair Wilson from Rose Geophysical Consultants LLP.

Rose Geophysics spent one day studying the site to find out which type of survey would be most appropriate for the ground conditions, and carrying out a resistivity survey of the whole site.

The following day they ran a workshop describing and demonstrating the three main methods of looking for archaeological ruins underground. These were:
• Gradiometer survey: using magnetic fields - was considered unsuitable for the site due to the high magnetic levels in the area;
• Resistance survey: maps to a depth of approximately 0.75m. Measurements taken at 0.5m intervals was used over the whole site;
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey: a more accurate method of finding buried stone was carried out in targeted areas based on the results of the gradiometer and resistance survey. Surveyed with a 500MHz antenna that provides excellent lateral and near surface resolution and can retrieve data to a depth of approximately 2m. Data was collected at 0.02m intervals along parallel traverses 0.5m apart.

All the results of the investigations / exercises in Phase I will be kept in the GCDT history archive for public viewing. They will also be submitted to Historic Environment Scotland and help inform future plans for the site.

Phase II....the next phase
Assess all the information including surveys and historical evidence to form a picture of how the land around the castle was used.

Agree if any test archaeological excavations would be useful for the assessment.

Ask that the scheduled monument area be extended to include more ground to the North and North West of the castle.

Apply for grants, including a Heritage Lottery grant, to: employ a watching brief; archeologist / engineer to monitor the stability of the stone walls while volunteers remove stones from around & within ruins to original ground levels of castle, thereby exposing more stone and giving a better sense of what the castle looked like; consolidate remaining walls, replacing any stones that have fallen since the project started; display dressed stones tin protected environment.

Volunteers to keep the vegetation down on the ruins. Midlothian Council to maintain the lawn area within the path.

Competition to design a 3-D model of what the castle would have looked like when complete, for schoolchildren and local residents. It can be digital e.g. Minecraft or physical e.g. Lego.

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Making our lives greener project with Stobhill Primary school

This project was completed last week with Stobhill Primarty School and the Gorebridge CARS with story tellers Lea and Elaine :

The project ran over 5 weeks

29 children were involved.

3 project workers : 2 x storytellers and 1 art worker

Aims of the project:

To enable children to understand and interact with the issues relating to the environment from a local to global scale.


Children will learn about the above noted issues through discussion, story and artwork. Items specifically covered : Water pollution; Air and atmosphere; Bio diversity, in particular birds, bees and trees; Putting it all together followed by what action can we take to make a difference - e.g. recyling, reusing and reducing

Art and craft activities will be used to enhance and embed the learning outcomes.

Parents and carers to be invited along to see the children’s work and meet the teachers and project workers - to build community links and relations.



Children. The children reported that they really enjoyed all of the project.
‘I loved you being at the school’
‘My favourite story was the tree story’
‘I liked the bird craft because we can hang them up’
One child with dyspraxia was really coevally engaged which in turn increased his confidence
At the end of the (3rd) session the children spontaneously sang ‘The rattling bog’ and one of the girls took the lead.
The children didn’t want to stop the project.
J has really come into his own. he now engages and asks questions and joins in the crafts
I have found this really useful as it has given me the opportunity to not only observe but focus on some of the class members that require a bit more nurture.

The craft worked well because the children could all work at their own level and plenty of support was on hand if needed.
Those with less good written skills were able to express themselves as well as those (and sometimes better) than those who are able to.

Parent: Was impressed that her child had engaged in the artwork in a way that he has never engaged before. ‘He now really loves art’

‘Thank you, you have really instilled confidence in her. She loves the stories’

(Several parents made a point of specifically speaking to project workers either at the school assembly or at the ‘tea party’ to come and thank the workers)

Last week , May 17th and 18th the pupils displayed their work and told stories ....

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Gorebridge CARS last building grant scheme complete

The last CARS building grant scheme has now been completed , the repair and restoration of 47-51 Main Street Gorebridge. This property was in need of repairs to eroded stonework , replacement of plastic windows with traditional timber sash and case windows to match the orginal , restoration of the traditional  shopfront and repairs and restoration of the chimneys and gable ends. 

New stone was povided to match the orginal where required . The existing hard cement render on the gable ends was removed and the orginal stone beneath revealed and repointed in a lime mortar.Ther whole of the front elevation was repointed in a lime mortar after the cement mortar had been raked out of the stone joints.

Before and after photos : 

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Celebration Event a success

The event organised to celebrate the completion of the Gorebridge CARS was a great success, around 45 people attended on the 9th May 2018 at the Trust's pop up Beacon (in the ex Bank of Scotland building in the Main Street opposite the Trust's office) to view the exhibtion material on display and the model of the Main Street (made by architecture students at Edinburgh University) and to hear presentations on the backgound to the scheme as well as the achievements over the 5 year life of the project.Funders , partners and participants attended as well as some local residents and members of community groups and schools . A great deal has been delivered over the period of the scheme assisting with the heritage regeneration of Gorebridge. 

The proceedings began with a cake cutting exercise by tha main funding partners (Stephanie Walker Chair of the Gorebridge Community Development Trust , Jim Muirhead , Midlothian Council  Member and Thomas Knowles from Historic Environment Scotland (HES). The cake was made by Emma Hay Midlothian Council Planner.

Thomas Knowles expressed his support and congratulations on the work carried out which he felt had exceeded expectations .He introduced a short film made by HES on the scheme which gave a good summary of the background and achievements of the project. This will be available to  view on the website shortly.

So a big thankyou to all those involved in the project.

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Celebrating the Completion of the Gorebridge CARS

The partners to the scheme , The Gorebridge Community Development Trust, Midlothian Council and Historic Environment Scotland are organising a small celebration event this evening in the Trust's office , 58 Main Street Gorebridge to celebrate the completion of the 5 year scheme and to thank all the funders, partners and participants for making it a success. Please see attached invite which is open to all as part of Midlothian's Heritage Week . 

Much has been achieved over the 5 years of the scheme , briefly , 28 properties benefiting from repair and restoration grant aid , 56 trainees completed the traditional construction skills courses and 30 schoool pupils completed the schoold heritage awareness courses. Many community engagement projects were carried out focussing on local history and heritage themes with local schools, community groups and other local groups in Gorebridge . Additional funding was secured to further build on and enhance the work of the CARS, ie the Government's Climate Change Challenge Fund , The Borders Railway Blueprint Fund , Heritage Lottery funding for First World War projects and Leader and the Railway Heritage Fund for the repair and  restoration of Gorebridge station. 

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Supported By:

Gorebridge Community Development TrustHistoric ScotlandMidlothian Council