A UNIQUE stock market is being launched in Grantown to reveal an important part of the town’s origins 250 years ago.
Grantown-on-Spey is one of the country’s best preserved and most interesting Georgian planned settlements, and was founded as a “manufacturing town”, particularly specialising in the weaving and knitting of stocking.
The stocks market initiative - which will see streams of socks hanging across the town square - is the latest scheme aimed to provide an economic boost to the community - and is part of Grantown 250 which celebrates the town’s special anniversary.
The town’s founder, James Grant of Grant, later known as the Good Sir James, invested over £5000 of his own money to promote business and help the new town to prosper.
Now, some 250 years later, Grantown’s citizens aim to raise a similar amount to invest in the future prosperity of the town.
Grantown 250 Festival organiser Bill Sadler said: “They are, indeed, ‘stocking up’ for the future at a time when no less than four major businesses have closed, yet at a time when the town is on the cusp of a bright future with a thriving High Street and a vision for improvement.”
On 14 May, as a way to hail its historic weaving past, Grantown Square will become a local ‘Stock(ing) market’ and will witness an audacious and colourful event as locals hang up, on washing lines between the trees, socks and stockings containing donated cash.
Each donation of £10 or more will receive a numbered share certificate which will later be drawn to give the proud owner a 10% share of the total takings.
Mr Sadler said: “This ‘Socks and Shares’ scheme will help finance the Grantown 250 Festival next month which aims to enhance economic activity and showcase Grantown as an important Georgian planned town and Strathspey as a unique environment, a first class business location, an excellent centre for sport and a wonderful tourist destination.
“The investment from these willing ‘stocking souls’ will help Grantown flourish with an enhanced place on the map of Scotland.
“It is the year of innovation, architecture and design and a special focus, here, will be on the architecture and layout of planned villages, of which Grantown is one of the finest examples.
“We shall celebrate and promote the music of the Spey, traditional and modern crafts and businesses, sporting successes, tourism, hospitality, the legacy of the ‘Highland Enlightenment’ and the wonderful scenery and attractions of ‘Romantic Strathspey’.
Whilst in these days of austerity keeping money in a sock under the bed may be a useful way of saving, local banks have agreed to become part of a local ‘sock taking’ and accept donations for “Grantown 250”.
The town has a celebrated banking history with the origins of the TSB, Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland reaching back well into the early 19th century, and the Grantown 250 is proud to announce the banks’ participation with sox boxes for donations.
Grantown ‘Stocking Day’ will feature this unusual washing line as well as Information and displays on knitting socks and recycling old socks and stockings.
There will be competitions, a very special, ‘socker special’ with skills competitions and a chance to see and be photographed with the Scottish League Cup, thanks to champions, Ross County.
A display entitled ‘an old fashioned wash day’ will also feature and a literary stocking event.
Many helpers will be in period costume, others with a ‘shocking stocking’ attire.
Grantown 250 was first launched in the summer of 2015 to celebrate the foundation of One of Scotland’s foremost Georgian planned towns.
Such was its success that, under the same branding, a second summer festival is planned for this summer which will include a costumed Georgian Street festival, a unique ‘fiddler of Strathspey’ contest and the Highland Premiere of Hamish Napier’s Celtic Connections competition.