The heritage of Scotland’s towns is a storybook of our journey as a nation; it's about folklore and myth, wars and kings, poets and parliaments, our churches, landmarks, languages, traditions and industry. In short, heritage defines our culture and society, it has shaped who we are today, without it we are nothing. The Heritage in our townscapes is a living legacy of our history and culture, even the most cynical amongst us will have an emotional attachment to their home town or village, a childhood memory, a sense of pride and identity, an acknowledgement of their famous sons and daughters.
And whilst it is always important to look forward, it is also vital that we view our heritage as our USP, as Scotland's key economic, social and cultural asset, it’s what differentiates and defines us.
And for Scotland, a nation of towns, it is critical that we embrace our heritage; not only that we acknowledge it, but to measure its worth and value, to curate, embrace, preserve, protect and promote it.
What would the Dundee of today look like had it not been for jute, or Paisley without its pattern and print. Greenock had sugar and ships, Stirling and Perth were once the seats of Kings. This deep and rich tapestry of invention and cultural heritage is now woven into a network which forms the lifeblood of our country. Falkirk is defined by it’s clock tower, Paisley would be somewhat devalued without St Mirin’s Cathedral, the Abbey, Town Hall, Museum, Mills, Coates Memorial Baptist Church and the Observatory. Even smaller towns like Kirkcudbright wouldn’t be the same without it’s Abbey and fabulous jail and courthouse.
In a world seeking authenticity, it is what we do with our towns heritage moving forward that will ultimately determine a large part of our social, cultural and economic destiny.
Phil Prentice, Scotland's Towns Partnership