Dumfries to Celebrate its Rich Stonecarving Heritage

A new project is underway to help people discover the amazing history and continuing tradition of stonecarving in Dumfries.  From local quarries at Locharbriggs, to ornate stonework and gargoyles high above the shopfronts, the town has a fascinating stonecarving story to tell.


The project is led by the Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Holywood Trust, and the People’s Project. A series of events will begin in October to connect people with their stonecarving heritage, from recording the stories of local stonemasons and photographing the rich variety of carvings around the town, to guided walks and opportunities to try out the art of carving stone.


A launch event will take place at The Stove Cafe on Saturday 6th October which will feature a stonecarving ‘taster session’ and the chance for people to get involved in various activities.  There will be a special talk that evening on ‘The Art and Craft of Stonecarving’ by Michelle de Bruin and Josephine Crossland.  An exhibition exploring the project will then continue to 15th October.


The project will work with a range of partners over the next year; Wikimedia UK will host Edit-A-Thons, during which volunteers will learn how to add information about Dumfries’ stonecarving heritage to Wikipedia.  Dumfries Museum will host an exhibition of work produced by the project, and the Dumfries Archive will share their historic records of the stone carving craft.


A new carved artwork will be created for the town centre, and smaller stonecarvings by local young people will be installed around Dumfries.  An October Stonecarving School will be hosted at Dumfries and Galloway College to encourage young people to continue the craft, and consider it as a trade. The project has already hosted two successful Stonecarving Summer Schools at Summerhill Community Centre and Lochside Family Centre, where young people learned from expert stonecarvers about this important craft, and went on ‘Stonecarving Quests’ – guided walks which highlighted some of the carvings in the town centre.


In collaboration with the Midsteeple Quarter project and other partners, this project will contribute to the revival of Dumfries’ historic centre by celebrating stonecarving as an important element of local heritage and a living craft tradition, which can be re-established as part of a renewed focus on the High Street.  The project will work with the blueprint100, a group of young emerging artists, and Dumfries Museum to curate the project’s final exhibition for Spring 2019.


Lucy Casot, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF is able to help communities learn about and take pride in their local heritage as well as training in new skills. Learning about history can be rewarding, fascinating and fun, and Dumfries Architectural Stonecarving Project is no exception.”


Forthcoming events as part of the project include:

  • Saturday 6th October 11am- 3pm, Stonecarving taster session outside The Stove
  • Saturday 6th October 6-8pm, Stonecarving Project launch event and talks at The Stove
  • Saturday 6th to Monday 15th October, Stonecarving project exhibition at The Stove
  • Monday 22nd to Friday 26th October – Stonecarving school at Dumfries and Galloway College


About DHBT

Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust aims to advance heritage by preserving and restoring buildings of particular beauty or of historic or architectural significance; and to increase awareness, appreciation, and education relating to the architectural heritage of Dumfries and Galloway. Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status Registered in Scotland.


About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.


For further information contact [email protected]


Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust 01387 259338




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