Facelift for "Penny Schoolie" gives lesson in looking after our historic buildings

Fraserburgh 2021 has made one of its first small grant awards aimed at restoring the exteriors of traditional buildings in the town centre Conservation Area.

The ‘Penny Schoolie’ at 90 High Street, now part of the Old Parish Church Centre which has its entrance in Barrasgate Road, will start to receive its facelift in coming weeks.

The building came into being in 1863 as Strachan Female Industrial School - a belated result of the Factory Act of 1833 - which imposed a duty on employers to provide half‐time education for employees under 13.

Conservation-friendly repairs will be carried out to its roof, chimneys, cast iron gutters, windows and doors as well as harling and repointing stonework – all employing traditional techniques and materials.

Jim Buchan, Church Officer, said: “We’ve put much of our resources recently into the interior, and are absolutely delighted that Fraserburgh 2021 will contribute to our efforts with works to the outside.”

Fraserburgh 2021 Project Officer, Sofia Oliveira, added: “The building marks the western entrance to the Conservation Area – we are hopeful that this project, and planned improvements to other buildings in the High Street, will make a positive difference to how the historic centre of Fraserburgh is seen by both residents and visitors to the town.”

Regeneration Development Partnership Chair, Councillor Brian Topping, said: “It’s fantastic to see the Penny Schoolie and High Street starting to get the care they deserve – we’re really grateful to the funders.”

The £5.8m Fraserburgh 2021 Town Centre Conservation Area Regeneration scheme (CARS), initiated in 2017, is part of the wider Aberdeenshire Council-led Fraserburgh 2021 Regeneration Project.

Ten other buildings are earmarked for improvements under the small grants scheme between now and the end of the project in 2021.

Of the high-priority listed buildings which will also see major renovations before 2021, the first to open will be the Faithlie Centre - on the corner of Saltoun Square and Kirk Brae - which will house a new Enterprise Hub, Council offices and community spaces.

Sponsors of Fraserburgh 2021 Town Centre Conservation Area Regeneration scheme are Aberdeenshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Peter Argyle, added: “Regeneration efforts in our northern towns have now been underway for some time and there has been a lot of work happening in the background, as well as some more visible work.

“This project clearly falls into the latter category and it will be encouraging for the local community and other businesses to see this work take place, improving the image of the town generally and adding to the overall feeling of positive progression in terms of investment and regeneration.”