Banff to put local silversmithing back on the map

A Banff tradition is on the brink of revival, thanks to an exciting regeneration project in the town.

Provost of Aberdeenshire Councillor Bill Howatson today re-opened The Banff Smiddy. The building was redeveloped by Aberdeenshire Council, with funding support from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Environment Scotland’s CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme). Today it has re-opened as a silversmithing hub in an effort to restore part of the town's history.

Around 200 years ago Banff was a centre for silversmithing, and even had its own assay mark. This made Banff silver both prized and collectable. It is intended that creating a hub in the Smiddy will bring unique visitors to the town, putting it back on the creative map.

The project will create both jobs in Banff and offer a wide range of courses, for local community groups, beginners, and established artists and has secured Leader funding to help with the start-up phase.

Provost Bill Howatson said: “This is an exciting project which will certainly pave the way for start-ups in the future.  Banff has a strong history of artisan skills, and the re-birth of silversmithing gives the town a unique offering. This will generate economic activity and increase awareness of Banff and all it has to offer.

“It is also complimentary to the other regeneration projects going on in the town, and there is a gathering momentum of businesses and the Council working together to get Banff back on the map”

Following a tender, Vanilla Ink won the opportunity to operate the project, as Kate Pickering from Vanilla Ink explained: “The past few weeks and months have been exciting, as we put the finishing touches to our programme and build a team around us. Initial interest in our project has been really reassuring and there is certainly an appetite for a project of this kind in the community. We can’t wait to welcome the very first people through the door”.