Campaigners call for reopening of Glasgow Boy’s historic home

CAMPAIGNERS have called on the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) to reopen its historic Broughton House and Garden in Kirkcudbright and save the jobs of its five staff.

Scottish colourist E A Hornel, one of the Glasgow’s Boys, lived at the house with his sister, Elizabeth, and planned its Japanese garden.

The Friends of Broughton House group fears that cost-cutting plans by the NTS could mean that the staff may be made redundant this month and the house and garden remain shut, with minimum maintenance, until spring 2021 or even into 2022.

The NTS has been left with a £28 million hole in its income caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

So far, its “Save Our Scotland” fundraising campaign has brought in £2.5 million, with its most recent efforts including the launch of two special tartans and a cycle ride across America.

Mike Duguid, chairman of the group, said some of the endowments for Broughton House – which he said were between £650,000 and £950,000 when the NTS accepted the property into its care – should be used to reopen the site this autumn with the staff kept on.

He said: “We have already had more than 300 messages of support from artists, politicians, townsfolk, people working in the tourism sector and many more.

“And now we hope that even more people will call on the NTS to reopen the house and garden – they are absolute gems and take us right into the life and work of a truly great Scottish artist.

“They are also one of the prime visitor attractions of Kirkcudbright, which was loved by generations of artists for its wonderful light and the presence of other creative talents.”

Duguid added: “Kirkcudbright is now ‘Scotland’s Artists’ Town’ and it seems deeply ironic if the home of undoubtedly the most successful artist to live there is not reopened by the NTS.

“All the more so as this is the precise moment when we should all be pulling together to revive the economy through cultural tourism, on which the town is very reliant.”

Messages of support can be emailed to

Read more stories about Scotland’s cultural heritage on Scottish Field’s culture pages.