Great Tapestry of Scotland Gallery
Scottish Borders Council / Live Borders
Channel Street, Galashiels
Internal Floor Area
A special room to re-connect a nation.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland Gallery in Galashiels will become the permanent home of the world’s longest tapestry designed by Andrew Crummy to a narration of the nation’s history compiled by Alistair Moffat. The dramatic geometric roof design was inspired by the unique roofscape of towers, dormers, gables and pitched roofs that define the architectural character of Galashiels. The subtle articulation and detailing of the stone façade nods to the fine stonework of the adjacent Post Office building, as well as numerous other handsome stone buildings within the town. The palette of colour and texture in the interior design reflects the nuance and detail of the tapestry itself, as well as the rich textile heritage of the Borders. The intention is to create a unique building rooted in its physical and historical context, with a special room at its heart holding the history of Scotland carefully embroidered by the hands of over 1000 stitchers.
The existing Post Office was commissioned in 1892 by the Provost’s Committee in Galashiels, and the building opened to great ceremony on 2nd August 1895. The now Category B Listed building sits in the centre of Galashiels in the Conservation Area. It is still one of the noteworthy buildings in Galashiels. It consists of a 2-storey stone building facing onto Channel Street with a single-storey, brick built sorting office to the rear. The Ground Floor will be converted to accommodate a retail area and staff accommodation whilst the First Floor will house an Education Room and associated storage facilities.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland was designed by Andrew Crummy, to a narration researched and written by Alistair Moffat, with the grand vision imagined by Alexander McCall Smith. This beautiful tapestry is a linear pictorial history of Scotland depicting key events going back 12,000 years. It is also the world’s longest tapestry at 143 metres (469 ft) long, so a special, significant room was required to house this display. The gallery takes cues from the existing Post Office building verticality, and a modern interpretation of this inspired the elevational treatment. Relief and texture combine to provide a weaving effect on the façade, hinting at the display material inside.
The projecting entrance into Channel Street lures the visitor into the generous open plan ground floor where the reception, café, shop and temporary gallery can be found. The tapestry is displayed in a radial arrangement on the first floor where the diagonal views across the gallery allow the visitor to experience each corner of Galashiels through tall glazed windows. The central rooflight and break out space gives you a space to pause on your journey around the tapestry.