A £50,000 refurbishment of Sir Walter Scott’s old Court House opens to the public next Friday (April 18).
The historical courtroom in Selkirk Market Place, where Sir Walter dispensed justice as Sheriff or ‘Shirra’ between 1799 and 1832, has been closed since last April for renovations, but now Scottish Borders Council’s Museums Services want to show off phase 1 of their capital funding programme.
Senior curator Fiona Colton told us : “We’ve made a lot out of a little. It’s been a long time in planning. It’s important to get more people into Selkirk to visit.”
One side of the courtroom has been rebuilt true to Sir Walter’s time: metal radiators are out, and hidden, underfloor heating is in, below wooden floorboards. Window filters block out damaging ultra violet light, while keeping daylight streaming onto the white walls, again true to Sir Walter’s day. Scott’s familiar model on the bench is joined by new characters, including Maister Jamie Inglis who kept order, and Tom Purdie, a poacher who turned into Scott’s gamekeeper. Their stories are told on fold-up interpretation panels, which also explain Scott’s legal and literary career, his links with James Hogg, and his impact on other artists.
Displays, artifacts and court cases will rotate each season. On visits, school pupils can sit on the public benches for role-plays, and learning how law and order works.
The court house will be open Monday to Friday, 10am- 4pm, and 11am -3pm, Saturday.