The community owners of Dufftown’s deteriorating iconic clock tower are on a fundraising mission to transform the landmark into a museum to showcase the town’s rich history.
The Dufftown Community Association officially took over ownership of the building in March 2020 after purchasing the tower from Moray Council’s Community Good Fund with the aim of restoring the landmark.
Since 1839, the clock tower has served many purposes – including serving as the town’s jail – and the clock was brought to the region from Banff.
Another story attached to it concerns the tale of loveable rogue James Macpherson getting hung in November 1700, the clock was moved forward 15 minutes before his reprieve arrived.
In the past 50 years, the building has been left empty and began to fall into disrepair.
Now, the association want to turn the building into a tourist attraction.
Owner of The Gables Whisky B&B Anne Jan Zandstra is spearheading major efforts to open up the landmark for visitors and locals to find out more about the town’s history.
Mr Zandstra explained: “If we can get the council on board then we should be able to make a museum in the first three floors at least.
“The museum would be the best option and the clock tower has something magical about it and if the tower wasn’t there, it would just be an empty square.
“The Dufftown tower is in decay and that’s a shame.
“All tourists who visit the town want to go into the tower but they can’t and for 50 years the building has mainly been empty.”
The business owner has started the process with Historic Environment Scotland to attempt to get some grant funding to help with the costs which are expected to be quite high to restore the clock tower.
The landmark continues to be popular with visitors and locals.
Mr Zandstra added: “Any support is greatly appreciated and we are hoping to raise as much money as possible.
Dufftown and District Community Association chairman Fraser McGill added: “I am pleased to be part of the future use of the Dufftown clock tower.
“The clock tower is clearly a building that is dear to everybody’s heart and to see it be a vocal point for future generations to come would be pleasing for everyone involved.”
App sparked idea to transform clock tower into museum
Mr Zandstra said: “The student assigned for the app has got three months extra time due to current circumstances.
“Therefore the app will be ready in August.
“A professional voice-over artist has worked through all the stories I provided and it is really starting to look like a professional app.
“For the app I have done a lot of research and found out all about the rich history and this sparked the idea that the tower would be an excellent place for people visiting to find out more about the town.
To donate, people can visit www.gofundme.com/f/restore-dufftown-clock-tower