The Trust is seeking to create a permanent visitor attraction to interpret the Battle of Prestonpans – a living history centre. It will be a world-class facility, designed to appeal equally to international visitors, the domestic Scottish audience, and the local communities which surround the battlefield. Our evaluation studies have been consistently clear in their opinion that the centre must be bold and ambitious in order to succeed – the very message of the Battle of the Prestonpans – and that is what we propose.
The visitor experience will begin outside the centre, with an iconic new statue of Charles Edward Stuart. Despite being one of Scottish history’s most recognisable figures, no other statue in the nation commemorates the Jacobite Prince, and there is no more fitting site than the scene of his greatest victory.
High quality visitor services, including retail and catering facilities, will provide important revenue streams for the self-sustaining centre. The core of the centre will be an immersive and engaging permanent exhibition, contextualising the battle within the wider Jacobite story. The historical narrative will be presented in line with the Trust’s commitment to balance, exploring the experiences as motivations of both sides in the conflict.
Using the wealth of eye-witness testimony, the latest historical and archaeological understanding, and a harmonious combination of both traditional and cutting-edge interpretation techniques, the Battle of Prestonpans will be presented like no other battle in Scotland.
Inspired and informed, visitors will then pass through to the tapestry hall, where The Prestonpans Tapestry will be displayed for the first time as it was intended to be seen: as a continuous narrative band in the style of the famous Bayeux Tapestry. Supported by atmospheric lighting and sound, the tapestry will finally be housed in a setting worthy of the efforts of the embroiderers who created it, and in a manner which will ensure its survival for the enjoyment of future generations.
Supporting these permanent displays will be temporary exhibition spaces, which will provide a home for rotating sections of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry and host travelling exhibitions relevant to the centre’s themes.