The Highland Historic Buildings Trust (HHBT) was established in 1985 by the former Highland Regional Council. It is a registered charity, reference no SCO 08403 and a company limited by guarantee no.101235.
“Restoring and returning to use the built heritage of the Highlands and Islands”
Essentially, HHBT operates as a "restorer of last resort". It tackles historic buildings that are at risk, and which are beyond the capability of the private sector, normally because the cost of repair is significantly higher than the end value. Such projects are therefore dependent on higher levels of public funding, usually from a number of sources. Each project is tackled on a revolving fund basis, whereby the receipts from the sale of the property are ploughed back into future projects. HHBT is a non-profit making organisation.
Aims and objectives
HHBT was established to achieve the following objectives:
- To preserve the built heritage of the Highlands and Islands
- To acquire derelict historic buildings for repair and re-use
- To use any proceeds from the sale of restored properties on a revolving fund basis to tackle other projects
These objectives are underpinned by the key aim to secure a viable, sustainable and appropriate end use for each building to ensure the ongoing care and preservation of the building for future generations.
As a qualified architect, urban designer and town planner, between 1973 and 2008 when working for the Greater London Council, Orkney Islands Council and the Highland Council respectively, John Duncan FRIAS IHBC provided advice on the architectural or historic importance of historic buildings and generally on architectural and more specifically on urban conservation issues. He has been involved in the promotion of the conservation of the built heritage of the Highlands for over thirty years and latterly more specifically in Inverness, with the Inverness City Heritage Trust, (ICHT) initially as its conservation and technical advisor on behalf of the Highland Council, and now as a Trustee. He was a founding Director of the Highland Vernacular Buildings Trust and of the Highland Buildings Preservation Trust now the Highland Historic Buildings Trust.
Trustee and Chairman, Highland Historic Buildings Trust (HHBT)
Trustee, Inverness City Heritage Trust (ICHT)
Member and Convenor, National Trust for Scotland North Group
Advisor to Scotland’s Churches Trust
Chairman of the Caithness Heritage Trust. Deeply interested in preserving remembrance of time past and, where possible, the built environment.
Following unanimous endorsement by the Trustees the honour of Honorary President has been bestowed on Aline Gunn in recognition of her contribution and her dedication to the Trust, firstly as a Director and as a Trustee and latterly as Chair.
A retired planner with an interest in built heritage and disability access issues, Ken graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1969, and became a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute two years later. He has worked in the Highlands since 1971, latterly in the post of Area Planning and Building Standards Manager for Lochaber. In his 30 years in Lochaber, Ken has worked on many listed building cases liaising regularly with Historic Scotland, and developing a keen interest in the built heritage of Lochaber and beyond.
Since retiring in 2005, Ken has undertaken a wide range of consultancy and voluntary work and successfully completed a post graduate course in Inclusive Environmental Access & Design at Heriot Watt University. He chaired the Lochaber Disability Access Panel for 7 years, and is currently a director of Lochaber Care & Repair and secretary to the Oban Disability Forum. Ken is fervently committed to the rescue and re-use of the built heritage of the Highlands.
Donnie Kerr is a Central Ward Councillor in Inverness and is a member of the Highland Council South Planning Applications Committee; with interests in local history and heritage, in particular old and interesting buildings, he is an appointee to the Inverness City Heritage Trust. Some years before becoming a councillor, he was employed by William Baxter Ltd. a Civil Engineering Contractor based in Muir of Ord Ross-shire. Between the mid-seventies and the mid-nineties he was involved in numerous large infrastructure projects in the Highlands and Islands, a number of which were funded or part funded with European monies through both Objective One and European Regional Development Fund.
Resigned May 2017
Hugh Macdonald has a keen interest in traditional building and is directly responsible for the care and maintenance of a number of notable buildings in Skye. Hugh is a skilled builder who can turn his hand to most trades. He is a proficient slater, and has been maintaining the roof of his own property – Viewfield House Hotel – for over 30 years. He has attended courses at the Scottish Lime Centre on pointing, roughcasting and using lime washes. He attended a week-long dry stone walling course run by the Agricultural Training Board. He has specified and supervised building contracts both for himself and for other organisations. In addition to his involvement with the HHBT, he is a Trustee and the Commodore of the Skye Sailing Club, a Trustee of the Col Jock Macdonald Memorial Trust (Traditional music) and treasurer to three other local organisations.
Michael Macgruer is a director and architect in private practice in Fort William. He was Area Architect with the Highland Council from Jul 1996 – Sep 2003 before which with Lochaber District Council when Director of Architectural Services. His skills range from project management and design of new and existing building projects specialising in listed and historic residential properties to procurement of planning and listed building approval and building warrant approval.
Chartered Civil Engineer, after graduation worked with consultant in design office and with contractor on major civil engineering projects, ran my own company for 20 years engaged in civil engineering, quarrying and building works. After selling the company became elected Highland Councillor for Gairloch Ward for 12 years. Represented Highland Council on Board of HBPT for 10 years and remained on the Board after retiral from the Council in 2007.
Resigned December 2016.
Resigned May 2017
Mary Miers is an architectural historian, author and journalist. She set up Scotland's Buildings at Risk Register at the Scottish Civic Trust in 1990 and is currently the Fine Arts and Books Editor at the magazine Country Life.
Hector W Munro MRICS is currently responsible for the day to day management of a family ‘in hand’ farming and forestry business which includes twenty-five let properties including two Category ‘A’ and one Category ‘B‘ listed buildings. He is company secretary for Clan Munro Heritage Ltd and as such was responsible for raising the funding for the development of a £1.5m heritage centre. As a trustee of the Foulis Castle Trust, he is responsible for the care and maintenance of a category ‘A’ listed castle together with its contents and surrounding grounds.
Hector is an elected community councillor and currently chair of Kiltearn Community Council. As a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; National Trust for Scotland; Scottish Wildlife Trust; Royal Scottish Forestry Society; Historic Houses Association, his interests include history and the built heritage; wildlife and natural heritage; trees and countryside matters as well as walking and trout fishing.
Resigned December 2016
Jean Ramsay Smith
Jean has over 25 years marketing experience in UK, Europe, Asia and North America. She has a proven track record in brand development and in leading and developing a business portfolio.
Company Secretary to the Trust.
Andrew Wright OBE PPRIAS RIBA is a Chartered Architect and Heritage Consultant who has prepared numerous conservation plans, conservation statements and heritage reports to accompany development proposals. Recent work includes a report on the condition and significance of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s The Hill House in Helensburgh for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the monuments at Bannockburn (prepared jointly for Historic Scotland and the NTS), the Aberdeen Art Gallery, and a suite of documents prepared for the proposed Patrick Geddes Centre at the historic Riddles Court in Edinburgh for the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust.
For the Highland Historic Buildings Trust, he has prepared a number of conservation plans and statements over the years: these include the Sail Loft, Stornoway; Alness Old Parish Church; Townlands Barn at Cromarty; the Industrial Female School, Stornoway; 30 Princes Street, Thurso; St Mary’s, Lybster; Merkinch Welfare Hall; Burgie Castle (undertaken jointly with the Burgie Castle Preservation Trust) and latterly Viewhill House.