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Case Studies > Post Fire Restoration

Spital Tower, Scottish Borders


Case Study Post Fire Restoration Spital Tower, Scottish Borders www.helpingithappen.co.uk
Case Study Post Fire Restoration Two years after being destroyed by fire, Spital Tower stables have been restored to their former glory and – following a £148,000 refurbishment – are now home to local equestrian business, Thistle Thoroughbreds.

Some 70 firefighters battled the blaze at the Edwardian stable block near Denholm in December 2014. Thankfully, there was no injury to horses or humans, but the cause of the fire was never firmly established. “Suspicion fell on rats chewing through unprotected cabling” explained owner Alan Bailey.

The stables have been restored to the original Edwardian specification and splendour, with large wooden boxes in a high ceilinged, well-lit and ventilated stone and slate building. There is a large washroom still containing the original wooden sink and a beautifully panelled tack room with central heating. An enormous amount of consideration was taken when planning the refurbishment. Alan and his wife Carla were very keen to retain the period features of the historic stables whilst upgrading certain aspects for modern convenience and practicality.

The refurbishment, carried out by a consortium of local Jedburgh tradesmen so keeping the project’s employment within the community, was completed 15 months after the fire. “We are delighted to see Thistle Thoroughbreds moving into the wonderfully restored stables and wish proprietor Katie Stephen every success” added Alan.

Katie, 22, started up Thistle Thoroughbreds three years ago. “I’ve now retrained five ex-racehorses and just love their attitude to learning a new job” she explained. “Business is good just now. We have four liveries with more waiting to come in when we have space.”

Katie says the move from her former base at Wester Fodderlee to Spital Tower has provided her more opportunity to grow her start-up business. Spital Tower offers extra space, grazing and brilliant hacking, making a difference to what she can offer. She has access to four fields for grazing, one of which doubles as a schooling field, and a grass dressage arena with an area for jumps. Next door at The Dykes, she has permission to use the all-weather arena and the gallops which along with 500 acres of off road hacking at Spital Tower, makes this the perfect location for her growing business.

Although the fire in 2014 was a veritable disaster for Alan and Carla, with perseverance, the outcome has been incredibly positive. The stables are much improved post restoration, they have created local employment for local tradesmen, and Katie has been given the opportunity to grow her equestrian business in the most beautiful of surroundings.  Katie's business has been such a success, she is already in discussion with the Baileys to upgrade the equestrian facilities on site - watch this space!
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