The quirkiness of eras

The old square radio in the corner caught my eye. A relic of another era, a more modern one than the house.

Old radio

An old radio, once a link to the world, sat unwanted in a corner.

My husband and I were visiting The Haining on an open day. The Haining is a country house set within a 160 acre estate in the town of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.

The Haining, Selkirk

The Haining, Selkirk, a category A listed building set within 160 acres of designed landscape.

In the 12th century there was a motte there, then a castle, rebuilt because during the Wars of Scottish Independence Borders dwellings tended to get knocked around a bit. In the 17th century the estate was built up and a house commissioned, work began on the designed landscape and a programme of extensive tree planting was embarked on. At the end of the 18th century a new classical-style house was built, remodelled to fit changing tastes and status, statuary and marble ideas garnered from Grand Tours of Europe. The shutters were presumably inspired by more recent visits to Mediterranean climes. Each generation added its own layers, its own pieces of quirkiness.

The Haining overlooking loch and grounds

The Haining overlooking loch and grounds which are included in Scotland’s Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, the national listing of significant gardens.

The large balcony provides stunning views of garden and loch.

The large balcony provides stunning views of garden and loch.

Seat and watering can on balcony

They tended flowers on the drawing room balcony, sat and enjoyed the view.

The army requisitioned the house during the WW2. Wooden floors were removed and replaced by concrete, and Free Polish soldiers along with their mascot, Wojtec the bear, took up residence.

The last owner Andrew Nimmo-Smith died in 2009 and left The Haining and its grounds “for the benefit of the community of Selkirkshire and the wider public.” The property is now owned by a charitable trust who have a vision of a restored house with an art gallery, artist studios, spaces for arts and crafts events, weddings, book launches, recitals, and other get-togethers, inspired and enhanced by the wonderful garden and loch backdrop.

A fireplace and electric fire redolent of the twenties.

A fireplace and electric fire redolent of the twenties.

Fireplace and addition

The original grey marble fireplace in the magnificent three-windowed drawing room along with a more modern addition.

Work has already begun on the £1.4m restoration of the A listed stable block, one of the most significant of its kind in Scotland. It will become workshops and units for small local businesses.

Part of the large stable block

Part of the large A listed stable block at The Haining.

Grooms bell sign

Memento of a different era. Intrigued by the different typefaces. Wonder if there is a story behind that.

Recently an auction saw most of the house’s furniture and furnishings sold, leaving behind the worthless bits and pieces, mementos, quirky elements of some of the eras the house has lived through. Those too will disappear in an auction of memorabilia in a couple of week’s time.

Costumes on display

Costumes on display in the grand entrance hall. They are said to have been made for a pageant fifty or so years ago.

Like onion skins the additions of generations are being peeled away to reveal the bones of the old place. With hard work, time, patience and numerous funding applications and fundraising events, the trust aided by a dedicated band of volunteers hope to make this a place that’s central to the community and of which it can be justifiably proud.

Costume and plant

Costumes and plants provide a flavour of what trustees and an army of volunteers hope The Haining will become, a vibrant centre for the arts.

It’s great to have a vision.

For more information on The Haining see the website –









About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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2 Responses to The quirkiness of eras

  1. Hello you have a great website over here! Thanks for sharing this interesting information for us! If you keep up this great work I’ll visit your website again. Thanks!

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