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Improvement district helps celebrate launch of Stirling 900

A business improvement district has been joining in celebrating an historic milestone as a striking new piece of artwork is unveiled opposite one of Scotland’s busiest railway stations.

Go Forth Stirling BID is part of the alliance behind Stirling 900, which will see an exciting series of events take place over the next year.

They have officially started with the unveiling of a new artwork which celebrates the city’s people and its history.

The colourful 30ft long illustration has been created by local artist David Galletly and will adorn one side of the square directly across from Stirling station.

The artwork showcases some of the major moments of Stirling’s rich history over the past 900 years, from the Battle of Bannockburn to the opening of the University of Stirling, and mingles it with legends from the Stirling area such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Sir Andy Murray and Billy Bremner.

Pictured in front of the new artwork in Stirling city centre are representatives from some of the partners in the Stirling 900 celebrations, the artist David Galletly and some children from Riverside Primary School. Pictured at the back (left to right) are Danielle McRorie-Smith, Project Director Go Forth Stirling; Dr Lee Zhuang, Executive Director, Internationalisation and Partnerships, the University of Stirling; local artist David Galletly; Chris Kane, Stirling Council Leader; Kevin Harrison, Director of Artlink Central. Pictures by Mark Ferguson / Stirling Council 

David’s design was inspired by suggestions submitted by people of all ages across Stirling, and children from Riverside Primary School were among those who came along to see the artwork take pride of place in the heart of the city. 

David said: “Working on the artwork for Stirling 900 has been tremendously rewarding. My intention is to capture the history of Stirling in a way that serves both as an interesting introduction to the city for visitors, and as a playful memento for those who know it well.

“I’m Stirling born-and-raised and, despite feeling like I know the city intimately, this project has allowed me to make countless new discoveries about my hometown. Distilling 900 years into a single image is an impossible task but, by putting a spotlight on a select few characters, stories and tall tales, hopefully the energy of the city is apparent for all to enjoy.”

The city was granted Royal Burgh status by King David 1st in 1124.

Some of the events already confirmed as part of the anniversary celebrations include a special edition of the Walking of the MarchesStirling Summer Sessions, a Stirling 900 art exhibition, a symphonic laser spectacular at the Church of the Holy Rude and events at the National Wallace Monument.

Schoolchildren check out the artwork with artist David Galletly

Stirling’s young people will also have the opportunity to get involved in the celebrations with a range of activities planned in schools.

Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane, said: “David has created a vibrant piece of artwork that weaves together the story of Stirling’s history and its people over the past 900 years in a truly innovative way. It will create a fantastic first impression for visitors arriving in the city.

“This amazing artwork is a fitting way to start Stirling’s 900th anniversary and we have an exciting programme of events planned to mark the next 12 months, from international stars in concert to plays, exhibitions and a wide range of special events.

“Stirling 900 is a celebration of our past but it will also be an opportunity to look to the future, and the recent announcement about Stirling Studios show our ambition to usher in a new transformational chapter in Stirling’s story.”  

Ayyub Rehman and Eilidh Patrick, P7 pupils at Riverside PS, said: “We are really impressed with the finished result, it will look brilliant to anyone visiting the area.

“We suggested that this should be creative and we think that our voice is reflected in this design. We love it!”

The artwork project was funded by the Scottish Government’s Place Based Investment Programme, as well as Scene Stirling, Stirling’s Place Partnership which is funded through Creative Scotland and managed by Artlink Central.

Watch Happy Birthday for Stirling, a special video by Christopher Jackson Drone Videography and Photography

Stirling 900

A steering group that includes organisations, businesses and individuals from across Stirling has been formed to oversee and deliver the events programme for Stirling 900.

The group membership includes: Stirling Council, The University of Stirling, Stirling Voluntary Enterprise, Go Forth – Stirling BID, Scene Stirling (representing a range of cultural organisations), Stirling City Heritage Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum, Stirling District Tourism, Festival and Events Forum, and The Marches.

Historical background

Is thought that the original creation of the burgh by David I was given as a verbal instruction so no written record exists. The earliest charter is held by Stirling Council archives issued by David II in 1360 that confirmed an earlier charter of King Alexander II given on 18 August 1226.

Burgh status elevated an existing settlement into something more distinctive. The king granted his burgesses or freemen privileges. These included: holding their land and property directly from him, having the right to elect a council, holding their own court, levying local taxes and holding markets.

Officially, the celebration will take place between April 2024 and April 2025, to coincide with the coronation of King David.

Learn more about King Alexander in this video by Christopher Jackson Drone Videography and Photography

For more information on Stirling 900 and the list of events, which will be added to throughout the next 12 month, visit: www.yourstirling.com/whats-on/stirling-900