Visitors to the museum have previously only been able to climb the dramatic spiral staircase and visit the tower room during infrequent special events, sadly the internal décor of the tower room and stairs has meant this access has not been possible recently. Thanks to funding the tower room has been sympathetically restored.
This has been possible thanks to an award of £34,000 from the Arbroath Town Centre Fund, which allowed renovation of the tower and 360 tours to be produced which provide virtual access to previously inaccessible parts of the building. The Town Centre fund grant awarded by Angus Council aims to stimulate and support place based economic investments which encourage towns to diversify and flourish, creating footfall through local improvements and partnerships.
The Signal Tower Museum, located near the town’s picturesque harbour, enables visitors to discover the fascinating story of the Bell Rock Lighthouse designed by the famous engineer, Robert Stevenson (1772-1850), as well as an insight into Arbroath’s fishing and maritime past. The purpose of the building was to allow communication or signalling with the keepers stationed on the Bell Rock lighthouse, in the early days of operation the copper ball mechanisms on the top of both Signal Tower and lighthouse were used, in conjunction with flags, as main methods of communication, hence the name Signal Tower.
Rachel Jackson, Museums Galleries & Archives Operations Lead explains more about the opening of the tower room. She said: “We’re really excited to be able to allow visitor access to this part of the building, it is an iconic tower and many visitors are keen to climb the 70 steps and ladder into the room.
“To ensure the opportunity to view the tower room is inclusive, we worked with The Airborne Lens Company to produce a virtual reality view which has given us the opportunity to offer a virtual visit that is also available in Gaelic, Polish and Romanian.”
Public access of the tower room will begin on Saturday 30 October, with guided tours available every Saturday, at 12 noon and 1pm. Booking is required due to the limited number of spaces available on each tour.