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Belmont book launch

A Shetland charity is celebrating the near completion of an ambitious 15 year long restoration project with the publication of a lavishly illustrated book this weekend.

Back in 1996 the people behind the Belmont Trust embarked on one of the most important restoration projects in Scotland and the most authentic and thorough project of its kind ever undertaken in Shetland.

Belmont House, on the island of Unst, was built in 1775 but had decayed badly and was close to collapse when a small group of islanders realised its unique status and acquired it from its Edinburgh owner for £5.

The house has been described as one of Scotland’s undiscovered gems. An A-listed building set in a designed landscape, it is the most ambitious and least altered classical ensemble of its kind in the north of Scotland, and forms a perfect whole in an unspoiled natural setting.

When the £1 million plus restoration project started much of the original interior remained.

The evidence of the 1775 work has enabled a complete restoration using the same techniques as were used when the house was built, replicating the original timber detailing and paint colours.

In 2007, the Belmont Trust won the award for best restoration of a Georgian Country House in Britain.

As the completion of the restoration of Belmont House approaches this summer the trust is publishing a book on the project written and designed by trustees Wendy Scott and Mike Finnie.

The book will be launched in the Shetland Museum and Archives on Saturday 5 June from 2pm until 4pm.

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