David and Judy Steel and Aikwood Tower
The first official duty of our new President, Professor Charles McKean, was to present the Nigel Tranter Memorial Award for 2011. This award was instigated in memory of our Founder President, to recognise an individual or group whose efforts have contributed significantly to an area of interest to the Association and its membership.
This year, the award went jointly to David and Judy Steel, for the restoration of Aikwood Tower, near Selkirk.
Aikwood is a rectangular 4-storey tower, and was probably constructed around 1535, in the aftermath of James V's decree that all landowners in the south of Scotland should construct such a defensive tower in what were "troublous times".
Predominantly held by Scott families since it was built, it fell into decay in the 18th century, until conveyed to the Steels in 1989 by the Duke of Buccleuch.
Restoration began in 1990, and was completed in 1992, carried out entirely by local firms in the Selkirk area. The excellence of the restoration work was recognised with five architectural awards, including the "Europa Nostra". It is a fine example of what can be achieved in tower house restoration.
David thanked the SCA for the award, which takes the form of a replica 16th century Morion helmet. He also thanked the Council members for their hard work over the years.