Rescuing The Steading before it's too late

by Nichola Fletcher in Galashiels, Scotland, United Kingdom

Total raised £38,458

raised so far

+ est. £6658.75 Gift Aid



Racing against time to rescue an extrordinary house 'The Steading' & bring it alive again for the nation. Every £ you give will be matched.

by Nichola Fletcher in Galashiels, Scotland, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 14th February 2021 we'd raised £36,210 with 439 supporters in 35 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

A benefactor has offered to match £ for £ a further £25,000 worth of donations. We don't want to waste this magnificent offer! So with extra funding from you we could then make a start on all these goodies

The essential and urgent restoration that needs to be done to prevent damage to this wonderful building and its woodwork.

Then we can begin to realise our longer-term vision for the future that the Trustees have jointly agreed and wish to work towards:

We want to make The Steading ready to welcome people and to convert one of the outbuildings into a community space to host most of our activities. 

We also need to do some work on making Tim's workshop secure for the future. The workshop, and David and Ross, the brilliant current craftsmen, all form a crucial part of the overall plan.

The Tim Stead National Centre for Wood Culture, working in partnership with other organisations, aims to host a variety of day and residential courses for schools, community groups, environmental groups, practical learning and private individuals in the unique environment of the Steading. We have many partners locally who want to work with us to deliver this.

The Centre will become a hub for practical expertise in everything to do with wood and the environment, with tree husbandry and horticulture, joinery, woodcraft, and all the creative arts. So it will also host workshops for artists, designers, craft workers, writers and musicians whom we already know are inspired by interacting with The Steading. 

The Centre will work with local schools and colleges and involve the local group of small children who hold musical events in Wooplaw Wood: the UK's first community woodland that Tim set up. Environmental conservation, woodland, forestry and tree-work, construction craft and skills for craft business will all be covered, as we work with a whole variety of local and national bodies to deliver these benefits. 

Residencies will be made available for early career researchers who wish to use the rich Tim Stead archive (housed at The Steading) as the starting point for new scholarly or creative work, and writers, artists and musicians residencies will populate The Steading.

Working with the local community, The Steading will offer pioneering projects to link older and younger generations, to pass on practical and creative skills and to encourage responsible husbandry of the local environment. 

As one of Tim's friends wrote after his death: 'A mighty tree has been felled before its time, but Stead planted seeds for more than trees.'

This is altogether an inspiring project. Please help us to make it happen.

Help us rescue The Steading with a Valentine gift.

For the last official week of our crowdfunder, we're offering a win-win opportunity. Give your Valentine a year's Friend subscription and we will send a copy of 'With The Grain' and other benefits (feel free to donate more...).  See our Rewards - there are several to choose from. Here's the story, and there's more plus a film below:

One year, Maggy Stead came back in February to find that Tim had made this most amazing fireplace and surround (below) inspired by the Neolithic houses of Skara Brae. The ultimate Valentine's present. It's one of the iconic features of The Steading so your gift will benefit The Steading as well as your Valentine.

Help us now, and also spread the word for us!

The Steading is one of the most extraordinary houses in the country. But if we can't save it by end of February it will be sold and lost to everyone. If we can save it we will turn it into a vibrant creative centre for all of you to enjoy through our activities involving wood, the environment, and creative arts. Watch the short film at the top, or the longer 7-minute one below, or for more detailed information go to our website www.timsteadtrust to find out more.

In this 7-minute film you can see some clips of Tim himself, his work, and The Steading. Thanks to Beatrix Wood for making this film for us, and to Lev Atlas, one of our Trustees, for providing the haunting music:

Giving gets greater

We are in the final laps of our race against time. But thanks to a major benefactor who was inspired by Tim Stead's remarkable interior of Glasgow's Cafe Gandolfi, every single pound you donate will be matched. What a wonderful tribute to Tim Stead's work. So who was Tim?

Tim Stead: one of the most remarkable men I was privileged to know

Tim Stead, MBE, was a sculptor, wood artist, furniture designer and maker, photographer, poet, environmentalist, and out-of-the-box thinker. Tragically, he died in 2000 aged only 48. In his all-too-short life, he made furniture for galleries, castles, cathedrals and even for Pope John Paul II for his visit to the UK, yet it was the intuitive, untutored response of ordinary people that most excited Tim. People delighted in his work’s warm honesty and they wanted to live with it. Amongst his most well loved public works are the interior of Café Gandolfi in Glasgow, the Millennium Clock in Edinburgh and the Oil Industry Memorial chapel in Aberdeen.1610184863_cf_photo_board1.png

Tim's extraordinary home

The Steading - located in Blainslie near Lauder in the Scottish Borders – is a truly remarkable house, indeed it is Tim's masterpiece. Not because of its exterior architecture, but because its amazing interior was transformed over a period of many years into Tim's ultimate artwork; an incredible tour de force.  


The interior is completely clad in sculpted wood: floors, walls, ceilings, stairs, cupboards, towering four-poster beds, a massive grandfather clock, sink, conservatory, hanging sculptures, desks and so on – all made by Stead himself. The main house is part of a complex of buildings that comprise his workshop and some substantial outbuildings, all of which Tim adapted to some extent and stamped with his inimitable style.1610186064_cf_board_2.png

In granting an A-listed status to The Steading, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) made the salient point that, unlike many listed artists and designers’ homes (e.g. Basil Spence, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and others), Stead not only designed his interior, but made it all with his own hands, making it particularly unique.


'A mightly tree has been felled before its time, but Stead planted seeds for more than trees.'

Tim Stead’s legacy to us all is huge.  He helps us to realise the potential of wood and how this can bring out peoples' creativity, he builds links between generations, organisations, artists and businesses; he fosters our care for the environment, and his tactile work soothes us, bringing a feeling of wellbeing to all who touch it.

Bringing The Steading forward to a vibrant future

We want to use the unique asset of The Steading and its collections as the hub for a Centre for Wood Culture that will  build on Tim’s vision, bring value to the Scottish Borders, and offer the real potential for a sustainable future to support the buildings, the collection, and community-facing activities in the longer-term.

With your support in purchasing this unique and inspiring building, we will also be able to acquire Tim’s Archive and nationally-significant Collection of sculptural works free of charge, creating an inspirational environment in the Scottish Borders to encourage people of all ages to engage with creativity, wood, and the environment.

It's a race against time!

We only have a few weeks left.  If the Tim Stead Trust does not acquire The Steading, the house and all these important items will be dispersed, a unique resource potentially destroyed, and the opportunity to establish a Centre for Wood Culture for The Scottish Borders, and beyond, will be lost.

What you can do

Please donate now. And - very important -  please share this with all your friends! The Tim Stead Trust is a registered charity SCO46372 so if you are a UK taxpayer we can claim Gift Aid on your donation so please tick the box. We can also accept donations through the Charities Aid Foundation via our website. Or, if you prefer, you can make a pledge of a larger donation. If you wish to discuss this and other ways you can help, please contact us through our website and we will be delighted to engage with you.

A final word from HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay:

"Tim Stead created a place of extraordinary artistic interest at " The Steading". He was a remarkable woodcraftsman; a true and gifted artist who created wonderful furniture and sculptures. He had a unique understanding of the sustainable management of woodlands and the use of indigenous hardwoods and he did so much to encourage local sourcing and to educate people about wood and woodcraftsmanship.


"I have long admired his beautifully crafted woodwork and I can only commend the Tim Stead Trust for seeking to preserve it for public access. I hope that, once open, "The Steading" acts as a source of great inspiration to those who visit."

HRH Prince Charles

You can find more information on our website

*Terms and Conditions for Prize Draw

  • Entrants must be over 18 years of age.
  • Open to anyone (over the age of 18) worldwide except employees of the Promoters, their families, agents or anyone professionally connected with the draw.  
  • Entries will be accepted between 1700 hrs GMT on Friday 15th January 2021 and 1800 hrs GMT on Sunday 28th February 2021. 
  • Entrants may enter as many times as they like.
  • To enter, make a pledge on this project and select a reward when you make your pledge. Pledges which are donations without rewards will not be entered.
  • Entrants can pledge to this campaign without entering the prize draw.
  • To enter the draw without pledging, please send a postcard with your name, address, email address and contact telephone number to: Tim Stead Trust, The Steading, Blainslie, TD1 2PR. Entries must be sent on a postcard or on or within an envelope. Entries received on anything other than a postcard or envelope will not be accepted. In the case of multiple entries received in a single envelope or postcard, only one entry will be entered into the promotion. Entries sent by post must be received by the closing date and time for receipt of entries. Postal entries without correct and sufficient postage paid will be invalid and will not be considered. Personal and hand deliveries will not be accepted.
  • Following the closing date, the winner will be chosen at random and contacted before 1st September 2021. They will be contacted by email on how to claim their prize. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours of the initial email being sent, the next winner will be chosen at random and emailed within 1 week.
  • The winner will be sent their prize(s) before January 2022.
  • By entering this draw, all entrants consent to the use of their personal data by the Promoter only for the purposes of the administration of this draw and any other purposes to which the entrant has consented.
  • The Promoter will keep entrants' personal details for a reasonable time so that it can send any prize that an entrant has won, to verify that these rules have been complied with, and for accounting purposes. 
  • The Promoter may disqualify any entrant whose entry does not comply with these terms and conditions (in Promoter’s sole opinion) or who, in Promoter’s sole determination, has acted in a manner that is fraudulent, dishonest or unjust to other entrants including, without limitation, tampering with the operation of the prize draw, manipulating or rigging votes, hacking, deceiving, cheating or by harassing or threatening other entrants or a representative of Promoter.
  • The Promoter is The Tim Stead Trust (Registered charity SCO46372) The Steading, Galashiels TD1 2PR, UK.  
  • These terms and conditions are governed by Scottish law and the courts of Scotland will have exclusive jurisdiction.
  • By entering into this draw, each entrant consents to these terms and conditions.


This project offered rewards

£30 or more

Valentine special - one week only

Treat yourself or your Valentine to a one year 'Friend's of Tim Stead Trust' subscription. They will receive a copy of 'With the Grain' - a wonderful appreciation of Tim Stead's work. Plus you are entered into the Prize Draw for a Tim Stead sculpture and you receive our newsletters and invitations to events. We will contact you afterwards to find out who is the recipient. Due to covid, we won't be able to send them out for the 14th.

£25 or more

Prize Draw to win an original Tim Stead sculpture

Everyone donating £25 or more will be entered into a Prize Draw. All the names will be put into the Tim Stead cradle at The Steading (you can see it in the 7 minute film), then mixed well, and one lucky recipient will be drawn at random to win an original Tim Stead sculpture to cherish for ever. (You can also enter the competition for free by post. See terms and conditions below*)

£100 or more

A copy of 'Tim Stead: Object maker and seed-sower'

A copy of 'Tim Stead: object maker and seed sower. A stylish limited edition book produced for a retrostective exhibition of Tim's work that toured the country.

£250 or more

A very special limited edition of 'Towers'

A copy of 'Towers' - a limited edition book of Tim Stead's poetry and photography. It was published by Tim's wife Maggy after his death when she found a whole treasure trove of his poems and photographs.

£500 or more

You become a Patron of the Trust with its benefits

You become a Patron. You are given all the other rewards, and in addition we will make a wooden book with your name (or it could be in memory of someone else) engraved onto it. This will sit on our bookshelf of Patrons at The Steading. You also receive an invitation to our opening celebration in late summer or autumn. During covid it takes longer than usual to get the books engraved, but they are happening, and our bookshelf is filling up.

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