A Scottish antiques specialist faces eviction from land that has been in his family for 60 years – because he doesn’t run his business of Restoring Victorian dining chairs and antique chests there.
To Preston residents, Jeremy Gow must live an idyllic life, split between his antiques Restoration business in Angus and his highland croft overlooking the spectacular Rabbit Islands in the far north of Scotland. However, he now faces losing the four acres of land surrounding his cottage because he cannot make a living from it.
Gow has fallen foul of a crofting act introduced by the Crofting Commission, in which absentee tenants and owner occupiers can be evicted. The law defines an absentee as:
“A crofter who is not ordinarily resident within 32 kilometres of the croft.”
However, Gow – whose work includes restoring antique marquetry furniture on behalf of Historic Scotland – claims the act is a modern take on the Highland clearances of the 18th and 19th Century. He claims he is being penalised because, like many 21st Century crofters, he cannot make a living from working the land, pointing out that he makes regular visits to his croft as well as having business interests nearby.
“I am a Scot, who is losing his land. I am up there a lot of the time, but I can’t run my antiques business from there.”
If an antique dealer in Preston needs a Victorian balloon back dining chair restoring, the chances are someone like Jeremy Gow will be doing the work, bringing the antiques back up to a condition fit for sale.
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