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Poor Grant Lodge

A Short History of Grant Lodge

B-Listed and Designed by Robert Adam

Grant Lodge is a B-listed building situated in Cooper Park.

It was built between 1766 and 1790, to a design by the great Scottish Architect Robert Adam. It is now the only Adam building left in Moray.

It was built for Sir James Grant, who was the Moray MP and who also became one of the leading improvers in the North of Scotland in 1820.

The Grant Raid

During the bitter election in that same year, 1820, two Grant supporters on the town council were kidnapped and sent across the Firth in boats to prevent them from voting! By the time they got back to Elgin, it was too late and the vote was cast!

The Lodge was then the focal point for a major clan rising; the last ever to take place in Scotland. This little known fact is, in itself, a story worth hearing about!

To read the full story of the Grant Raid, click here.


In the 1800s the Lodge was extended and, in 1899, was sold to Sir George Cooper, an Elgin Lawyer.

Park & Library

In 1903, Sir George Cooper gave the Lodge and its grounds in a Deed of Gift for the benefit of the people of Elgin.

The grounds became the Cooper Park and the Lodge was the public library.

Watch a silent film of the opening day here.

It continued this way until 1996, when Grant Lodge was deemed not fit for the purpose of being a public library.

The library was then moved to its present location in the old Drill Hall and the Lodge was used as an heritage centre which housed many old documents about Moray.

The Fire

On Saturday the 26th of July, 2003, the lodge went on fire (as these things tend to do)! Most of the damage, however, was caused by the water used to extinguish the blaze.

At this point, the Council simply boarded it up and did nothing! That was and is a scandal!

The fire damage was not significant; you would be surprised at how good the condition of the interior is!

Many of the old documents were sent for restoration to Edinburgh and others were sent for storage in Aberdeen and Inverness where the Moray Council still has to pay for this service.


Since then, the Lodge has been boarded-up, unoccupied and left to deteriorate.

Various plans and feasibility studies over the years identified potential uses, however, none came to fruition.

There was a fully-costed development plan drawn up prior to 2013, incorporating registrar, function room, heritage centre and purpose built archive.

The plan was ready to go and ALL of the funding had been secured when the Council backed out for purely political reasons.

This was a total dereliction of the Council’s duty of care as the trustees of Grant Lodge!