New Galloway will officially re-open the doors to its historic Town Hall on 21st October following a £450,000 renovation project supported by local and national funders.
A Grand Opening Concert, titled ‘A Time and a Place’, will feature music from the Glenkens performed by the Catstrand Singers. Guests will be joined by local Cubs and pupils from Kells Primary to place items in a Time Capsule to be sealed behind a false wall under the Town Hall’s stairs. The capsule will contain writings, photographs, mementos, special edition memorabilia and historic artefacts, which together create a picture of 21st century life in Scotland’s smallest Royal Burgh.
The refurbishment commenced in 2022 with funding from public and third sector organisations including The Community Ownership Fund, Glenkens and District Trust, and the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership. The current B-Listed building with its distinctive clocktower dates from 1875, when an 18th-century tolbooth was rebuilt and enlarged. As the Town Hall for the Council of the smallest royal burgh in Scotland, the building has more recently been used as a community venue. The renovation project was coordinated by Local Initiatives for New Galloway (LING), the charity that took asset transfer of the building from Dumfries and Galloway Council in 2022.
Having faced down challenges ranging from dry rot to Covid lockdown the Town Hall has been fully and sympathetically restored, bringing to life unique features like the Victorian Moral Maxims painted around the Upper Hall walls. The exterior rendering and paint work has been restored and the 150-year-old clock has had a thorough MOT. At the same time the building has been brought into the modern age with the installation of a lift and disabled toilets. Additional support from the Scottish Government’s Let’s Do Net Zero Fund has enabled the building to become more environmentally-friendly, with carbon and energy saving measures that include secondary glazing and an air source heat pump.
‘A Time and a Place’ is expected to draw attendees from across the Glenkens and beyond for an afternoon packed with entertainment, which also marks the relaunch of the Town Hall’s programme of classes, activities and social events. Zumba, indoor bowling and the popular LING Lunches are already being advertised to book or drop in as the building returns to its historic position as New Galloway’s community hub. LING Trustees and volunteers are keen to spread the word that the Town Hall is a fully accessible venue that belongs to the community, with potential to reduce isolation, improve wellbeing, and build on the connectedness of rural life.
Chair of LING, Barbara Barker, says, “From start to finish New Galloway’s Town Hall project has been community-led and supported by an incredible diversity of partners and funders. We’re delighted to extend this invitation to our Grand Opening Concert which, with the sealing of the Town Hall Time Capsule, will be a once-in-a-generation event. We’ve called the concert ‘A Time and a Place’ because we want to capture past and present in a space that is a source of real pride to local people, and celebrate the fact that the Town Hall will be a landmark for generations to come.”
Tickets to the New Galloway’s ‘A Time and a Place’ Town Hall Grand Opening on 21st October are bookable via Eventbrite: [https://tinyurl.com/4kay6epj]. Alternatively, please contact LING’s Community Inclusion Officer, Jackie Wells on 07749 249781.