Praise for “cultural gem’ as Alex Neil sees first hand how historic halls are being brought back to life

Monday, April 26 2010
     
THE campaign to save Maryhill's historic Burgh Halls took a major step forward today.
132 years to the day after the Halls were opened, Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil visited the ongoing £9.2 million restoration project, which will breathe new life into the iconic Halls and save them for the community.  
Alex Neil and Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust Chair Irene Scott, with reproductions of two of the stained glass panels in the background

The Minister's visit follows a contribution from the Scottish Government's Town Centre Regeneration Fund of £1.8 million - the largest single piece of funding in the £9.2 million total.
Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust raised this remarkable sum to secure a bright future for the treasured halls and in doing so recapture the splendour of one of the city's best loved buildings. Work began in November 2009 and will be completed in May 2011.
 
Maryhill Burgh Halls were the seat of municipal government in the days when Maryhill was a Burgh. They were built in 1878 and designed by renowned architect Duncan McNaughtan, but have lain derelict for the past eight years and are listed on the buildings at risk register.
Once restored, the Halls will include a modern public hall, cafe, 11 offices, a commercial and a community recording studio, a nursery, meeting rooms and courtyard garden. 
While at Maryhill the Minister signed a steel beam which forms part of structural steelwork which is ongoing at present.
More than 5 years hard work has been put into developing proposals for the project. The Board of the Trust, which comprises local people and representatives from partners Maryhill Housing Association, Cube Housing Association and Glasgow City Council have worked tirelessly to deliver the restoration.
Funding of the project has come from the following sources: 
Scottish Government City Growth Fund Phases 1 and 2    £1.25m 
Heritage Lottery Fund    £990,000
Big Lottery - Growing Community Assets Fund     £980,910
European Regional Development Funding    £1.279m 
Glasgow City Council Better Glasgow Fund     £1.02m
Glasgow City Council Vacant and Derelict Land Fund     £650,000
Scottish Government Town Centre Regeneration Fund     £1.8m
Historic Scotland     £500,000
Scottish Government Housing and Regeneration Directorate    £750,000
The Robertson Trust      £28,000
The outstanding architectural appeal and historic merit of the Halls is further enhanced by a unique series of stained glass panels depicting the trades and industries of Maryhill in the late 19th century and which are currently in the city archives.
The restoration will also see a significant collection of these 20 windows, which were taken out for safe keeping in 1963, returned to the Burgh Halls.
Facsimile of the Steel Moulders panel, showing where in the Halls the stained glass was originally displayed
Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said: “The £60 million Town Centre Regeneration Fund has succeeded in encouraging dynamic public and private sector organisations to get involved in regeneration projects that will have a lasting and widespread effect. 
“The refurbishment of the Maryhill Burgh Halls will restore an invaluable cultural asset in Glasgow, upgrading it as a place for the local community to meet and socialise. 
“It has a rich artistic history and I hope that with this funding, it will once again take its place as one of Scotland's cultural gems.”
Hunter Reid, Project Co-ordinator and Company Secretary of the Trust, said: 
“All of the Board Members of the Trust are delighted with the progress of the works on site and would like to say a huge thank you to all of the funders, the project team and everyone else who has given their support to the project. We are all very much looking forward to the Halls opening in May 2011. 
“Everyone who is interested in following the development of the project through to completion can view progress and comment on the project on the Trust's new website at www.maryhillburghhalls.org.uk
Meanwhile, the contractor for the project Graham Construction is intending to maximise employment opportunities within the local community by creating two apprenticeships in joinery to work on the Halls’ restoration during the next few months
ends
Notes to Journalists: 
This news release is issued on behalf of Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust by Ross Wilson Public Relations www.rosswilsonpr.com - PR Consultants to the Trust. Further information is available from Ross Wilson on 07768 280021 at any time
e mail: ross@rosswilsonpr.com
A selection of images of the Halls are available.