When Maryhill Burgh Halls first opened in 1878, two silver keys were specially made to mark the occasion.
Astonishingly, over 133 years later, one of the original keys has turned up out of the blue!
In April 1878, the Glasgow Herald said that:
"the company assembled in front of the entrance to the Public Hall, where Bailie Murray presented Provost Robertson with a silver key, with which the Provost opened the hall door and invited the company to enter. [...]
The silver keys presented to Provost Robertson and ex-Provost Shaw were formed so as to be suitable for fish-slicers, and were supplied by Mr Sorley, jeweller, Argyll Street." 
 

Irene Scott, Chair of Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust said: "We were stunned when the Robertsons got in touch out of the blue, to say that not only were they descended from Provost James Robertson, but that they still had the silver key in their possession. We're delighted to be able to welcome Andrew Robertson, the great-great-grandson of Provost Robertson to Maryhill, and give him a sneak peak of the refurbished and restored Halls."
Andrew Robertson, who inherited the key, said: "We'd been researching our family history, and the connection to Maryhill and the Burgh Halls is one we're very proud of. There are branches of the family in Canada and the US, as well as South Africa and England, and we're hoping to have a reunion back in Maryhill in the Spring.
The reopening of the Halls is a really exciting venture and one in which I - and probably several other relations - would welcome to take part.  Five generations on, we have the opportunity to bring the key back to where it started - as a part of the heritage of Maryhill."
Gordon Barr, Heritage Development Officer for the Trust said: "It's fantastic that this silver key has turned up! We'd always hoped that it still existed somewhere - plus, I'd always wondered how a key could also be in the shape of a fish-slice, and now we know! It is a stunningly beautiful object, and an important part of the history of Maryhill.
We know there was also a second key, gifted to the former Provost of the Burgh James Shaw - so if any of his descendents are reading this, please get in touch!
We're also keen to hear from anyone else that has any memories, or particularly old photos or mementoes of the Burgh Halls  - did you get married there, or go to a dance? We'd love to be able to display more of the rich history of the area in the Halls when we re-open.
Please get in touch with us via email on info@mbht.org.uk or ring 0845 860 1878.
The Grand Re-opening of the Halls will be held in April next year - to tie in with the anniversary of the original opening in 1878 - when the silver key, and hopefully the Robertson family, will be in attendance to help officially declare the restored Halls fully open!

 

The 133 year old buildings, which contained 20 stained glass windows designed by Stephen Adam in 1878 depicting the trades of Maryhill, have undergone an over £9 million restoration project, which will breathe new life into the iconic Halls, save them for the community and create a thriving centre for local people and business use.  The restoration work began in November 2009. Maryhill Burgh Halls Trust raised this remarkable sum to secure a bright future for the treasured Halls and in so doing recapture the splendour of one of the city's best loved buildings. In November 2010, the project was awarded a prize for best contribution to Urban Regeneration in Scotland through the use of European Structural Funds.

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 garden courtyard.  The contractor for the project, Graham Construction, has secured employment opportunities within the local community by creating three apprenticeships in joinery to work on the Halls restoration.

The Funders for the project are: European Regional Development Funding , Scottish Government City Growth Fund Phases 1 and 2, Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery - Growing Community Assets Fund, Glasgow City Council Better Glasgow Fund, Glasgow City Council Vacant and Derelict Land Fund, Scottish Government Town Centre Regeneration Fund,  Historic Scotland, Scottish Government Wider Role Fund, The Robertson Trust.

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