ONE of the west of Scotland’s most iconic buildings will begin a new era in the new year.

Kirkintilloch Town Hall is opening its doors again after a major multi-million pound restoration, rejuvenation and extension project.

The B-listed building will be a centre for heritage, arts, culture and community use - blending past, present and future.

Pride of place will be a painting by Kirkintilloch artist Dick Stevenson, who recalls the hall’s ‘old days’.

He says: “I went to a number of things in the town hall and remember it being used for various events in the 1950s and 60s, when it was in its heyday.

“I tried to paint a mixture of people going into the town hall, people of all ages, as a depiction of how it was used.”

The oil-on-canvas painting was commissioned by the late Pam McGaughrin, who campaigned for years to have the building reopened and was a leading light in the Kirkintilloch Town Hall Preservation Trust.

Pam’s husband Eddy McGaughrin, former elected member of East Dunbartonshire Council and Kirkintilloch Town Council, says: “It’s beautiful. It really is a work of art. Pam would have loved it.”

The £5.5m renovation project, funded by East Dunbartonshire Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government, will include a new main hall, offering flexible auditorium and events space with a potential capacity for 300 people; an extension containing a smaller town hall, a reception and offices; a reproduction ceiling moulded from original designs and a proscenium arch and new flooring throughout.

The external stonework has been repaired and restored, and the original stained glass window has been preserved from the original building and will be re-installed.

The Council worked with development partner hub West Scotland, Central Building Contractors, East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust and Michael Laird Architects to develop the design.

The new building will include an industrial heritage display and flexible exhibition and activity on the first floor, celebrating the heritage of Kirkintilloch and its people.

EDLC Trust will be providing a programme of co-curated exhibitions with local groups as part of the Made in Kirkintilloch project.

The building will be open from early 2018, with an official opening being held later in the year.

Councillor Gordan Low, Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, explains: “A new era is dawning for Kirkintilloch Town Hall, which has been rejuvenated and extended after major works.

“It was important that the town hall was restored while retaining as many original architectural and heritage details as possible. Well done to all involved.”

The completed town hall forms part of a wider Heritage Quarter in Kirkintilloch which also includes Peel Park, the Auld Kirk Museum/Barony Chambers, and William Patrick Library and Archives.

Kirkintilloch has a rich industrial past - from the Lion Foundry and its iconic red telephone boxes to the world-famous Puffers which once sailed the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Sandy Marshall, Chair of EDLC Trust, said, “The flexibility of the new-look town hall is key - allowing it to be used for cultural events, community meetings, weddings, commercial lets and more.

“As well as being a first-class venue, the town hall will raise awareness of Kirkintilloch’s historic past and heritage.

“Made in Kirkintilloch is an exciting project which aims to provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of the town - engaging with individuals, groups and schools across the community to uncover a treasure trove of information and objects.”

In fact, CBC discovered artefacts on site during the construction process - including a Roman nail and a piece of pre-glaze Roman Samian ware - both potentially dating back to around 160AD or earlier.