Building Of The Hall

From Moriston Matters, Issue 5, February 1978.

“A Public Meeting of the people of Invermoriston was held in the School on Thursday, 11th Aug. 1927 at 9pm to consider the advisability of steps being taken to raise funds for the erection of a Public Hall in Invermoriston to take the place of the Comrades Hall recently destroyed". With these historic words the Hall Minute Book 1927-47 records the setting into motion of the process which would lead to the erection of the present Glenmoriston Public Hall. And set into motion too were the local dignitaries in whose civic hands the project was entrusted. They were:-

Captain Grant of Glenmoriston; (Chairman),
Mrs Grant of Glenmoriston;
Mr Kydd, The Hotel; Mrs Kydd, The Hotel;
Mrs. A.D. Grant, Craigian;
Mr. W. Chisholm, The Shop;
Mr. D. MacDonald, The Pier;
Mr. J. MacEwan, Forestry Hut;
Mr Pollock, Schoolhouse;
Rev. A. MacNeill; and
Mr. A. D. Grant, Estate Office, (Secretary and Treasurer).

Fund-raising was, of course, of paramount importance. As a first step,each member of the 11Ways and Means" Committee, a s it was called, set himself or herself to “endeavour" to raise £10 from among his or her friends, none to be collected locally. An "Entertainments" sub-committee, consisting of Mr. Chisholm, Mrs. Kydd and Mrs. Grant, Craigian, under the chairmanship of Mr. MacEwan,was formed to organise a dance. (This was held in the Hall at Invermoriston Mains on Friday, 26th August,1927, and realised the sum of £20 - 13/-). 'And then, in this preliminary stage of fund-raising, the Territorial Force Association, |the National Council of Social Service and the Forestry Commission were approached for financial assistance, it being pointed out to them that the erection of a Public Hall in Invermoriston "would tend to improve the social life of the district". The first two bodies named declined to assist; whether, or not, the Forestry Commission did is not clear.

About the same time a "Building” or "Works" sub-committee was formed, comprising: Mr. Kydd, Mr. Chisholm, Mr. D. MacDonald and the Chairman and Secretary as ex-officio members. By the 17th September,1927, a Plan 'B' was adopted as a suitable type of building, at an estimated cost of between £340 and £400. Following what must have been lengthy discussion and negotiation, the contract for the erection of the Hall, the building to be of the "expanded metal type", was awarded to Mr. Norman Smart of Inverness.

Meantime, fund-raising was being continued apace. The possibility of a Free Gift Sale was discussed, and it was decided to arrange a door-to-door collection. Lady Cooper of Ceannacroc was mooted as a likely subscriber and it was resolved to send a "suitable letter" to "Her Ladyship".

By December the l0th, 1927, a site had been selected and negotiated for, and the go-ahead given to clear the site and prepare the foundations as soon as the "Building Committee considered it safe to do cement and concrete work".

So far, the sum of £124-13-0 had been collected and approximately £85 had been further promised and would be paid to the Hall Fund after the building operation had commenced. At this point, Captain Grant intimated that in the event of the necessary funds not being raised Glenmoriston Estates Ltd, if approached, probably would be willing to contribute towards the fund.

By the 26th September,1928, the question of securing chairs and forms and installing lighting was being dealt with, and negotiations had been entered into with Mr. J. Paterson, Fort Augustus, regarding the cost of putting in “lavatories".

A perennial problem, that of spiralling costs, now reared its head: in October,1928, it was found that even in spite of a donation of £150 from Glenmoriston Estates Ltd., a further £300 plus was required to complete the Hall in a "moderate" way. But Sir Alexander Grant, Bart. of Logie, whose forebears came from Glenmoriston, had promised to contribute "whatever sum Captain Grant found was required to complete the hall and make it comfortable for future use", and accordingly he was asked for a donation of £400. Altogether, it would seem that the erection of the Hall, its furnishing, lighting (by Petromax lamps), installation of water (hand-pumped from St. Columba's Well) and toilets cost about £600.

The Hall was officially opened on Friday, 5th October, 1928, the occasion of an opening ceremony and grand dance, It must have been a memorable evening as the extracts from "The Inverness Courier" on the following page testify.

Towards the close of that year, a draft constitution was deliberated on and after "several alterations thereto" had been effected a fourteen clause Constitution of the Glenmoriston Public Hall was approved.

On the 15th December,1928, a caretaker, at an "annual salary of Ten Pounds, payable in equal sums of Five Pounds each half year" was appointed. There had been six applicants, now reduced to a leet of three: William MacDonald, Blacksmith, William MacKenzie, Invermoriston Pier and Donald MacDonald, Redpark. Donald MacDonald was appointed and took up his duties on the 17th December, 1928,

A meeting of Householders elected as the Hall's first Committee of Management, the members of the Committee of Ways and Means who had erected it.

The first A .G.M., the original Committee still in office was held on the 10th August, 1929; at the last A.G.M. held on 16th January, 1979, the following were re-elected to serve on the "Committee of Management":

Mr. Pat MacDonald (Chairman), Mr. J. E. Grant of Glenmoriston, |Mr Ian Grant, the Rev. Peter Fraser, and Mr Gordon Cowie (all trustees) and Messrs. A. Nairn, J. Service, P. Stoddart, Mrs. M. E. Fraser and Mrs. Anne Douglas (Sec'y).

(We extend our gratitude to the Hall Committee for making available the relevant Minute Book. Ed.)