Cove Burgh Hall


Architect or lead designer:

James Chalmer, 1893

Local Authority Area:

Argyll & Bute

Nominating Body:

Cove and Kilcreggan Community Council

Project Description

COVE Burgh Hall is run by the community, for the community and is very much a social centre for the people of Cove and Kilcreggan. The Hall is owned by “Cove Burgh Hall”, a charitable company set up by the community in 2001 to buy the Hall from Argyll and Bute Council. The company’s objectives for the Hall are to: make it the vibrant, focal hub “soul” of the communities of Cove, Kilcreggan and the wider Rosneath Peninsula in terms of adding distinct value to the everyday social and cultural lives and wellbeing of local residents; to contribute important social, cultural and recreational value to the lives of local people, inclusive of all social groups, within a well maintained, quality physical infrastructure; to ensure that the range of activities hosted within the Hall are as socially and financially inclusive as possible; to manage and operate the Hall as a charity recognising the need to be financially sustainable while giving priority to social objectives over commercial; to provide a venue to allow the effective interface of local organisations and national public agencies with the community; and to act as custodian responsible for the conservation and improvement of the physical structure of the building to ensure a safe, welcoming and warm quality venue for the range of Hall activities. The Hall was the brainchild of Charles Cayzer, owner of the Clan shipping line who had a summer residence in Cove, and who, as Provost, initiated its building in 1891. It was designed by Glasgow architect James Chalmers and was opened to the public as the “village” hall in 1893. By 1999 however it’s condition had deteriorated quite badly and Argyll & Bute Council advised the community it would have to be closed because of the high maintenance and running costs and low usage by the community. The community came together to stop the closure however and formed a charitable company “Cove Burgh Hall” that then bought the Hall from the council in 2001 for the princely sum of £1. As a community asset, the Hall has grown from strength to strength. As at 2014, some £180,000 had been spent on upgrading facilities (50% from fundraising efforts and 50% from grants) and the Hall is now a warm, clean and welcoming facility. It is extensively used by the local community and continues to host numerous fundraising activities. Extensive renovation works have already been undertaken but this year the Burgh Hall group plans to have the outside walls repointed to prevent water ingress and to begin fund raising for a new major project bringing the hall into the 21st century by making the whole building fit for use for everyone with the installation of a lift to the upper floor where the community runs its own public library. The Cove Burgh Hall company is run entirely by unpaid volunteers.

Supporting Statement

COVE Burgh Hall is very much the heart of Cove and Kilcreggan not only as a beautiful historic building but as the social centre of a very vibrant community which was very nearly lost. It is home to more than 40 village groups catering for all ages and interests and the venue for a wide ranging programme of social events from live theatre and concerts to the Hogmanay Ball and charity fund raising events including the annual flower show and the Sea Change Festival. When the Trust was set up to take the hall over from Argyll & Bute Council there was a real risk of it being lost to the community altogether such was the dire state of its fabric. A huge amount of work has been undertaken, much of it by a team of skilled volunteers from the community, which has secured the hall for the villages. However, much still needs to be done to make it totally fit for purpose in the 21st Century - most particularly urgent work on the frontage and the installation of a lift to provide access to the upstairs facilities and library - fundraising is a constant process. The Burgh Hall Trust is about to launch a fundraising campaign to carry out an extensive programme or renovation and innovation and the Community Council believes that involvement in the My Place Awards can only help with that, ensuring the Hall's continued vital role in the life of Cove and Kilcreggan for generations to come. The benefit to Cove and Kilcreggan of the retention and preservation of the Burgh Hall is huge. It is the glue that holds the communities together providing a meeting place and social centre where all age groups can mingle. The existence of the Burgh Hall and its constant kaleidoscope of attractions plays a large role in helping to retain the population, encouraging many of the young people to come back after their further education and set up home and families, its also ensures that the elderly need never feel isolated and the young mums have access to peer support and early learning. Since the Trust was set up Argyll & Bute Council have closed the only other public hall in the village as well as the public library. However, Cove and Kilcreggan Library carries on in the Burgh Hall as a Community Library, run by village people for village people. Cove Burgh Hall and the people who give freely of their time to ensure its upkeep and preservation deserve the recognition that a My Place Award would give. They provide a beacon of hope for other small communities whose public buildings are under threat in these dire financial times.