Lanark Memorial Hall reopened in June 2013 following the successful completion of a £5.6M capital project to extend and refurbish the venue. The Hall was constructed in 1925 as a memorial to the 232 men from the area who lost their lives in the First World War and are commemorated in Hall of Memory at the entrance to the building. The Hall had undergone a number of ‘ improvements’ over the years but by the early 2000s was no longer fit for purpose and was closed in 2008 pending refurbishment. Luckily the opportunity was taken to take a radical look at the options for extension and improvement as well as refurbishment of the grade B listed building. The project was developed in partnership with the local group Cargill House Club which had been established in 1968 to provide services for older people. The new build extension was constructed on the site of the original Cargill Club building which was demolished at the start of the project. This coterminous building previously had no links to the Hall but including the site within the overall project allowed a far more sustainable model for incorporating the needs of the Cargill Club within the cartilage of the Refurbished Hall so allowing spaces to used more efficiently. As part of the project , South Lanarkshire Council also worked in partnership with South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Ltd, Royal Burgh of Lanark Museum Trust and local schools to develop ‘the story of Lanark’ which is represented by a wall canvass and electronic information kiosk within area adjacent to the war memorial. The Museum Trust continue their involvement by providing artefacts that are displayed in cabinets within the building. South Lanarkshire Council carried out extensive consultation exercises with the community, user groups etc to determine the requirements for the project and to assist in relocation of functions during the period of refurbishment. The project included extensive repairs to the historic external and internal fabric of the building and in our opinion the new build has been successfully integrated into the old. The Hall is now a flagship venue for the people of Lanark and the surrounding area and provides: a new accessible entrance and booking office, café facilities, meeting rooms for the Cargill Club, a multi purpose facility that can accommodate a wide variety of community groups as well as a venue for attracting nationally profiled performing arts.
Lanark and District Civic Trust is delighted to nominate this project. During the process of consultation and construction there was much criticism within the community about the delays, however, we now have a very successful venue that far exceeds many peoples expectations and is proving to be very successful in attracting almost a 100,000 users in the first year far above initial targets. Without the Council sticking with the more difficult option of incorporating the Cargill Club we would not have had the wonderful facility we have today. The project experienced a number of significant difficulties during the currency of the project. The existing Hall was no longer fit for purpose but was constrained by surrounding buildings. By negotiation and agreement with the Cargill Club the site of their building, which was also no longer fit for purpose, was able to be incorporated into the design of the overall project. This led to significant legal issues as well as unforeseen structural issues but these were overcome. The overall project incorporating the site and function of the Cargill Club has added a new dimension to inclusion, sustainability and function of the new facility. Additionally there were problems of weather delays over the harsh winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 as well as the very wet summer of 2012. Despite these issues the finished product has been completed to a high standard and the existing internal and external fabric of the Hall has been carefully and tastefully restored. In particular the incorporation of the site of the Cargill Club has allowed for an appropriately accessible and inviting entrance to the facility. The inclusion of the Cargill Club also has improved the mix of users which is much more inclusive because of the design. The involvement of the Museum Trust and schools has, for the first time, allowed the history of the Town and the Hall to be interpreted as well as the display of artefacts for continuing educational purposes. After opening of the facility The staff actively engaged with the community to promote and encourage the use of the facility. This is now paying dividends. The new facilities have had a very positive impact on the local community with many more shows, groups etc being able to use the facilities. This is not just because the physical spaces are appropriate but because of the new management style which is much more of a joint venture approach with local groups. This has allowed groups to have free rehearsal time on the basis of sharing the proceeds of the entrance money and the power of joint promotion through South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Ltd. This model has proved very successful in generating use significantly above initial forecasts so ensuring the sustainability for the future. For video of the completed facility see you tube Lanark Memorial Hall.