Grants awarded for improvements to Penicuik Town Hall

Friday September 25th 2020


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Improvement work to historic Penicuik Town Hall is to be funded by grants of £601,180 from the Scottish Government Town Centre Capital Fund and £106,233 from the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project.

The funding will be used to restore the exterior of the building and to install a new energy efficient heating system and Wi-Fi throughout the community facility.

The work, which is due to start during October this year, will include improvements to the stonework and roof, mortar repointing and restoring architectural details and rainwater pipes.

Solar panels will be fitted on the rear roofs of the Town Hall to supply renewable energy, and a new combined heat and power plant will replace the existing boilers. Work has also been carried out to provide Wi-Fi coverage to meet user needs.

The total cost of the external restoration is £398,610, funded by grants of £106,233 from the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project and £292,337 from the Scottish Government Town Centre Capital Fund. The cost of the WiFi, renewable energy and heating work is £308,803, funded by the Scottish Government Town Centre Capital Fund.

Councillor Russell Imrie, Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, welcomed the funding announcement:

“I am delighted that we have secured two substantial grants to ensure that this important building continues to serve the needs of the local community in Penicuik,” said Councillor Imrie. “The installation of renewable energy is an excellent initiative which will help us meet our targets on climate change and hopefully provide an example for others to follow. I also hope that this work will provide a stimulus for the owners of other buildings that are eligible for grant aid in Penicuik to come forward and take advantage of the opportunity currently on offer.”

Recognised as an important historic building, prominently located in the High Street, Penicuik Town Hall was originally known as the Cowan Institute. It was built with funds provided by Alexander Cowan, one of the founders of Alexander Cowan & Son, papermakers of Penicuik. The foundation stone for the building was laid in 1893.

Campbell, Douglas & Morrison of Glasgow were engaged as architects, with local firm James Tait contracted to carry out the work. The building is designed in the Scottish Baronial Style, using a red free-stone from the Moat Quarry near Carlisle. It was built in 18 months at a cost of £5,000.

The town hall has been used by the community over the years, with internal alterations made when it became the main office of Penicuik Town Council in the late 1950’s. In 1975 the Town Council ceased to exist and the building was passed to Midlothian District Council and, at local government reorganisation 21 years later, to Midlothian Council.

The Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project is a 5-year scheme aimed at regenerating the historic core of Penicuik through historic building grants, improvements to public areas and an extensive education, training and engagement programme. It is funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Midlothian Council and supported by the Penicuik Community Development Trust, Penicuik First and Penicuik and District Community Council.

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