Greenlaw Town Hall has won an architectural award for re-use of a Georgian building.
The regeneration project, which was completed earlier this year, was recognised by the Georgian Group 2011 awards at a ceremony in London last month, where the winners were announced by Viscount Linley.
Adam Dudley, the architect for the Greenlaw project, received the award on behalf of Scottish Historic Buildings Trust.
He said: “After working on the project for more than 15 years, we are delighted that our endeavours have been appreciated, not only by the local community who now have their town hall back in use, but also by the wider architectural community.”
The Architectural Awards recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects in the United Kingdom and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes.
Prior to this project starting on site, Greenlaw Town Hall had been a Building at Risk since 2001, and was unsafe for public access. The project priorities were to bring the building into a good state of repair, to secure its future at the heart of the local community, and as a catalyst for local economic regeneration.
The pavilions have been converted into much needed affordable office accommodation and the hall is now a flexible community venue. The building is once again the proud centerpiece elevated on the village green.
Scottish Historic Buildings Trust’s chairman and trustee John Campbell QC, said: “The SHBT is very pleased for Adam Dudley and all the teams who worked so hard on this difficult project.
“Having pulled Greenlaw Town Hall back from the brink of near demolition, we are sure that it will stand for another century as a memorable testimony to the value of rescuing our important historic buildings and turning them to excellent beneficial use for the communities where they are situated. That is what building preservation trusts are all about “
The Category A listed building was built in 1831 to designs by Berwickshire-born architect John Cunningham as the Courthouse for Berwickshire.
The town hall is regarded as Cunningham’s most successful design, although he went on to build a number of significant public buildings in Liverpool.
Financed by a local landowner, Sir John Purves Hume Campbell, and constructed by a local builder, William Waddell, using local stone, Greenlaw Town Hall was a proud emblem for the village, which held the status of county town for over 200 years (1696-1904).
In 1902 Greenlaw lost county town status and since then the old town hall has had various uses.
Duns replaced Greenlaw as the county town of Berwickshire in 1904, and the town hall became a community hall.
In 1973 the building briefly became a swimming pool, then a local antique dealer’s sales room, until becoming empty in 1998. During the Second World War it was a billet for Polish soldiers.
Elevated on the village green, Greenlaw Town Hall is an intrinsic part of Greenlaw’s history and identity. But prior to its regeneration in 2010, the building was in danger of demolition after falling into a state of disrepair.
In the last decade, the dereliction had become obvious and a dangerous building notice was served. Greenlaw Town Hall was a Building at Risk on the Register, and despite being the centre piece of the town, there was a real chance that the building would be demolished.
It was saved by a unique partnership approach between Scottish Heritage Building Trust, who now own the building, Scottish Borders Council, and a local land owner.
Following a £1.8 million repair and alteration project, which was completed earlier this year, Greenlaw Town Hall was re-opened in May by Prince Charles.
The project has achieved the creation of office units in the two pavilions which are now available for businesses to let, as well as the repair and redecoration of the magnificent main and entrance halls.
There had been previous attempts to save the hall before the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust stepped in. In the late 1990s, a community trust was established, but was unable to develop a tenable project over 12 years.
Since 1993 Adam Dudley Architects (ADA) have carried out various scheme proposals, alongside emergency repairs and holding measures,
The building reached the final of the BBC 2 series Restoration in 2007, but no monies were forthcoming.
It was then that the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT) got involved, and with support from Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and a local landowner, they were successful in raising the £1.85 million needed to restore the building to its former glory, from a variety of sources and in a very tight time frame.
This reinvigorated campaign enabled ADA to apply their architectural and conservation expertise to make the most of the building within the funding available. The external fabric has been fully repaired, with new roofs to the pavilions and replacement of all unsound stonework. Intermediate floors have been sensitively inserted into the pavilions to maximise the usable space. The result is a repaired historic building with modern internal fit-out, providing flexible office accommodation and community facilities.
Now, after fifteen years of dereliction and decay, the building is once again standing proud as the village landmark.