Prestonpans Town Hall will host re-enactments and activities as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations

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Prestonpans Victorian Town Hall, now a museum, celebrates 125 years since the opening ceremony took place in the hall.

And next weekend, residents will have the chance to relive the events of its first day, with the original speeches to be delivered from the same platform.

Actors wearing top hats and tailcoats will re-enact the events of the hall’s opening ceremony in 1897 Photo: Chris Watt Photography

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An actor will play the influential politician Richard Haldane, MP for Haddingtonshire at the time, who officially opened the town hall in the 19th century.

Guests at the re-enactment will see actors, donning top hats and tailcoats, give insight into how the hall was built and what late Victorian politicians expected what the future of the community looks like.

At the end of the re-enactment, visitors can talk to various characters from life in the 1890s. Children will also have the chance to participate in themed crafts and enjoy traditional refreshments.

The event hopes to show how important Prestonpans Town Hall was to community life when it opened, and to highlight the work of a local architect and the contractors who designed and built it.

Anniversary celebrations take place at Prestonpans Victorian Town Hall Photo: Chris Watt Photography

The project is supported by Historic Environment Scotland, which has provided £4,500 to support the series of projects to mark the heritage of Prestonpans Town Hall. It was organized and hosted by the Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust, which has a five-year lease on the hall.

The anniversary celebrations will take place on Saturday August 6 and Sunday August 7 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Reenactments will take place on both days between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m.

A special commemorative medal bearing an image of the hall and the logo of the Burgh of Prestonpans will be available in remembrance of the 125th anniversary.

Dr Gordon Prestoungrange, Chairman of The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust, said: “Prestonpans Town Hall will always be much more than ‘our’ transitional museum. It wasn’t until we considered how best to restore our mothballed town hall that we realized what a gem we had rented.

Prestonpans Town Hall – now a museum – will be transported to 1897 next weekend Photo: Chris Watt Photography

He added: “As we move forward and more and more people from our city visit us, the awareness has grown that our heritage hall must never be allowed to return to the state. she had reached before we took the lease. The continued future use of the community must be ensured and we are committed to doing everything possible to achieve this by working with the community council and many others.

Anyone with information about ancestors who participated in the original opening ceremony or who has memories of events that have taken place in the building over the years – including soup kitchens, tea dances and Bay City Rollers concerts – please contact the organizers as well. .

To share memories and stories, email [email protected] connect with us on facebook at battleofprestonpans1745 or drop by town hall to chat in person with the admins or staff.

Memories will be collected in a Living Memories Book, and those already received have been used to inspire artist Janet McCrorie – who once led classes at the hall – who has been commissioned to create a commemorative artwork. The finished painting will be unveiled as part of the weekend’s events.

About Bernard Kraft

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