New projects will explore the unique heritage of Prestonpans Town Hall

24 June 2022
Prestonpans Town Hall, copyright Chris Watt Photography
Historic Environment Scotland has provided £4,500 funding to support a series of projects to mark the heritage of Prestonpans Town Hall, including a Victorian re-enactment of the hall's original opening ceremony.

The Victorian town hall in Prestonans, East Lothian, was leased to the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust on a five-year basis in 2021 and the organisation has invested in an extensive refurbishment of the historic building, adding a museum, gift shop and programme of events and exhibitions. 

Now, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has provided funding to support projects that bring to life the memories local people have of the building and events that have taken place there: from soup kitchens during the miners strikes to tea dances and Bay City Rollers concerts.

Local people are being invited to share their stories and photos of events and activities at the Town Hall. Such memories will be captured on dedicated wall displays in the Town Hall Reception area; made accessible online; and published in a 'Book of Living History Memories of The Town Hall'. In addition, local artist Janet McCrorie has been commissioned to create an impressionistic artwork that captures the essence of the memories and atmosphere of the Town Hall. 

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Costumed re-enactment

In August 2022, a full-scale costumed re-enactment of the Victorian opening ceremony will take place marking 125 years since it was opened. The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust is appealing to families to share information about any ancestors who took part in the original opening ceremony. 

The Trust has also struck a commemorative 125th anniversary medal bearing an image of the hall and the logo of the Burgh of Prestonpans, which will be presented to the descendants of those who originally took part in the opening ceremony in 1897.

The Battle of Prestonpans Trust was awarded the lease of the Town Hall from East Lothian Council and will continue to display its permanent museum dedicated to the famous Jacobite Battle of Prestonpans of 1745, alongside a programme of changing events and activities. 

Those with memories they’d like to submit or details of descendants who took part in the Victorian opening ceremony are invited to e-mail, or to get in touch via Facebook at @Prestonpans1745 - or to drop into the Town Hall to chat to the trust in person. The Town Hall is open every weekend from 10am to 4pm and at other times by appointment.