Every town seems to have a Scottish Hall tucked neatly away, just off the beaten track. Ours is located at 20 Barnard Street in a central area of town.
This handsome solid little hall was designed by the busy local architect Walter Panton & Son and built in 1929 by Andrew Kennedy at an approx. cost of 4000 pounds.
It is of red brick and concrete with white cement facings. Features include a tiled entrance vestibule, cornice, pilasters, pediments and brick gable. The flag of St Andrews is proudly inlaid above the windows. Constructed as a concert hall it had an opening stage, a couple of dressing rooms and a kitchen. Nothing to grand or fussy here but it is still aesthetically and architecturally pleasing. Over the years it has provided a venue for social and recreational purposes and still does so today.
An interesting aside is that the Timaru Herald, on 15/03/1929, reported that the original roof was of British made asbestos cement, the first time this particular material has been used in Timaru!
These relatively unassuming little buildings were a centre of activity in their heyday. Originally they were built by local Scottish society’s to create a cultural centre where the records and traditions of Scottish history could be preserved and where the study of Scottish music, song and literature were promoted. These Society’s aimed to foster Scottish traditions in new settlements and provide people with a chance gather together for conversation and counsel, to wear their Highland costumes and tell tales of the old country.
In good condition, it is still used for Housie, music competitions and, as it is not to close to large residential areas, this makes it perfect for the Pipe Band practice venue which I understand happen here occasionally.
The Hall is available to hire for events and occasions.