Town hall given cracker of a Christmas present by renowned painter


Monday, 18 December, 2017

Kirkintilloch Town Hall has been given a cracker of a Christmas present courtesy of one of its most talented sons.

Renowned artist and Kirkintilloch native Dick Stevenson has kindly donated a stunning painting of the town hall circa 1960.

It features people of all ages streaming into the iconic building - warm light spilling from within - as the sun sets over the town.

The oil-on-canvas painting was commissioned by the late Pam McGaughrin - a local stalwart who campaigned for years to have the building reopened and was a leading light in the Kirkintilloch Town Hall Preservation Trust.

Dick came up with sketch ideas and set to work around five years ago, but professional and personal commitments meant it was not completed until recently. For the local artist it was always unfinished business.

He explained, "Pam approached me and asked - when they get the town hall up and running again - could I do a painting to go into it when it opened again. I did a few sketches and chatted to them.

"I wouldn't have felt right if I hadn't completed it. I felt I should finish it to be fair to Pam - who was a leading light in the campaign for the town hall, under the chairmanship of Dr Geoff Allan.

"I went to a number of things in the town hall and remember it being used for various events in the 1950s and 60s, when it was in its heyday.

"In doing the painting I thought I would like to add in the people who used the town hall - old, young and middle-aged. I tried to paint a mixture of people going into the town hall as a depiction of how it was used."

Pam's husband Eddy McGaughrin, former elected member of East Dunbartonshire Council and Kirkintilloch Town Council, said, "It's beautiful. It really is a work of art. Pam would have loved it."

"That for me is Kirkintilloch," said daughter Colette. "My mum would have been delighted."

Dick is pleased that his painting will be given pride of place at Kirkintilloch Town Hall when it is officially opened in 2018.

The B-listed building has been transformed into a facility which blends past, present and future, including main hall, extension, new flooring, restored stonework and more.

An industrial heritage display and flexible exhibition/activity space is currently being created on the first floor. East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture (EDLC) Trust will be providing a programme of co-curated exhibitions with local community groups as part of the Made in Kirkintilloch project.

The £5.5m town hall project was funded by East Dunbartonshire Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Dick said, "Anything that helps the town hall is worthwhile. The great thing now is that the extension is on the same level as the hall. Previously you had to leave the hall and go up steps to the level of the extension. That was always a bit of a problem. It's a big improvement."

Councillor Gordan Low, Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council, said, "This is a very generous gesture from one of Kirkintilloch's best-known artists. It is much appreciated and will be an attraction in its own right when the town hall officially opens."

Sandy Marshall, Chair of EDLC Trust, said, "It's a great painting and a wonderful gift. It's a new era for the town hall, but it's important that we remember and celebrate how the building used to be, as well as looking to the future by ensuring the facility can be used for a range of functions."

Pictured (top, from left): Council Leader Gordan Low, Dick Stevenson, EDLC Cultural Development Manager Frances MacArthur, Colette and her dad Eddy McGaughrin.

Follow us on Twitter @EDCouncil or like us on Facebook for the latest updates.