RENOVATIONS made to one of the region’s most historic buildings have been revealed following over three years of work and thousands of pounds of investment.
The court room in the Forres Tolbooth has undergone major refurbishment and the Forres Heritage Trust which is responsible for maintaining the building hopes the work makes the space more appealing for hire and hosting its own events.
The works which have included a full re-paint, replacement of wooden panelling, a new carpet, the ceiling being thoroughly cleaned and insulated, and all doors sanded and varnished has brought the room back to life.
New floor to ceiling curtains have also been handmade and a state of the art multi-media system installed.
George Alexander, chairman of the Forres Heritage Trust which also looks after Nelson’s Tower said he was delighted with the outcome: “The room looks absolutely stunning. It has been modernised, but it still maintains its grandeur that a building of this status and historic significance commands. There was not much wrong with the integrity of the room, but it was tired, had pink walls and needed refreshing.”
Volunteers at heart of renovation
He added: “The room now looks clean, crisp and elegant and we as a Trust look forward to hosting even more events over the coming months and we also hope the refurbishment will be attractive to people looking to host their own events.”
Mr Alexander also paid tribute to the team of volunteers: “We must not underestimate the level of work that has gone into restoring the old court room and keep in mind that what makes this even more impressive is that most of the work has been carried out by a hard working team of volunteers who have pitched up every Friday over the last three years to carry out the work. It is a huge room, with very high ceilings and is also home to some very important and historic artwork which is significant to the town, so the team had to work carefully to ensure nothing was damaged. I would like to publicly thank all those people who got involved and gave up their time and expertise to ensure this historic room is maintained for future generations to enjoy. A special mention also to Tom and Iris Logie of T. D Logie’s whose wealth of experience in house furnishing was of huge benefit to the renovations.”
He added: “We must also thank those who have donated money to the Trust over the years as to ensure these types of renovations are done to a high standard and sympathetically, a significant amount of money has to be invested. So far, we have invested around £20,000 for the renovations, which includes the installation of new multi-media equipment.”
21 century equipment
Bob James, a trustee with the Forres Heritage Trust was involved in sourcing the equipment.
He said: “The new equipment brings the courtroom into the 21st century. It opens up a host of new possibilities meaning the court room could be used for training sessions, exhibitions, or even film screenings. What was important to us as a Trust and to ensure that we maintained the integrity of the room, was to ensure that the screen, projector and speakers were installed with minimal impact on how the court room looks. They are discrete but deliver a very high-quality output and will do so for many years to come.”
Doors Open Day 2019
The next public event to be held at the Tolbooth, where people can get a first glimpse of the renovation work will be the historic photo exhibition which will take place between September 4 and 7. Following that the Tolbooth and Nelson’s Tower will be open free of charge as part of Moray Doors Open Day on September 21.
Laurie Piper, operations manager with Moray Speyside Tourism said he was looking forward to seeing the renovations at one of the Tolbooth’s next events: “One of the many attractions to our region for visitors is our rich and deep heritage which is never more apparent than in the interesting, varied and individual historic buildings that we are home to. I am fully supportive of the work that has been carried out by the Forres Heritage Trust at the Tolbooth and its aspirations for future use of the building. I look forward to providing any assistance the Trust needs in pursuit of restoring the Tolbooth to its former glory.