Apologies for not getting a blog out yesterday, but today I will give you double. The day was not without its discoveries.
On Saturday I posted a small tribute to Sir Harry Lauder. The interest it stirred up has been most enjoyable. It seems a lot of us still remember the old boy of Porty. Even if he was only born here. Its even questionable if he performed at the town hall at all but, many people say he did. Or perhaps at the Marine Gardens maybe! Who feels like researching that?
This week a lovely man called Alf posted a photo of the interior of the Town hall, not long after it opened in 1914. Did we know it had fixed seating in the main hall? Well yes we did guess, and our architects confirmed it likely, as the current floor has been laid on top to create a dance floor. But to see it as it was originally, was uplifting. Makes it clearer that the purpose of the building was for; meetings and entertainment; and that having a dance floor was a later thought. Alf also had a photo of the outside of the building showing that it originally was behind railings and had a fair amount of space in front. He then produced a photo of the original plans as well. Alf is our new golden goose. Nothing much has been altered. The structure and spaces remain unchanged. Apart from seating removed from lower auditorium and a proscenium arch added. The original stage had a bowed front which has been straightened.
And now here comes the nostalgia. While following a link looking for more old photos, I accidentally came across a couple of photos taken in 1930 at the back of the hall. Sadly not much to see as there was lots of foliage. But it did show some ladies in stylish hats & coats holding babies and behind them was Rosefield Health Clinic, my very own dance studio, looking remarkable unchanged apart from the windows. It brought a tear to my eye. I have been searching for photos for 16 years. Further searching found 6 or 7 more. Even a fabulous 1930’s car parked outside, kids playing and some inside shots. So if anyone knows some older people in their 90’s who lived in the flats in Rosefield Ave Lane , please do get in touch. And I will be posting them very soon on my page.
You may wonder what the connection is between the Town hall and the dance studio. Well, the town hall was built on the site of an old mansion called Inverey House. In fact the kitchen and dressing rooms at the back are part of old Inverey House. The dance studio was built as a laundry for the house in 1909. At this time Inverey house was a school for girls. The plans for the laundry were discovered by our architects. It all makes sense now of the strange sense of belonging when I am in the hall. As if I was there in a past life.
And late at night when all the dancers & teachers have gone home, and I have to cross the studio in the dark to find the light switch, my arms outstretched in the pitch black. I always feel I am being watched with friendly eyes, and imagine the sound of babies. A building that was built for children and continues today with the sound of happy children. That’s nice, don’t you think?
Stay safe & healthy,
2 Replies to “Nostalgia, Connections & Ghosts.”
Thanks for this Morag. What an interesting history. So good to see these photos and hear about bits of the old house being used. I do remember coming in to the health clinic where your dance studio is in the mid or late 60’s with mum and my wee brother mainly as the wee bottles of orange juice given were so strong and unique.
Its been so interesting Joan. Researching the Town Hall and then discovering the umbilical cord attaching my old building to the old Inverey House. We think that perhaps some of the stone from Inverey House was used to build the Town Hall. Isn’t history such a fascinating subject. ❤