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St. Margaret's Hall, St Margaret`s Road, Dunfermline

Dunfermline Index

 St. Margaret's Hall, Dunfermline after the fire of 1961 - Courtesy Graeme Smith

Above - St. Margaret's Hall, Dunfermline after the fire of 1961 - Courtesy Graeme Smith

St Margaret`s Hall in St Margaret`s Road was built by a local liability company of the same name which included a number of councillors as shareholders, and ex-Provost Reid as chairman. It was designed by Edinburgh architect John Starforth and the first superintendent and licensee was a Mr Anderson.

Comprising three storeys it had a large hall with a gallery, and an orchestra and (Lewis) organ gallery, which held about 1,400 people. A lesser hall planned for lectures held 600, and the building also had committee rooms, and a reading and Library room. On the top floor there were two large billiard rooms.

The Hall was formally opened in 1878 by Henry Campbell-Bannerman, MP for Stirling (and future Prime Minister). The Dunfermline Dramatic Society was born in the Hall in 1885 and continues today. Plays, variety, musical comedy, and concerts were staged and meetings and lectures held. It was also a venue for music classes.

In November 1903 the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust appointed its first secretary John Howard Whitehouse from Birmingham, founder of the Ruskin Society and who on behalf of Cadbury Bros Ltd had formed the model village of Bournville. In January 1904 the Trust started its first series of Concerts, by engaging at the Hall the Scottish Orchestra of 80 players under conductor Dr Frederick Cowen, joined by Madame Kirkby Lunn and singers. Hundreds of people had to be left outside. “A special train conveyed the artistes to Glasgow after the concert.” For seasons, year after year, the Trust Concerts with a range of orchestras proved very attractive, and by the 1920s they staged Saturday Evening Popular Concerts at a flat price of 3d.

The Hall later became a dance hall and was burned out in 1961 after a boxing tournament (one of the last events organised under a lease by the rival Kinema Ballroom proprietors). It was then demolished and its site taken over for an extension to the Carnegie Central Library.

The above information on St. Magaret's Hall was written for this site by Graeme Smith in April 2013.

If you have any more information or images for this Theatre that you are willing to share please Contact me.

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