Back in business

THE Journal and Gazette can exclusively reveal that the Burgh Halls is completed and open for business.

Restoration work on the £5.2 million project, which began in October 2008, is finished and with functions booked for this weekend, a full programme of events starts on Friday, April 22.

Until then, a series of tours is taking place to allow local groups to view the enhanced town centre venue.

Jim Walker, executive councillor for culture and leisure, joined Creative Scotland and Historic Scotland delegates for a guided tour on Wednesday.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted with how wonderful the Burgh Halls looks. It is an elegant building that provides spaces for hire, a visitor attraction, art gallery, restaurant/café, education centre and much more.

“The redevelopment will also strengthen the building’s traditional role as Linlithgow’s Town House, staging events and celebrations including the Marches, the Advent Fair and festivals.”

From the Kirkgate entrance, there is a modern reception area featuring panels detailing the history of the building, before going into the new Glasshouse Cafe overlooking the garden, St Michael’s Church and Linlithgow Palace.

The first floor is dedicated to high quality art and the gallery will have a continuous series of exhibitions starting on April 15 to June 2 with paintings by Kate Downie. Visitor information will be provided at the reception and the former Tourist Information Centre on the lower ground level has been converted into an education room and audio visual facility.

On the second level the South Hall has been completely restored. The fireplaces will feature specially commissioned paintings of Linlithgow by Michael McVeigh and decorative tiles commissioned from Douglas Watson Studios. The North Hall has also been transformed with new French windows giving direct access to an outside terrace.

The redevelopment was funded by West Lothian Council in partnership with Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.