Campaigners are aiming to make the heritage of a Moray landmark an integral part of the next chapter of the building’s future.
The Forres Area Community Trust (Fact) is preparing a bid to the council to take control of the town hall, which has been threatened with closure in the local authority’s budget consultation.
The group has an ambitious £1.9million vision to safeguard the Victorian structure for future generations by installing tiered seating for film screenings, extra gallery space and creating up to 20 small offices available for rent.
Now a consultation event for the project has provided the spark to include reminders from the past as part of the building’s new look.
Visitors eager to learn about the plans in November last year regaled Fact staff with tales of when they visited the Town Hall from decades ago.
Kirsty Williams, older person’s project coordinator at the group, is eager to ensure the stories from the past are not forgotten.
She said: “We wanted as much feedback as possible at the consultation but we were surprised at the amount of information that came forward – people who knew who installed the floor, painted the walls, all sorts of things.
“Some of the stories were really fascinating, too precious to lose. People could remember how all the women would wait in the hall in the 1940s before the dances, because it was only the men who were allowed in the pub.
“The bingo on Friday nights was popular too. If you didn’t get a seat early then you would be standing because it was so busy.”
Campaigners hope to gather enough memories and photographs from residents in the town to create colourful displays when the Town Hall is refurbished.
Staff will be in the building next week with equipment to record stories from the past to preserve them for future generations.
Volunteers from Morayvia will also be present to listen to memories of serving in the military in the area.
Mrs Williams added: “The services have had such an impact on Forres and the surrounding area. During the wars the town hall was also used as a hospital.”
The event takes place at the town hall on Tuesday, January 16 from 2pm to 4pm.