6. Village Hall

VillageHall200The original village hall opened in 1889 and also housed reading rooms. Among the contributors was Andrew Carnegie, who was then the shooting tenant of the Cluny estate. He donated £50.

The local landowner, CJB Macpherson of Balavil gave the land free.

By the late 1890s the rapid development of the village meant a larger hall was needed. The current hall, designed by local architect Alexander Cattanach, was built in 1913 at a cost of around £1,600. It took until 1920 to clear the debt. Many summer visitors contributed to the Hall fund, including Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman doctor in Britain, who stayed in Alde Cottage (now Alder Lodge).

VillageHallDance  ad400The Hall has always been at the heart of village life. It housed a flat for the caretaker employed by the village council to maintain the village roads, water and sewage tanks. His wife did the catering for events in the Hall, which included children's parties, Highland balls and Burns suppers. The shinty club held fund-raising dances and concerts in the Hall during the summer to raise donations from the summer visitors.

During World War II, moss collected for bandages by local children was dried on the stage in the Hall before being packed and sent off. At Christmas 1941 a party was held in the Hall for the children evacuated from Edinburgh to Ralia Lodge. They all received a pair of hand-knitted stockings and Santa brought everyone an orange. A cinema used to operate twice weekly in the Hall, showing films supplied by The Highlands and Islands Film Guild.

The Hall continues to be used for a wide variety of community events, meetings and classes. The colourful mosaics on the front were given by an anonymous donor for the Hall's centenary in 2013.

Sources:

Local residents
Kingussie Record
Badenoch Record
Inverness Courier
Northern Chronicle

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