On Jan 20th 1866, a public meeting was held in Field Park to discuss the erection of a Public Hall for the village.
One that was:
- suitable to the needs of the increasing population and mercantile prosperity of the village.
- suitable for large meetings
- for social and entertainment events
- and lectures
It was thought that increased hall accommodation would induce professional entertainers to appear.
The resolution was passed: “That a Public Hall is very much needed in Campsie”
A proposal that community members should set up a little private company to raise the money by subscription in 10/- shares was adopted.
This hall was quite an exclusive feature in the area because it could accommodate 600 persons, and included a library and reading room. It was to be called the “Campsie Public Hall Ltd.,”. It was duly built and opened probably in 1868 by Mr Hanbury Lennox.
Over the years there were various challenges with heating/ lighting and decorating, but the hall was kept going by the Hall Company until 1954. Ownership of the hall was taken over by the Campsie and Baldernock District of Stirling County Council in 1954.
Local councillor and JP, Mr James Friel applied for authority to borrow £7000 for the reconstruction and re-decoration of the hall. This was a substantial amount of funding ,but the hall needed extensive redevelopment to meet modern needs and standards, heating alone would cost £1,000 and dry rot had been found in one part of the building and needed attention.
There was additional funding money available from another source:the Lennoxtown and Campsie
Glen Welcome Home and Commemoration Fund. This was again a public subscription fund.
The decision was made to donate the extra money (£900) to help with the Town Hall ‘facelift’.In memory of the war dead, the hall was re-named Campsie Memorial Hall.
The Hall was the hub of the community. There were dances, wedding receptions, birthday parties, flower shows, badminton, art displays, tap dancing classes and even a cinema every week. However over the years much of this activity has decreased .
In 2005, Lennoxtown Initiative as the lead partner, commissioned the Physical Regeneration Framework and Action Plan from Land Use Consultants .This report was published in February 2006. It is notable that in a report of some 84 pages there was one paragraph related to the Memorial Hall:
‘The Memorial Hall is used for some events but it is generally recognised to have priced itself and local users out of the market’ (Report page 57 para 4.45)
The Hall has remained in local authority ownership since 1954. In early 2010 ,in an attempt to cut local authority spending East Dunbartonshire Council determined to either close under –utilised halls or pass them over to ‘community enterprises’ to manage and take responsibility for maintenance of the halls.
Following public consultation the decision was taken to pursue the possibility of creation of a Social enterprise in the form of a Charitable Trust ,which is in community ownership, to take over the management and maintenance of the Hall. To this end a Management Committee and a Fundraising Committee were formed of volunteers from the community.