The Town Hall in Armadale was sited on South Street on the grounds of where the ‘Little Owls’ Nursery now stands.
The building was completed in March 1859, initially for a Subscription School. In 1896 it was bought by Mr. Readman, proprietor of the Barbauchlaw Estate. He presented the building to the town, free of feu duty, and it was made into Armadale’s Town Hall at a cost of £700. It was opened 4 December.
James Wood had objected to the plans a year before because of his concerns about building a public hall on ground that had not settled since coal extraction below. However, in 1911, he donated £1,000 for alterations to the hall.
In the 1950’s the Town Hall was at the centre of controversy when the Town Councillors swapped the piano for a crate of whisky. Read more about it here
Davie Kerr also wrote a poem about it;
Nae honky-tonk tune ti lichten the gloom.
Nae clue as the Toun Hall pianna
wis taen without trace an selt for a case
o whisky at twelve an a tanner.
In 1955, the Hall eventually had so many faults, it was demolished.
The Queen and Prince Philip visited Armadale as part of a Scotland tour in 1955. A Dais was installed in front of the town hall for them and they were welcomed by Provost William Ferrier.
In 1923, Eric Liddell, the famous runner from ‘Chariots of Fire’ fame, gave his first Christian sermon in the Town Hall. (Though some people believe it may have been the Baptist Church at the time – now the Windsor Hall)
Read more about Eric Liddell here
Read more about Eric Liddell’s sermon in Armadale here
Read Eric’s armadale speech here (re-enactment scene 6, page 18 out of 58)
In 2012, Gibby and Heather Naismith who own Little Owls Nursery, very kindly donated the cobbles from the site of the Town Hall to the town of Armadale.