The Burgh Halls

Burgh Halls, Linlithgow
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Burgh Halls, Linlithgow

Located on the Cross, a square lying on the north side of Linlithgow's High Street, is the town hall or Burgh Halls. A massive block of a building, with a bell-tower behind and double monumental staircase at the front, this represents one of the grandest town halls in Scotland. Built by mason John Smith between 1668-70, it replaced the old Linlithgow Town House which had been demolished by Oliver Cromwell's army in 1650. The basement beneath the grand entrance staircase was used as a weigh house, for grain storage and to detain prisoners, while the grand rooms on the upper floors were used for "public feasts and entertainments". The building had to be restored following a fire in 1847, with Provost Adam Dawson (1793 - 1873) being instrumental in this work. A clock was added to the tower in 1858. The double stair was added at the front in 1906 and the interior radically modified in the 1960s. The building was A-listed in 1971.

A further restoration and sympathetic extension to the rear was undertaken by Malcolm Fraser architects in 2011 at a cost of £5.2 million. The basement now includes an education centre, a tourist information office and café can be found on the ground floor, while the first floor now comprises an art gallery. There are still two fine public halls; the South or Bailie Hardie Hall and the North or Provost Lawrie Hall, which now has French windows giving access to a roof terrace. Also in 2011, the building became a location for filming the BBC television period drama Garrow's Law.

The building is owned and managed by West Lothian Council.

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