Future uses of the memorial hall under the spotlight

Future uses for Inglis Memorial Hall have been identified by Angus Council.
Future uses for Inglis Memorial Hall have been identified by Angus Council.

FUTURE uses for the historic Category A listed Inglis Memorial Library, including creating a museum/visitor tourist attraction, will be under the spotlight of Angus Council’s neighbourhood services committee on Thursday (tomorrow).

Inglis Memorial Library, which consists of a collection of some 6,000 volumes, contains the original stock gifted to the village of Edzell and is considered to be the best preserved example of a Victorian public library in the United Kingdom.

Development of the library has potential to enhance the cultural tourism offering within the area.

The collection is presently on the upper floor of the building, but the ground floor is now available to return the 1898 Inglis Memorial Library to its original layout.

Initial investigations have identified a number of potential features of development, including the conservation of the unique stained glass windows and mosaic “librarian” panel above the vestibule door as well as the replacement of various features to to emulate those present in 1898.

Panels could be used to display historic photographs, archive material and memories from local residents of the library and could also be used to tell the story of the Victorian village and its daily life as part of a tourism development option, however this would require the help of volunteers to manage it.

Ron Ashton, director of neighbourhood services explains: “A restored Victorian library could become a unique visitor attraction but, to be sustainable, the staffing of the Inglis Memorial Library would need to be undertaken by volunteers. This type of development in Edzell would add to the existing number of community based cultural tourist facilities in Angus, and in particular could be promoted as a package of the type of developments along with The Glen Esk Folk Museum at the Retreat in Glenesk, Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre and The Caledonian Railway at Brechin.”

Since the library closed in 2010 Edzell residents have campaigned for the re-introduction of a modern lending library in the hall – something that could be considered in future budgets.

“The reintroduction of a modern library in the Inglis Memorial Hall cannot be borne by the current neighbourhood services budget,” states Mr Ashton in his report to committee.

“It cannot be provided on an unmanned basis or supplemented by the existing caretaker.

“Further rounds of consultation by the Local Community Planning Team with the community and ELAG indicates that they wish the Council to look at the delivery of a modern library facility within the Inglis Memorial Hall probably in the former Committee Room.

“This could, for example, involve up to an additional eleven hours a week for a library assistant.

“Against this background of consultation and extensive work looking at the options it is intended that this issue also be considered further as part of the 2013/14 budget process.”