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Seaman’s Victoria Hall in the Fishertown of Nairn is transferred over to new owners

By Donald Wilson

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Ninian Coggs, right, chairman of Seaman’s Hall Trustees, at the handover of the hall to Simon Noble of Nairn Green Hive.
Ninian Coggs, right, chairman of Seaman’s Hall Trustees, at the handover of the hall to Simon Noble of Nairn Green Hive.

A hall which for over a century has been part of community life in the Fishertown of Nairn has been transferred to new owners.

The Seaman’s Victoria Hall was built in 1887 and served many roles in the Fishertown community as a place of learning, recreation, weddings and was once the centre of the local Temperance movement.

Local charity Green Hive has accepted the transfer of ownership of Seaman’s Hall from the current trustees and the building came into community ownership on November 17.

The charity has big plans to redevelop the building, which closed during the Covid pandemic.

In recent years its principal use has been for indoor bowling and as a polling station for elections. The trustees were seeking ways to preserve the hall’s future and after consultation agreed to hand it over to Green Hive for future investment.

Simon Noble, chairman of Green Hive, said: “This is a wonderful development for the people of Nairn having such a historic building coming back into use for the community and we at Green Hive are proud to become guardians of Seaman’s Hall. We have a plan and will do all in our power to secure it for future generations.”

Mr Noble said over the coming months, there is much renovation work to make the building safe for limited use while fundraising will be undertaken in 2023 for major re-development work.

“This work aims to commence in 2024 when the building will be closed so that contractors have full access to create the vision that has been developed for the hall.”

There has been local opposition to the transfer but Ninian Coggs, convenor of the Hall trustees, has defended the decision saying it is the best chance to secure the hall’s long term future.

“Green Hive have shown enthusiasm and commitment to take on the task of being custodians of Seaman’s Hall for the future and ensuring that generations of Nairn’s residents can enjoy using the hall.”

Mr Noble added: “Throughout this year plans have been drawn up and been through community consultation so that Green Hive know what funds are required to be raised to implement the vision for the building to bring this back into full community use.”

Green Hive hope to have the hall available for limited use from this spring. A new role of operations officer (Seaman’s Hall) has been created with recruitment ongoing to have in place to drive the project over the coming 2.5 years. Over the winter Green Hive is asking for patience from the community so that necessary upgrades can be made and would welcome hearing from anyone who wants to get involved with the project to get in touch.

The plans could cost £1.4 million with a range of possible funding sources being explored including the National Lottery, Historic Scotland, Community Shares, the Scottish Government and charitable trusts among others.

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