Menu closed Menu open
Historic photograph of The Clocktower in Dufftown, Scotland. Photo courtesy of Dufftown and District Community Association.
Historic photograph of The Clocktower in Dufftown, Scotland. Photo courtesy of Dufftown and District Community Association.

From Civic to Community Buildings: Helping to Renew the Heart of the Town

18 April 2023

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is excited to have awarded two new grants to projects aiming to re-use and revitalise former civic buildings in the town centres of both Ruthin and Dufftown. These grants were among seven awards given out at the latest grants meeting, where projects in Wales and Scotland were offered funding totalling £74,960.

You can learn more about the projects in Ruthin and Dufftown below.

Town and Market Hall, Ruthin, Denbighshire, Wales

Ruthin Artisan Markets


Images: The exterior and interior of Ruthin Town Hall. Photos courtesy of Ruthin Artisan Markets. 

This complex, which was built in a High Victorian Gothic style between 1863-5, comprises two buildings, Ruthin Town Hall and Market Hall. While the Market Hall has been continually occupied for decades, the first floor of the Town Hall has been vacant since the early 2000s. Additionally, since the 1970s, the ground floor of the Town Hall had been used as a registry office; this ceased in Summer 2022, when the County Registrar moved across the road to County Hall.

Ruthin Artisan Markets was originally established to host market-style events within Ruthin to raise awareness of local brands and makers, as well as increase the footfall and revenue streams in the town. The group later took on operation of the Market Hall, from where it hosts space for small businesses to test their products; provides business growth support; and runs a wide variety of community events, such as music and DJ nights and pop-up food evenings. As well as a small café facility, the Market Hall also has a community fridge with food from local supermarkets, which is available for free.


Images: The exterior and interior of Ruthin Market Hall. Photos courtesy of Ruthin Artisan Markets.

Ruthin Artisan Markets is now proposing to create new facilities in the Town Hall, which will not only address local needs, but will also be complementary to its operation of the adjoining Market Hall. With the closure and demolition of the Awelon Community Centre, community groups have lost a central venue for their activities and events. For example, the local meithrin (a Welsh language nursery) has had to move several miles out of town. While there are other community venues in the area, they have limited capacity to hold large events and there is a real need for a large indoor venue in the town centre. The Town and Market Hall complex has the potential to fulfil this demand.

The AHF Project Viability Grant will help Ruthin Artisan Markets to commission a multi-disciplinary team, including a conservation-accredited architect, quantity surveyor and business planner, to complete a viability study to test and develop its plans for these former civic buildings.

The Clocktower, Dufftown, Moray, Scotland

Dufftown and District Community Association


Images: The exterior and interior of Dufftown Clocktower. Photos courtesy of Dufftown and District Community Association. 

This Category B-listed clocktower is an iconic local landmark dating back to 1839. Situated centrally in the town square, it comprises a basement, ground floor and two upper floors, which are all accessed by a narrow spiral staircase. The building, which was constructed in mixed grey granite rubble with tooled pink granite dressings, features a leaded ogee roof with a ball finial and weathervane, as well as a high crenellated wallhead with a clock in each face.

The Clocktower originally served as a gaol and was later used as the Burgh Chambers. Most recently, it was occupied by the local tourist information office, however, this closed in 2014, at which point the building fell vacant. After the local authority ceased maintenance of the clock, the community came together to acquire the building in 2020.

Dufftown and District Community Association aims to create a fairer community by delivering better change for all. This is enabled through various initiatives, including the protection of the town’s heritage through the ownership and maintenance of Dufftown Clocktower. Following community consultation and business planning, the group now plans to develop the ground floor of the clocktower as a flexible space for exhibitions, community meetings, pop-up lets, and small-scale event hires. It will also accommodate a basic visitor information station. The upper floors of the building will become high-quality holiday accommodation.

The Historic Environment Scotland-supported AHF Project Development Grant will fund a timber survey and cover fees to progress project designs to planning stage.

Share this item