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Old Men's Cabin


Client - Kilmarnock Railway Station Trust


‘Old Men’s Cabin’ restored as mental health hub

This unassuming ‘cabin’ was built in 1897 as part of improvements to Howard Park in Kilmarnock, Scotland, by the Dowager Lady Howard De Walden. She aimed for the single-storey square pavilion to serve as a gathering space for local veterans to meet and socialise, but the space long ago fell out of its intended use. Latterly used as a storage facility by the local authority, the building has fallen derelict and is gated to prevent anti-social activity.






Known locally as the ‘Old Men’s Cabin’ from a sign on its door, the building will be leased by its local authority owner to Kilmarnock Station Railway Trust for restoration and adapted use. The Trust, which provides critical addiction and mental health services for the Kilmarnock area, plan to use the Cabin as a meeting space for their programmes as well as other local community groups. The ‘Old Men’s Cabin’ project shows that adapted reuses can be found for even the most unlikely buildings; in this case the cabin in its public and natural park setting was deemed an ideal solution for the intended use. Very appropriately, it also fits the original intention of the De Waldon family, that the park and cabin be used to benefit the people of Kilmarnock. The AHF has supported the project with a Project Viability and Project Development Grant to enable essential survey and design work. The Kilmarnock Station Railway Trust are presently negotiating a 25-year lease from the local authority and fundraising for the estimated £200,000 needed to convert the Cabin into reuse.


About the Kilmarnock Station Railway Trust
Founded in 2014 to refurbish redundant railway offices at Kilmarnock Railway Station into office spaces, meeting rooms, a coffee shop and bookshop, for community benefit, the Trust offers volunteering and training opportunities for people affected by addiction, mental health issues, loneliness and isolation, as well as providing rehabilitation opportunities for ex-offenders. Their programme of structured activities addresses mental and physical health to help people build self-esteem and move the most economically inactive towards the labour market.

AHF funding
Project Viability Grant, £6,000 (2019) for architect fees and survey work (mainly an asbestos survey)
Project Development Grant, £6,020 (2020) for architectural fees to develop the scheme and Quantity Surveyor to provide costings

These grants have been made possible by funding from the William Grant Foundation and Historic Environment Scotland.

External Funding
Kilmarnock Station Railway Heritage Trust £10,644

October 2020

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