Hall Management

St Boswells Village Hall is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCO 48481), under the general Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). It is managed by ‘St Boswells Village Hall Management Committee’ and ‘St Boswells Village Hall Board of Trustees’.

The Management Committee, as of March 2021, is as follows:

Douglas Oliver

Alastair Minnis

John Offord

Booking Clerk
Muriel Offord

Other committee members
Denise Brebner, Samantha Brennan, Cliff Ellershaw, Wendy Kirkpatrick, Christine Little, and Sandra Thomas

Caretaker (non-committee)
Raj & Bryony Gill

Hall lights, Dec.20

Our aim is to provide and maintain St Boswells Village Hall and to organise activities for the benefit of the inhabitants of St Boswells and environs in the Scottish Borders, without distinction of political, religious or other opinions; for recreation, leisure and educational purposes of all kinds with the object of improving the conditions of life of the said inhabitants. A copy of the hall’s Constitution is available here. Our Complaints Procedure is available here.

The hall’s current trustees are: Cliff Ellershaw, Shenagh Ellershaw, Christine Little, Alastair Minnis, John Offord, Douglas Oliver, Sandra Thomas, and Kate Warner.

The trustees’ Code of Conduct is available here.

The Village Hall’s management, 1896-2021

The original (1896) Disposition appointed four Trustees to hold their positions ex officio: Robert Somervaille of Charlesfield Saint Boswells (the elected member of the County Council of Roxburghshire for the Parish of Saint Boswells), John James Fairbairn of Fens (the Chairman of the Parish Council), Thomas Lawrie (Clerk to the Parish Council), and the Reverend William Henry Rankine (Minister of the Established Church of the Parish). These trusteeships were to pass to subsequent holders of those positions. In addition, five other Trustees were appointed: Walter Ballantyne (merchant), John Urquhart MacGregor (Free Church Minister), Stuart Erskine Stirling (draper), the village doctor William Liang Cullen, and William Hood (butler at Dryburgh House). When those individuals died their responsibilities would be assumed by the surviving trustees, who as a group could ‘nominate and assume’ other people to serve in the same capacity. The original document may be read here; a full transcript, with historical footnotes, is provided here.

In 1954 it was it was ‘considered desirable to enlarge and modernise the said Saint Boswells Public Hall, increase its amenities, and introduce a system of management more in keeping with modern requirements’. Whilst the trustees maintained their responsibility for the upkeep of the hall’s fabric, the general management was vested in a Committee of Management, with nominations invited from the many village organizations. An annual general meeting was to be held (the first on 1st December 1954) at which the Committee’s reports and accounts were to be presented, and the quota of committee members for the ensuing year elected. All of this was affirmed in a ‘Deed of Trust by Walter Edward Bannantyne and others’, dated 1st December 1954 and registered with the Registers of Scotland on the 8th January 1955. The document refers back to what the 1896 Disposition had said concerning the succession, and appointment, of Trustees. Now the signatories comprised: Walter Edward Ballantyne (the County Councillor for the Saint Boswells Electoral Division of the County of Roxburgh); the Reverend David Priestly Leishman (the Minister of Saint Boswells Church); Colonel John Carysfort Loch, C.B.E., residing at the House of Narrowgates, Saint Boswells; the doctor Edwin Clark, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.S.E., residing at the Rig, Saint Boswells; and George Naismith Harvie, M.A., residing at The Schoolhouse, Saint Boswells.

December 2020. Credit: Alastair Minnis

Walter Edward Ballantyne was the grandson of Walter Ballantyne (1806-91), the founder of Ballantyne & Son, Grocers, Wine Merchants and Italian Warehousemen, which once owned the premises now occupied by The Mainstreet Trading Company. George Harvie (1918-2017) who was Head of the School from 1949 to 1958, became the Head of Liberal Studies at Edinburgh College of Commerce, and was also a singer and drama producer. Colonel Loch (1877-1974) was of the Indian Army, serving as Director of Military Prisons and Detention Barracks, India; subsequently a Member of the Royal Company of Archers and the Queen’s bodyguard for Scotland. The original document may be read here; a full transcript is provided here.

The Public Hall became a charity registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator on 1st January 1992. At a Management Committee meeting on the 23rd May 2017, chaired by Kate Warner, a discussion was held about the possibility of St Boswells Village Hall becoming a new-style Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (a SCIO), under the general Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), the independent Regulator and registrar for Scotland’s charities. It was noted that many village halls in Scotland had taken this step, and that it has significant advantages not least to management and long term sustainability. The old-style Trust would be replaced with the annual election by the community of trustees (with a different legal status than hitherto) and members of the management committee, who would be responsible for taking care of all business relating to the hall and providing OSCR with annual reports and independently-audited accounts. The decision was reached that St Boswells Public Hall would seek incorporation as a SCIO to be known as St Boswells Village Hall, and that upon incorporation the business and assets of St Boswells Public Hall would be transferred to St Boswells Village Hall. On the 19th September OSCR approved our request for re-organization. On the 21st June 2018 the new SCIO was incorporated.

Completion of the legal process involved the preparation of a new Disposition (completed in September 2019), the signatories of which were: James Brown (the Elected Councillor for the Ward of Jedburgh and District, Scottish Borders Council, Newtown St Boswells); The Reverend Sheila Moir, Minister, Church of Scotland, St Boswells Parish; John A. Pollock, Chairman of St. Boswells Community Council; Francis, Duke of Sutherland, Chairman of St Boswells Public Hall Board of Trustees; and James Douglas Oliver, St Boswells Public Hall Board of Trustees. The text of this document may be viewed here.

The transfer process involved placing the property on Scotland’s new land registry, the replacement for the General Register of Sasines. The impact of Covid-19 delayed the Land Register of Scotland in approving our application. It was granted on the 3rd December 2020. At an open meeting of the Hall’s Management Committee on the 18th March 2021 the completion of our transition to the new SCIO was announced and recorded.

Autumn 2020. Credit: Alastair Minnis