Pavilion progress: one year on

Rothesay Pavilion closed on September 27, 2015, for multi-million pound refurbishment works.
Rothesay Pavilion closed on September 27, 2015, for multi-million pound refurbishment works.

It’s been a year since Rothesay Pavilion closed its doors to the public and much has happened over those twelve months.

After removal of asbestos and a complete clear out of the building in the first half of the year, the contractors for the first phase of ‘enabling’ works moved in.

Their work is now finished including concrete repairs throughout the building, protection of historic features such as the dance floor, pillars and main hall ceiling, a full strip out fixtures and fittings and further tests and surveys and Argyll and Bute Council will receive the keys back later in October with the Pavilion in a stable condition ready for winter.

In the meantime, preparations are taking place for the second main stage of works which are due to start in 2017 and will continue into 2018.

While work is happening on the building, Rothesay Pavilion Charity is also gearing up with two new staff members joining the team from mid-October. Both long-time residents of Bute, Laura Edwards and Ann Russell, will join the Artistic Director and CEO, Julia Twomlow, in the posts of Administration and Engagement Officer. The team will be taking up a temporary office in Rothesay towards the end of October.

Laura Edwards, the new Administrator, has a background in financial and administrative roles with small organisations and charities, including Achievement Bute, and brings to the Pavilion a wealth of knowledge and experience. Laura, who married her husband Tony in the Pavilion, said: “It is a wonderful building and, along with many others in the community, I am thrilled that it is getting the chance to become a thing of beauty once again.”

Engagement Officer, Ann Russell, has lived on Bute for 18 years with her husband Brian. Both are practising artists in their own right. A graduate of Glasgow School of Arts, she has worked extensively across both heritage and arts projects across many different groups and communities for many years. Ann, who is very excited by the Pavilion development said: “It also has the potential to make a significant contribution to what is already happening and to open up a whole range of different experiences, overall enriching the island community and people’s quality of life.”

During the closure, Ann will be organising an arts and heritage programme which will give people a chance to stay connected to the building during its restoration, but will also start to explore some of the activities that will be able to take place once the Pavilion opens its doors again.