Article from Wigtownshire Free Press 1924
Opening Of New Luce War Memorial Hall
Despite the bitterly cold weather which prevailed on Tuesday evening, there was a large attendance of people from all over the district at the formal opening of New Luce War Memorial Hall
The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs William Forster, Mains of Larg, who, after being handed the key of the hall by the Countess of Stair, who called upon her to formally open the hall, and expressed the pleasure it gave her to hand over the key to Mrs Forster, inserted the key in the lock and formally opened the hall.
Mrs Forster retains custody of the key which bears the inscription : “New Luce War Memorial Hall, 1924”
The hall which is a compact little building, is built to seat comfortably about 220 people, and is fitted with cloakrooms and lavatory accommodation, with a dining room and kitchen at the back.
The following undertook the work in connection with the building:- joiner work- Messrs Alec McLauchlan & Sons, Stranraer ; plasterer- Mr James Murphy, Stranraer; mason work- Mr John Clive, Glenluce; plumber work- Messrs Henry McLauchlan & Sons, Stranraer; painter- Mr Thomas Adair, Stranraer; slater work- Mr John Forsyth, Stranraer; lighting- messrs Henderson & Wither, Stranraer.
The Right Hon the Earl of Stair presided at the concert held immediately afterwards in connection with the opening of the hall, and accompanying him were Messrs John Forster, Mains of Larg, Alex Dalrymple, Milton and James McQuistin, Balneil.
The Earl said that thought the actual opening of the hall had been performed by Mrs Forster, who as they all knew had been one of the greatest sufferers in the Great War, and was not likely to forget the sacrifice made, he had been called on to say a few words. Memorials were springing up all over the country, paying tribute to all who had fallen in the late war, and in that respect, he thought, New Luce had gone one better. They had not only a memorial a little further up the hill- a memorial to those who had actually fallen- but they had also that splendid hall for those who had returned. (Applause). He thought New Luce had set an example which would be followed by larger and more prosperous places. Speaking on the financial position and the origin of the hall, Lord Stair said that on the 5th June 1919, a public meeting was held, when it was decided to build the hall. Immediately afterwards the committee had started to raise funds for the building of the hall, and had done so through having sales of work, whist drives and concerts, the work being actually commenced on 9th May 1923. The sum required to build the hall was found to be £1760 and that exclude seats, piano etc. That evening they still required £237 to clear off the cost. He thought that the committee had done excellent work in the short time at their disposal and they might well be proud of their achievement. (Applause)
Mr John Forster, in proposing a vote of thanks to Lord Stair and Lady Stair for coming there that night, and to Mrs Forster for performing the opening ceremony, referred to the great assistance they had received from all in their work.
The Chairman said he had forgotten to apologise for the late arrival of Lady Stair and himself owing to a breakdown and he regretted that the Countess had to leave again so suddenly as she had to attend a meeting at Castle Kennedy.
Letters of apology for absences were received by the secretary from- Messrs J Wallace of Cairnryan; K McDouall of Logan; A.F.M Frederick of Gass; and Major McMicking of Miltonise.
Never before, we are quite safe in saying, has a more enjoyable concert been held in New Luce. The artistes all acquitted themselves admirably and the various items in the programme were well received and heartily responded to. The first item on the programme was a …… by McKenzie’s band, which was loudly applauded. Owing to the late arrival of the professional artistes, through the train being late, the first part of the programme was somewhat unbalanced. The songs rendered by Mr R.M Douglas, Stranraer ( Comrades of Mine and The Sailor’s Grave ) were appropriate to the occasion, and the applause which greeted Mr Douglas ‘ efforts was sufficient indication of the appreciation of the audience. Mr J Johnson was to a very high degree successful in his singing of “The Battle of Stirling”, etc. and the same might also be said of Mr Alex McCaig. All these artistes had to respond to encores. Miss Nancy Mason at once established herself a firm favourite with her audience, and was heard to distinct advantage in several songs from her extensive repertoire, these including “ Sands o’ Dee”, “Sing ,Joyous Bird” “Skye Boat Song” and ”Wake Up”. Miss Rachel Lindsay also gave a meritorious performance. Although suffering from a severe cold, she sang in a manner which delighted her audience, and her efforts were loudly applauded. Her songs included, “Shepherd’s Cradle Song”, “When Swallows Homeward Fly” and “Break o’ Day”. Mr Alex Macgregor took the audience by storm, and following his rendition of “The Drum Major”, they, like Oliver Twist, asked for more. Mr Macgregor was only too willing to oblige, and his other songs had a similar reception. The lighter element of the entertainment was upheld by Mr Joe Rankin, who has only recently come into the public eye. His songs in character were very humorous, and his makeup was indeed splendid.
Mrs Letters I.R.A.M acted as accompanist in her usual efficient manner.
At the end of the programme, Mr Stair McHarrie, Rephad, proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Hall Committee, the result of whose work they sat her that night and which he was sure was a credit to them. When the people of New Luce conceived the idea of carrying out a scheme, they went about it with great enthusiasm and the hall scheme had been no exception. If he might name one person more than another, he would mention Mr John Forster, the energetic convener, who had carried through his work in a characteristically enthusiastic manner. He asked them to accord to the Hall Committee and all the committees a very hearty vote of thanks for the manner in which they had carried through their work. (Applause)
Mr Forster briefly replied.
The Chairman proposed a vote of thank to the artistes, which was replied to by Mr Macgregor.
Mr Forster proposed a similar complement to the chairman, and the latter, in his reply, said it had given him great pleasure to be present that night.
The concert closed with the singing of the National Anthem
A dance was held afterwards in the hall and a large number “tripped the light fantastic”.
THE ENGRAVED KEY USED AT THE OPENING CEREMONY WAS DONATED TO STRANRAER MUSEUM IN 2009 BY THE FORSTER FAMILY.