Ham Girnal, Caithness

Proposal to repair, conserve and redevelop a large former 18th century grain store as a Cultural Hub for the Creative and Performing Arts, in the North Highlands.

The Project

Ham Girnal is located in Caithness in the far North East of Scotland. This category ‘B’ listed building is redundant and at risk. Constructed in the first half of the 18th century  as a three storey ‘girnal’ or grain store, it was later converted to a mill with an additional storey, a kiln and a mill added around the turn of the 19th century.

The extension of the original building highlights the growth of the export industry from Caithness. However, it ceased to be used as intended around the turn of the 20th century. The internal floors of the building were removed, in the mid 20th Century, and the building has become derelict and is now extremely vulnerable.

An Options Appraisal was undertaken to investigate potential new uses for this significant building and the preferred option was to conserve and repair the existing fabric and develop the building as a ‘Cultural Hub for the Performing Arts’ providing flexible practice rooms, recital space, study space for creative users to partake in seminars, workshops and summer schools.  

Residential accommodation will be provided in a new building adjacent to the ‘girnal’ to complement the existing building.

SHBT will be taking this development project forward in 2011/2012 and are currently preparing funding application to raise the capital cost of £4 million.

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