The Stonehaven Tolbooth Association (STA) is delighted to hear that its plans for the 16th century building have received the go ahead from Aberdeenshire Council. The plans include a new extension there will be room for a further exhibition space, a function room or cafe – or a combination of all three. The ground floor will be reconfigured to give access through a different doorway. There may also be room for toilets and a staff canteen.
The Tolbooth, constructed in the late 1500s, is believed to be the oldest building in Stonehaven. It was built as a storage facility by George Keith, the 5th Earl Marischal and founder of Aberdeen’s iconic Marischal College, as he began work on an extension of the neighbouring Dunnottar Castle. When Stonehaven was named the county town in 1600, it began its life as the local tolbooth, courthouse and prison. The ground floor was the site of the prison and an exercise yard, and the first floor was home to the court. When new facilities were opened in 1767 to fulfil these functions, the Tolbooth entered a new era as a storage facility for grain, coal and lime until the mid-1900s. In dire need of repair, it was rebuilt in 1963 into a cafe and museum. The STA was formed after the building was closed down by its owners, Aberdeenshire Council, in 2011 and revived it as a free entry community facility. The local heritage museum is home to relics dating back to the Iron Age, as well as items from the history of the building itself.
Details of the plans are on the STA's website.