The historic Forres Tolbooth, built in 1838 and at one time used as the local jail, was handed over to the Forres Heritage Trust when it was deemed surplus to requirements by Moray Council.
It took several years, however, before the Trust could do anything with the building and it was only in November last year that a community asset transfer gave them ownership of the listed structure.
Now a core group of ten Trust members have been redoubling the efforts they have made on working in the building for the past three years – with the result that the Tolbooth, which was once described as being in a perilous state, is well on the road to recovery.
Local councillor George Alexander, who is a director of the trust, said that there was “nothing stopping us” in turning the Tolbooth into a leading tourist attraction: “It is the camaraderie and the fact we are interested in the heritage that motivates us. Anybody under the age of 80 had not seen the inside of the place before we took it over – because the council never had it open.”
A photography exhibition is to be run in the Tolbooth from September 2 to 5, featuring shots from around the town. The Tolbooth is currently used for local community council meetings once a month but is also open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 2pm until 4pm.