History of The John McLintock Hall

John McLintock

The man who gave his money and his name to Balfron’s Village Hall was something of an enigma. John McLintock was born in Balfron and lived at the foot of the village in Abbotsford with his wife Betsy and two children, Polly and Jenny.

His family had a confectionery business in Glasgow but it appears he did not go into the family business but instead dealt in stocks and shares. He has been much praised as a benefactor and entrepreneur; but according to his only surviving niece he met with mixed reactions from his peers. Perhaps it was John McLintock’s very generosity which engendered suspicion. As well as financing the building of the Hall, he also established the bowling green at the bottom of the village and, on his death in 1930, left money in a fund for the poor of the Village and to hospitals in Glasgow. There is no doubt John McLintock had the vision and drive to see his schemes through.

Old Village Hall (Blown Down in 1918)

“Second To No Village”

In July 1916 he made a proposition to Balfron’s minister the Reverend George Turner (who also happened to be Mr McLintock’s son-in-law) and the village headmaster Mr Robert Sewell. The proposal was to hand over to a committee the building known as the Public Hall along with nearby property plus £500 to erect a new hall building.It took seven years for the proposal to be realised as building had to be delayed owing to the Great War. By that time Mrs.Beddie’s shops still occupied the Buchanan Street/Dunmore Street corner site.

Mrs Beddie's Shop (Alex Fraser Collection courtesy of Balfron Heritage Group)

When the hall was completed at a cost of £10,000 it was of the best quality. It had a coal powered generator for electric power and such good facilities that newspapers reporting the opening of the Hall on 13th June 1923 stated that it made Balfron “second to no village in its ability to meet the social, recreational and educational needs of the community”.

The McLintock Hall met the more formal “educational needs of the community” when Balfron High School was so overwhelmed with evacuees during the Second World War

The Clydebank Blitz

A Matter Of Trust

The Hall was left in Trust to be administered by a group of trustees nominated from village organisations. Many of these organisations no longer exist or have altered greatly; but the present Trustees still aim to meet the social, recreational and educational needs of the community as envisaged in the early days. With that in mind, the far-sighted Trustees of the early 1990s saw the need for radical change and set about the ambitious refurbishment which incorporated the social and recreational aspects of the hall with business outlets at street level.

Not all the necessary work could be afforded at that time – despite generous assistance from Stirling District Council – and it was only in 2004 that funds were available to re-slate the roof, install a lift to improve access to the first floor and general redecoration of the halls themselves. This is a real “Forth Bridge” process as it never seems to end.