Under the floorboards!

Early in our journey the team made sure that test sites were opened up to check under the floors to review the foundations. Not only did this reveal old pitch pine floors and good sound ground works it also revealed some interesting pipe work.

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Verified by a retired local plumber this piping is the old gravity heating system . The pipe works were installed with some very clever use of ground levels to assist gravity to move warm air between rooms. This system was backed up with fireplaces in all the class rooms - big rooms to keep warm!

It appears also that many of the floors have not seen the light of day for a number of years. This can be testified by the workers who have been pulling back layer after layer of carpets and vinyl to unveil the original flooring.

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However not all the floors are wooden. Concrete flooring in the ‘59 block has seen the wee digger in to create the channels for the new pipe work .

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Wonder what these men ( picture below) would make of the works today. Certainly no handy wee diggers to help when they were building the extension in 1901 but plenty evidence of their building skills. This picture, along with many others our heritage group have been gifted, has been carefully stored in our growing archive of the social history of Oban.

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As the works continue it may appear to the outside world that little is changing but the rooms will all have new uses. Much of the activity which takes place in the huts will move to much bigger spaces in the main building. Imagine yourself at a yoga class or attending a workshop with light streaming in those lovely big windows and good sound floors beneath your feet.

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Exciting times ahead for this old building as it transforms and becomes a cultural/ community hub with something for everyone right in the heart of Oban.

In the meantime get involved with the many activities at the Huts and watch out for our open day next month this time with a “Stone” twist to it and hopefully some tours of the works site.

E MacKinnon