History of the Halls
Mr Alexander Gordon of Glen Girnoc who made a fortune as a brewer In London gave the Victoria and Albert Halls to Ballater. The Albert Hall was opened in 1875 and the Victoria Hall and Gordon Institute in 1895, all built by the local firm of William Duguid and Sons. The Halls were managed by a board of trustees comprising ex officio the local ministers, doctor, headmaster, bank manager and four rate payers. The complex provided a reading room, billiard room, function rooms, council chamber and armoury. The ground floor of the Albert Hall was let to the post office where it stayed for more than a century.
The Trust managed the Halls until 1984 when it assumed the role of landlord to the Victoria and Albert Halls Development Association which oversaw necessary refurbishments. The buildings were reopened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1987. They continued to serve the community as a meeting place and also housed the library and a Cairngorms National Park Authority office for another 30: years.
The Halls needed extensive repairs and improvements and in order to be able to access as many fund and grant giving bodies as possible the Trust decided to become a Scottish Incorporated Charitable Association to combine ownership and accountable management and this was achieved in 2012. Since then a great deal of work has taken place to improve the facilities and bring heating and insulation up to current standards. The Halls continue to afford accommodation for many village activities including meetings, playgroups, indoor bowls, history group, clubs, music, arts & crafts and horticultural shows.
Aberdeenshire Library has moved to the Old Station and the space it used to occupy is now the Ballater Community and Heritage Hub which helps to coordinate village events and activities.