State Theta Galleries was originally built by the Heritor (Lord Hopetoun) to serve as a Parish School. Mention in the title deeds shows the land being purchased in 1775. (Before this the school was held in the adjoining ‘ Old School House’).
Extracts from a compilation by Mr David Fleming, Stanley Place, Ormiston
There is a mention in 1817 when William Begg was schoolmaster; he was married to Isabella Burns – Robert Burns’s sister.
She is buried in Ormiston Kirk yard.
In 1889 the Parish School was acquired by the kirk to use as a Church Hall. The price was £150. The old pantile roof was taken off and blue Ballahulish slates were fitted. The old interior woodwork was also removed and pitch pine wainscoting fitted.
The Church Hall was, until relatively recently, the hub of village social life. That is for one half of the village folk, for in 1843 the Church of Scotland split and the Free Kirk folk built their own kirk and hall in the village in George St. These buildings were demolished when the kirk was reunited in 1937.
Over the years The Church Hall hosted many talks, lectures, soirees and dances.
5th February 1869 on the Friday evening, a lecture was delivered by Mr Charles Ormiston in the schoolroom. The subject: 'The sea of Life'. The lecture was replete with information and interest because of the well known talents of the lecturer. The school was full to overflowing.
December 30th 1881. On Friday last the children attending the public school presented their teachers Miss Gregson and Miss McGill with shortbread and oranges.
September 23rd 1892. A sale of work was held for the purpose of raising funds for a piano for the Parish Church Hall. £20 needed; £30 raised.
December 27th 1907. Bowling club concert held in Parish Church Hall. Funds for a more commodious building. Many entertainers present including Davie Murray (violin).
In 1914 when war broke out there was a rush to join up. Two officers from the Gordon Highlanders came to the Church Hall to sign men on. The minister was in attendance and after 19 young men had signed on the minister called a halt. It was a very small village. 40 of the village men were killed in the conflict and many more were wounded.
1922. Wedding receptions too were held there. Archie Christie and Lizzie McLaren posed for photographs outside.
In 1926when the general strike took place, children in need had a breakfast there before going to school.
The Church Hall became less used after the building of the local village hall and was sold to its current owners in 2005.