Cheer from the Courthouse
by Heather Williams
As members will recall, we held a RADCA Social/Quiz in the Old Courthouse about a year ago,
following the renovation during late 2019. Ruthin Town Council meetings started to be held and it
was anticipated that the building would be fully open to the public in Spring 2020.
Then, the coronavirus struck and the country went into full lockdown until July, bringing life to a
juddering halt. We then endured measures in October, then a second lockdown.
During the whole of 2020,
however, the Old Courthouse
Working Group has been
meeting regularly via Zoom (a
video communication channel
with which many of us have
become familiar) to progress
the use of the building. The
Working Group consists of the
Old Courthouse Manager,
Kate Harcus, some Ruthin
Town Councillors and other
people who have expertise to
assist in its development.
The manager and the town
clerk are now able to use the
space on the upper floor for
work, although some working
from home still continues. The
Town Council has not held any meetings there since March, but these take place via Zoom and are
Work has progressed on creating the heritage exhibition display stands, and the content is now
being being worked on, which will include information from the early inhabitants to the recent past.
The Old Courthouse Manager put together an application on behalf of Ruthin Town Council for a
Heritage Fund grant to support small-scale projects which help to connect communities with the
heritage of their local area. Ruthin Town Council has been successful in its application, so this
project will be under way imminently.
15 Munud Stori Rhuthun will explore four or five themes, which will bring to life the heritage of the
town, through sharing and creating stories, pieces of art, videos and digital resources for learning.
The project activities will be:
■ Virtual ‘Heritage Café’ sessions, with guest speakers, exploring and discovering the themes
chosen. Participants will find out more and or share their knowledge and experiences, which will
instigate mini community projects about each theme, creating digital resources: short videos, multi-
media art and written literature.
■ Five supported walking reminiscence sessions, with small groups within 15 minutes’ walk of the
Old Courthouse, gathering memories, stories and local people’s history on video, photos and audio.
■ Engagement with eight people from Ruthin living with dementia, individually or in small groups.
Personal reminiscence sessions and their own stories will be recorded.
■ Creative activities: writing, storytelling (in a stone circle or on walks around town) and applied art.
■ Training for volunteers and participants in creating videos on smart devices. The Old Courthouse
in the centre of the town would be the base for interactive sessions. This may be possible in early
2021, but regardless the space can be used for exhibitions, where the creative outputs will be
available to view.
The building has been open to the public for certain events during the autumn, with Covid-19
precautions and social distancing measures adhered to. Most notably the Old Courthouse was the
only building which could be visited for the Ruthin & District Open Doors Heritage event held
September 26th. More recently, the building hosted a ‘Cofio Remembrance’ exhibition for several
days from November 11th, which displayed the details of Ruthin soldiers who died in the Great
With Christmas just round the corner, ideas of brightening up residents’ lives have been thought
about. Ruthin Forward has organised a Santa’s Grotto for families & children on a pre-booked basis
on December 12th/13th at the Old Courthouse. Great demand for tickets has meant the group
having additional dates during the following weekend.
The Old Courthouse/Ruthin Town Council will also be supporting Denbighshire County Council’s
initiative ‘Light up Denbighshire’, by lighting up the building in a dynamic way. The County Council is
organising dynamic floodlighting of the eight towns/cities in the County. In Ruthin, the focus will be
on St Peter’s Square and St Peter’s Church.
These December activities will, hopefully, bring a bit of cheer to the residents in Ruthin and the
Remembrance at the Old Courthouse:
an exhibition including the judicious use
of black display boxes