December 2020

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 streamed live. 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 Wars.   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 surrounding areas.
Archive from 2013 Historic Interest
Remembrance at the Old Courthouse: an exhibition including the judicious use of black display boxes