Almost exactly a century ago, local merchant John Hastie acquired a piece of land adjacent to the town centre of Strathaven, our historic Lanarkshire market town, and established a public park, which was gifted to our community. It’s still known as The John Hastie Park and rubs shoulders with a second park gifted to the townspeople, The George Allan Park, given by a Strathaven clergyman in memory of his son, who died in a tragic accident. Together, these parks have recently been voted best in Scotland.
But that’s another story! From his estate, John Hastie provided funds for the building of a Hall, to be a museum for the people of Strathaven. It became a prominent feature of The John Hastie Park, which it overlooked, and it operated until 2011, when South Lanarkshire Council closed the building, in an effort to save money. By this time, the John Hastie and Strathaven Collections had amassed thousands of items: perhaps they would be hidden away for good.
From the public outcry at the closure of Strathaven’s own museum there emerged a group of volunteers, who shared the vision and determination that a new museum must be established – a genuine community museum, fit for the 21st Century. Not only would this museum tell the ongoing story of Strathaven and its beautiful valley, Avondale (named after the River Avon which runs through it), but its volunteer team vowed to bring the artefacts in the John Hastie and Strathaven Collections out of the shadows (not all at once – there are too many!) so that the people of Strathaven and Avondale had the opportunity to see them, some of them shown for the first time.
And that’s what we do. The Strathaven John Hastie Museum Trust is a registered Scottish not-for-profit company. It is also registered as a Scottish Charity, number SC 043189. The website you are visiting is just one part of the work of our volunteer group.