The Making of Dalbeatties Award Winning Museum



First Meeting with The British Legion

Left to right (back row,) Donald Henderson, Billy Wood, Stan Norman, Tommy Henderson.          

(front) Mr Fiddes, Niven Parker, Angus Roberson, Stanley Hart.

This picture was taken when Dalbeattie Museum signed a lease from the British Legion to rent the building that was to become Dalbeattie Museum on Southwick Road, Dalbeattie. This was in 1989. The lease was signed for 15 years. 


Old Dalbeattie Museum Building

  R. Gray & Son now Dalbeattie Museum Building









 Dalbeattie Museums New Home                                                       The Original Shop owned by Mr R Gray & Son


The building that Dalbeattie Museum had agreed to lease used to be the store for a corner shop. Mr R Gray and Son owned the shop and store, it was a grocers shop. In later years the store part of the shop was made separate from the front part and it was at this time the British Legion bought it for their storage requirements.

This old store room now had to be turned into a museum Dalbeattie could be proud of and in 1989 the work began. Mr John Harding was the architect and project manager for the whole build and it was his ideas and forsight that the loyal band of volunteers followed to the letter.

The building was in a poor state and had lots of woodworm, dry rot, old plumbing, out of date electrics.

Front Door to store

First walk round building

old wooden staircase














Getting to work

Mr Billy Wood Working on new alterations













 Mr John Harding and Tommy HendersonBack room









Doorway into museum

    Mr Stan norman










 Back roomKitchen area





After 3 years of major alterations the museum began  to take shape and the end was in sight.


Toomy Henderson taking up the floor

Glass case










Once all the rooms were ready to be painted, it was decided that it would be nice to have a Dalbeattie scene on the wall that the Granite Industry was to be displayed. Erica Graham drew a mural of Dalbeattie Parish church looking out towards Craignair Quarry.

Erica Graham












Unfortunaley, you can no longer see this in the museum due to water damage from the roof and then dry rot in the wood. This area is now a small works garage.



New Staircase










The small amount of money that the museum had to spend on the alteration was now beginning to run out, it was suggested to raise funds people might like to buy a tred on the new staircase. This was a great idea as the treds sold very quickly and raised funds that the volunteers could carry on with other changes required.

Once the carpet was cleaned and hoovered, it was ready to be put down. Donald Henderson and Billy Wood made a good job of hoovering out in the street.

Hoovering the underlay



Billy Wood and Tommy Henderson Hoovering














A few days before the museum opened the shop was built, it was hoped that this would generate some money for the museum to continue far into the future. In the shop could be found framed local pictures of Dalbeattie, locally produced tablet and marmalade, pens and Galloway Bull Mugs. Homemade carfts, such as knitted items were also available.

shop in the museum

On the 4th April 1993 the Dalbeattie Museum Trust Ltd was opened by its founder and now chairman, Mr Tommy Henderson. After a small speech where Tommy thanked all his volunteers for their hard work and dedication to this project. Tommy also thanked everyone who had donated money to the museum. A small prayer was given by Reverend Dobie. A good crowd had formed to watch Tommy cut the red ribbon marking the museum officially open and ready for business.

Tommy Henderson cutting the ribbon

Tommy Henderson making small speech








Volunteers and friends of the museum








Once inside visitors were given guided tours of the building and refreshments.   Dalbeattie Museum opening- Tommy Henderson                                               








John Harding, Billy Wood, Tommy Henderson, Bob Rosser enjoying some Champagne!


John Harding opening bottle with Tommy Henderson









It was a very proud day for all involved in the making of Dalbeattie Museum.


Staying true to the museums moto of "Don't just look back but also forward", Tommy was always thinking of ways to improve the museum. So when the shop (then Hewats Estate Agents) at the front of the museum building was up on the market, Tommy and his committee decided that they should use the money that Mr Jack Benson had bequest  to the museum the year before, and purchase the shop and transfere the building back to the way it had been in previous years. The original door was knocked through making the museum double in size and giving a lot more display opportunities.New Museum Entrance 2009

Tommy Henderson once again cut the ribbon on the new building in April 2009.

On this day over 200 visitors came to see the new alterations and displays. Tommy Henderson cutting the ribbon

Dalbeattie Museum continues to grow and evolve over the years.



Main Display



This is just a tiny insight into the making of Dalbeattie Museum. Tommy and Donald Henderson give a very informed talk and presentaion on this subject and many more, so if you would like to learn more about Dalbeattie Museum Trust Ltd and what it took to become a very special museum in the South West of Scotland please contact us on