Cheltenham Town Hall is an early-20th century assembly rooms in Cheltenham, England. Unlike most town halls, it is a public venue and not the seat of the borough council, which is housed in the nearby Municipal Offices. It is a Grade II listed building.[1]

Cheltenham Town Hall
Cheltenham Town Hall
Coordinates51°53′50″N 2°04′40″W / 51.8972°N 2.0778°W / 51.8972; -2.0778
Built1903; 121 years ago (1903)
ArchitectFrederick William Waller
Architectural style(s)Classical style
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated5 May 1972
Reference no.1104376
Cheltenham Town Hall is located in Gloucestershire
Cheltenham Town Hall
Shown in Gloucestershire

History edit

In the 19th century the old Assembly Rooms in the High Street had been the main public venue for concerts in Cheltenham.[2] The old Assembly Rooms had been demolished to make way for a bank at the turn of the century.[2]

The foundation stone for the building was laid by Alderman Colonel Richard Rogers on 1 October 1902.[1] The building was designed by the Gloucester architect Frederick William Waller in the Classical style and built by the Cheltenham firm of Collins and Godfrey.[1] The total cost of the building, including internal decoration, fixtures and fittings, was around £45,000.[3] It was formally opened by Sir Michael Hicks Beach MP, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer whose family had long-standing connections with Cheltenham, on 5 December 1903.[3]

The design for the main frontage involved a large projecting arcaded Porte-cochère (i.e. gateway for horse-drawn coaches) at ground floor level.[1] It also involved a three-bay frontage with Corinthian order columns between each of the three windows at first floor level with a large pediment above containing an oculus.[1] Inside the building, the main hall, with Corinthian columns and coved ceiling, measures 92 by 52 feet (28 m × 16 m) and is 53 feet (16 m) high, with a capacity of 1,000 people.[3] The Pillar Room serves as a secondary performance area, with a capacity of 300 people;[4] to the left of the entrance hall, the Central Spa dispenses the waters from all the pump rooms of Cheltenham Spa.[3] The octagonal table and urns, which are of Doulton ware, are still in use.[3]

In 1916, two plaster-cast statues of King Edward VII and King George V in coronation robes, made by Messrs R. L. Boulton & Sons of Cheltenham, were placed in alcoves on either side of the main stage.[3] One was a gift from Mr. T. E. Whittaker and the other a gift from Messrs. Boulton themselves.[3] The town hall organ was also a gift, from Mr and Mrs Edward J. Burrow; it was made by Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool and was installed in 1928.[3][5]

When resident with the Royal Corps of Signals at the Moray House Hotel (now the Hotel du Vin) from 1943, Sir Norman Wisdom performed at the hall in Army charity concerts, after one of which actor Rex Harrison came backstage and urged him to turn professional.[6]

One of the episodes from series 35 of the BBC television series the Antiques Roadshow was filmed at the town hall in 2013.[7][8] It is now used for concerts, banquets, meetings, dances, balls, exhibitions, conferences and as one of the major homes of Cheltenham Festivals.[9] Plans were announced to refurbish the building in March 2017[10] but they were the put on hold pending further consideration of the different options in July 2018.[11]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e Historic England. "Town Hall, Cheltenham (1104376)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Past and Present". Cheltenham Town Hall. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "History Sheet" (PDF). Cheltenham Town Hall. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Cheltenham Town Hall Feasibility Study" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Local Organs". Gloucestershire Organists. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Plaque marks comic's time in forces". BBC News. 6 September 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Cheltenham Town Hall 1: Antiques Roadshow Series 35 Episode 18 of 25". BBC. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Mahatma Gandhi sculpture more than doubles Antiques Roadshow valuation at Salisbury auction". Antiques Trade Gazette. 5 June 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Cheltenham Town Hall". Cheltenham Festivals. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Competition: Cheltenham Town Hall". Architects Journal. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Council delays multi-million pound revamp of Cheltenham Town Hall and this is why". Gloucestershire Live. 16 July 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2020.

External links edit