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History of Evesham Town Hall

The Town Hall, known as the new Guild Hall 150 years ago, is amongst the oldest buildings in Evesham, older buildings being the churches of All Saints and St. Lawrence, the Bell Tower, the Almonry, Abbot Reginald’s Gateway and the former Evesham Grammar School at Merstow Green, as well as the Round House next to the Town Hall.

Much of the early part of the Town Hall was constructed with stone from the former Evesham Abbey which was used as a 'quarry' upon the dissolution of the Abbey.

The Town Hall was erected circa 1585 and was at that time known as the 'New Hall'. It was erected by Sir Edward Hoby, owner of the Abbey site and demesne, as well as almost the whole town at that period.

The ground floor contains semi-circular arches of the Elizabethan age and was previously used for a market and as a threshing floor when the market was not being held. One end of the ground floor was (until 1835) the borough jail with apartments for the jailer.  By 1845 the arched ground floor was being exclusively used as a market and the area occupied by the gaol had become the municipal police station.

The upper floor of the Town Hall is gained by an iron staircase, described in 1845 as 'modern and commodious'. A modern passenger lift was, however, installed in 2005. The Council Chamber was erected in 1728 by the two members of parliament at that time, Sir John Rushout, Bart., and John Rudge, Esq.

In 1833 and 1834 the whole structure was repaired and the wing enclosing the present staircase was added. The cost was met by subscription from members of the Corporation, and completed during the Mayoralty of Sir Charles Cockerell MP (whose portrait overlooks the staircase), who greatly contributed to the work.

The old Guildhall had been located near the present Workman Bridge, the word gild being the Saxon word for money. It falling into decay, the Booth Hall (now the National Westminster Bank) was used until the building of the current Town Hall.

The building was remodelled in 1885, and the Clock Tower erected in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The Clock Tower was refurbished early in 1998. The weather station on the north side of the Town Hall, the gift of the Reverend George Head of Aston Somerville at the end of the 19th century, was refurbished as a Millennium Project in 2000 at the instigation of the Vale of Evesham Civic Society which the support of Evesham Town Council.

In 1974 the Town Hall was taken over by Wychavon District Council as part of the re-organisation of Local Government, and was restored to the ownership of Evesham Town Council on 1 April 1995.  The Council Chamber has been used for Council meetings since its construction and is still used today.  The boards around the Chamber record all the Mayors since the granting of a Royal Charter to Evesham in 1604, and were restored in 2003.