Royal Wootton Bassett’s Town Hall is probably the best known landmark in the town. The Grade II Listed Building was originally built around 1690 by Lawrence Hyde MP, later Earl of Rochester, as a gift to the town. The half timbered upper storey is supported on 15 stone pillars. Below the area which is currently open, was originally a store room for market goods and a lock-up known as a Blind House, in which drunks were detained overnight. The Wilts and Berks Canal Company held its first meeting in the Town Hall in 1793. Lock-ups fell out of use when the County Police Act was introduced in 1839 and local police stations were built with their own secure cells. Across the country lock-ups became redundant and only a small fraction have survived. The upper floor of building is currently used as a museum and the space below is occupied my traders on market days.
The Old Town Hall came to international prominence in recent years as the backdrop to the repatriation ceremonies that took place in the town in commemoration of the 345 service personnel who lost their lives in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We have just completed project managing the quinquennial repairs to the building. The works included repairs to the roof covering, external walls and several of the stone columns upon which the building sits. The render and the exposed sections of the timber frame have been redecorated. A new fire alarm has also been fitted to the upper floor.