In 1765, the Town Hall at Bishop’s Castle Town in Shropshire was built to replace an ancient guildhall described as being “in a ruinous state”.
© Bishop's Castle Council
Nearly 250 years on, following a lengthy campaign by supporters and the town council, a bid to save the hall – which houses a Council Chamber, Clerk’s Office and Coroner’s Court, and is seen by local residents as the emblem of the town – has won more than £676,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Grade II-listed landmark will now be turned into a multi-faceted heritage venue for Bishop’s Castle, working under the project title of a Gateway to Local History.
And many of the people involved in saving it through a series of fundraising events ranging from gigs to auctions will be involved in the accompanying programme of activities.
“The Town Council and our local partners have been working hard for many years on the renovation scheme,” says Councillor Keith Pinches, the local Mayor.
“The Town Hall is a very important building in our town’s heritage, so we are delighted that the HLF has approved our application.”
The building already acts as a focal point for weekly markets. Used as a magistrate’s court until the 1980s, it has been recognised in the top 8% of buildings holding national value for “special architectural and historical interest”.
“The grant will bring the history and stories of Bishop’s Castle Town Hall alive for future generations,” believes Reyahn King, the Head of the Fund in the West Midlands.
“The restoration should offer a welcome boost to tourism in the area, support the market tradition, and offer local people a chance to get involved in the future protection of this iconic building.”