The current Congleton Town Hall building first opened its doors to the public on 11th July 1866.
The earliest mention of a ‘Town Hall’ in Congleton is reference to a ‘Moot Hall’ in the 15th century. The Ancient timber framed hall (possibly the Moot Hall) was replaced in 1804-5 when the Corporation built a new brick and stone hall, with four stone columns which supported a covered passageway. The new building was known as the Guildhall, there was a large room where municipal business was transacted, a room for the imprisonment of debtors, a jury room and two arched dungeons. An assembly room and market was added in 1823.
The current Town Hall was built in 1864 and opened in July 1866. The impressive building was designed by Edward William Godwin and is based on his design of Northampton Town Hall. The Victorian Gothic building was built to impress and to reflect Congleton’s status. It has an imposing stone staircase and a court room on the first floor. On the ground floor there was a large hall for a variety of functions. The building still impresses people today! It embodies Italian and French Gothic design influences and the inside is equally dramatic with large two-storey Main Hall with exposed hammer beams, minstrels gallery and mansard ceilings. The building is grade 2* listed.
Until the Local Government re-organisation in 1974 Congleton Town Hall was owned and managed by the Congleton Urban District Council (responsible for Congleton Town only). In 1974 it transferred to Congleton Borough Council. A major refurbishment of £975,000 in 1996 saw most of the interior brought back to its original design. Congleton Town Hall Trust was established in 1998 to operate the facility at community level. Financial resources and local politics conspired against it and management soon reverted to the Borough Council.
In January 2007 Congleton Town Council moved its offices back to the Town Hall, this time leasing two rooms on the first floor. Later in the year it took over the second floor and converted storage space into two modern, fully DDA compliant offices. The ownership and freehold of the Town Hall transferred to the Town Council on 2nd June 2008.
Since this date the Town Council has completed the upgrading programme by refurbishing the Bridestones Suite, re-roofing most of the Town Hall complex and creating a Brasserie on the ground floor, refurbishing the bar and kitchen areas and introducing numerous energy efficiency improvements such as new boilers, draft excluders, LED lights etc.
As the Town Hall prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary the building is in good shape and as popular as ever.