Why are we here, how did we get here and what are we about?

The Friends of the Old Town Hall came into being in November 2014. A number of people who had been inside the Old Town Hall (trespassing, it has to be said!) posted online their photographs of the interior, and these were picked up by a number of people interested in historic buildings.

Anyone who saw them would have realised that the building was suffering serious deterioration, beyond what might be expected just from years of lying empty. The OTH had already featured in 2008 in a list of the nation’s most endangered Victorian buildings, drawn up by the Victorian Society, a national charity.

Around this time Locality, a national support organisation for community groups, was setting up its 2014-15 CADO project – Community Assets in Difficult Ownership. This so obviously described the OTH that an approach led to its being designated as one of ten demonstration projects. The Friends are grateful to Locality for their support, which allowed us to get the organisation off the ground.

Our interests also go beyond the Old Town Hall itself, though that is the most important issue right now. We are also concerned to stimulate the regeneration of the area immediately surrounding the OTH, which contains numerous buildings of interest.

Who we are

The officers are

  • Valerie Bayliss – chair
  • Brian Holmshaw – joint secretary
  • Joy Bullivant – joint secretary
  • Neil Berry
  • Janet Ridler
  • Rebecca Bell
  • Sarah Hardy

We have a growing number of registered supporters, who receive our regular e-newsletters. We would be delighted if you would join us. It’s easy and free – we don’t charge a subscription. Click here to sign up.

We have a constitution, which can be read here.

Our strategy and plans can be read here.