Brackley Town Hall was commissioned by Scroop Egerton, who was the 4th Earl of Bridgewater, he later went on to become the Marquess of Brackley. It was built with an open ground floor to be used as a market for the local wool and lace trades, with a stairway up to an enclosed first floor used for civic events.
The Town Hall was placed in the middle of the two fairly separate areas of town, Lower and Upper Brackley. It was hoped that the Town Hall would link the two ‘halves’ of Brackley. One of the themes of the restoration is to echo this original aim of the building in linking communities by involving new residents to Brackley in all the activities surrounding the regeneration so everyone who lives in Brackley feels linked to the building when it reopens in 2018.
Brackley Town Hall was built by Scroop Egerton, 4th Earl of Bridgewater, for Brackley Corporation. The original building contract of 19th September 1704, survives and names John Wootton, a local Brackley mason, as the builder, working to a draft or drawing. He was to build a new town hall or Market House for the town which would be 4 bays long, 2 storeys high with an additional attic with an impressive clock tower.
Brackley Town Hall Opened. Features of the 1706 building:
The Rev J Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement, records in his journal “Returning through Brackley (from Banbury) I was informed that notice had been given of my preaching there at nine in the Town Hall: So I began without delay. The congregation was large and attentive but seemed to understand me no more that if I had been talking Greek”
Ground floor still flagged flooring except perhaps the Constables Room might have been paved differently. External walls mostly as 1704 except for the infilling in the North West corner for prisoner cells and Constables Room which is likely to have been in brick but possibly stone.
Ground floor still flagged flooring. Railings and windows infilling the arcade, creating the enclosed lower hall we know today.
First Floor – “Church Pew” panelling was introduced as a new element to replace damaged or “old-fashioned” existing panelling. The new panels were made from the old church pews from the parish church.
Original building extended by Francis Egerton (Great-Great Nephew of Scroop Egerton, who built the original building).
Features of the Victorian Extension:
New Fire Escape introduced on the outside of the building as the County Council had ‘refused to give Licence for theatricals set to a place that did not have two staircases’ (letter from Brackley Council, 1898). This also meant turning one of the windows in the Upper Hall into a door.