Cheltenham Town Hall is now home to an impressive all year round programme of major festivals, entertainment, exhibitions and functions. Built in 1902-1903 as a venue for social events, it replaced the Assembly Rooms on the High Street, which had been demolished to make way for a bank. Interestingly, unlike most Town Hall's, this grand building in Cheltenham was not built as the seat for a Borough Council, which is instead found in the Municipal Offices across the road on the Promenade.
The site of the Town Hall was originally part of Imperial Square and Gardens, the former pleasure gardens of the then Sherborne Spa. The imposing facade faces Regency terrace townhouses to the front, and the Imperial Gardens at the rear, giving it a green and leafy location. Designed by Gloucester Architect Frederick William Waller, in the fashionable Baroque style during the reign of Edward VII. The cost of the building is believed to be £45,000 and it was opened on the 5th December 1903 by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Michael Hicks Beach MP who has many connections with Cheltenham.
In 1906 in an attempt to revive Cheltenham’s fortunes as a spa town, a new Central Spa serving four different kinds of medicinal waters was installed at the Town Hall.
The building itself featured a coved ceiling over the main ballroom hall, measuring 92 x 52ft. This central room, around which the rest of the building radiates, can seat 1,000 people. The smaller chambers, running parallel to the main room, have a multitude of uses, and have their own architectural features you can spot. Just to the left of the entrance hall, you will find a small chamber which features an octagonal counter with mounted Doulton ware urns, all of which are still in use to dispense the Cheltenham Spa Waters. The same chamber also currently houses a knitted poppy diaply, cascading from the ceiling down onto the platform.
In 1916, statues of Edward VII and George V in coronation robes were both cast in plaster, and placed in the alcoves at either side of the main stage. The stage also featured an organ gifted in 1928. All three of these ornaments were donated by wealthy Cheltenham families.
To check out the highlights of the festivals, events and live performances you can experience at Cheltenham Town Hall scroll down. For a full list of events check out our What's On Guide.
The Town Hall is in Imperial Square just off Montpellier.