Bishop's Castle Town Hall restoration project to begin thanks to lottery support

3rd October 2012

Bishop's Castle Town Hall restoration project to begin thanks to lottery support The £676,800 grant means a total restoration of the grade II* listed building which, among other things will house a brand new visitor information centre.

The long awaited project to restore a much-loved Town Hall in Bishop's Castle, Shropshire can now begin, thanks to the confirmed grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) it was announced today. The Grade II* listed 18th Century building sits proudly at the centre of the town and was the civic, legal and economic heart of the town for over two hundred years. Now, in a move to secure its future it will be transformed into a fully accessible multi-use resource for the town - a ‘Gateway to Local History’ - and returned to the heart of the community. The project, to be run by the newly formed Bishop’s Castle Town Hall Trust (BCTHT) in partnership with local volunteers, will restore and conserve the building giving it an exciting and sustainable future. A monthly programme of activities and events for community groups and visitor guided tours will be offered, and new interpretation will bring the site alive to reveal the Town Hall’s history. In addition, there will be an exciting variety of training opportunities for local people, including work placements and heritage skills training programmes for young people in archive research, film-making, oral history and digitisation techniques. The Town Hall, which once housed the town’s gaol in the basement and criminal courts above the market hall, was built in 1750 to the designs of William Baker. Amongst the top 8% of nationally significant buildings of special architectural and historical interest, it was in use a magistrate’s court until the 1980s and today still houses the Council Chamber, Clerks office, and Coroner’s Court, while weekly and monthly markets thrive and provide a focal point for locals and visitors alike. Reyahn King, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands said: “We’re delighted to offer this grant which will bring the history and stories of Bishop’s Castle Town Hall alive for future generations. 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.” Cllr Keith Pinches, Mayor of Bishop’s Castle said: “Bishop’s Castle Town Hall is a very important building in our town’s heritage. The Town Council and our local partners have been working hard for many years on a renovation scheme and so we are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has approved our application.”

Bishop’s Castle Town Hall Trust (BCTHT) is made up of members from each of the three key partners involved in delivering the project: The Town Council, Bishop’s Castle Tourism Community Interest Company (BCTCIC) and Bishop’s Castle Heritage Resource Centre (BHCRC).