Old Luton Town Hall

Current Location

Luton Borough Council
Town Hall
United Kingdom




http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/CommunityAndLiving/ArchivesAndRecordOffice/ArchivesAndRecordOffice.aspx , 20th February 2014
The Town Hall about 1900

William Austin in his 1928 book The History of Luton and its Hamlets wrote the following about the Town Hall: "A small Company was formed this year for the purpose of erecting a Town Hall, and, on the 27th August, 1847, the new building was opened". The entry for Luton in the Post Office Directory for Bedfordshire for 1847 says: "A handsome new Town Hall is now in the course of erection at the junction of the Dunstable and Bedford roads". Slater's Directoryfor Bedfordshire of 1850 states: "The town hall erected in 1848, in George-street, is a handsome and commodious building, comprising convenient apartments for the use of the county courts, and savings bank, with rooms for public lectures, concerts &c. - the entire forming a valuable improvement to the town".

Austin went on: "The cost of the ground and of the building was £2,200. It consisted of a basement under the front portion of the main building. On the ground floor on either side of the entrance were two good-sized rooms; one rented by the Luton Literary Institution and the other reserved for small meetings. Behind these was a fair-sized room with a small ante-room. In this larger room the Police and County Courts sat; the small room adjoining it served for witnesses".

"It was in the smaller room that the Savings Bank carried on its useful business for many years. On the first floor, approached by a broad staircase, was a large assembly hall, which was available for public meetings and entertainments".

"We do not think the Town hall Company ever paid its shareholders a dividend, and when, some thirty years later, it was purchased by the Town Council they were agreeably surprised to receive back in full the amounts they had contributed towards the erection of the building".

A letter in the Bedfordshire Times of 28th August 1847, dated 23rd August 1847, from "an Inhabitant of Long-Standing" struck a rather querulous note and one with slight similarities to the destruction of the building just under seventy two years later: "Sir, - As our Town Hall is nearly ready for the public service, I trust the opportunity will not be allowed to pass without some public demonstration being made, having for its object the promotion of a friendly feeling among ourselves, and for securing a more adequate appreciation of the trade and commerce of Luton among our neighbours. Would not a public dinner be the most appropriate method of securing these objects? The Marquis of Bute would probably take the chair, and invitations might be sent to the county members, and other influential gentlemen, whose presence is thought to be desirable. Whatever is done in this way should take place before the building is appropriated to its destined uses. On this account I am sorry that a County Court is to be held there this week, as the Hall will thus be associated in the minds of many with legal proceedings and compulsory payments, which, (although necessary measures) accord so sadly with these hard times".

Object Location

The Town Hall about 1900

Author: David

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