The building was officially opened on 14th June 1889 by HRH the Duchess of Albany, Queen Victoria’s daughter-in-law, who was the widow of the Queen’s youngest son Prince Leopold.
The Town Hall was, for over 85 years, home to local government in Trowbridge as well as housing the local Magistrates Court, Coroner’s Court and County Court.
It was also a major public venue for all kinds of cultural and civic occasions, everything from the public and private meetings of local societies, both cultural and political to rehearsals and performances. These included local amateur and semi-professional dramatic societies, choirs orchestras, professional theatre, music hall, early cinema and many music concerts and dances covering big band, jazz, disco, ‘rock ‘n roll’ and the famous Top Twenty Club.
During the war years The Town Hall was at the centre of the local war effort and members of the armed forces and scores of refugees and evacuees were made to feel respected and welcome. They were entertained royally at the Town Hall especially over Christmas and New Year.
Live performances sadly came to an end with the introduction of more stringent Fire Safety regulations which meant that the building was no longer deemed suitable for public performance. This, coupled with the major re-organisation of local government, who had moved out of the building in the mid-seventies, meant that the building had to be repurposed. Around 1975 it became the home of the District Magistrates Court for a further 30 years until it was converted into a specialist Coroner’s Court for service personnel coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan via RAF Lyneham.
When RAF Lyneham closed in 2012 a public meeting was held with a view to restoring the building for public use. Trowbridge Town Hall Trust was formed and with the support of Trowbridge Area Board agreed a lease with Wiltshire Council and a team of volunteers rolled up their sleeves to begin restoring the building.
This information was put together by one of our volunteers, Gill Cooper. Gill has a real passion for Trowbridge and its history, and runs the Historic Trowbridge Facebook group.