The Town Hall, known as the new Guild Hall 150 years ago, is amongst the oldest buildings in Evesham, older buildings being the churches of All Saints and St. Lawrence, the Bell Tower, the Almonry, Abbot Reginald’s Gateway and the former Evesham Grammar School at Merstow Green, as well as the Round House next to the Town Hall.
Much of the early part of the Town Hall was constructed with stone from the former Evesham Abbey which was used as a ‘quarry’ upon the dissolution of the Abbey.
The Town Hall was erected circa 1585 and was at that time known as the ‘New Hall’. It was erected by Sir Edward Hoby, owner of the Abbey site and demesne, as well as almost the whole town at that period.
The ground floor contains semi-circular arches of the Elizabethan age and was previously used for a market and as a threshing floor when the market was not being held. One end of the ground floor was (until 1835) the borough jail with apartments for the jailer. By 1845 the arched ground floor was being exclusively used as a market and the area occupied by the gaol had become the municipal police station.
The upper floor of the Town Hall is gained by an iron staircase, described in 1845 as ‘modern and commodious’. A modern passenger lift was, however, installed in 2005. The Council Chamber was erected in 1728 by the two members of parliament at that time, Sir John Rushout, Bart., and John Rudge, Esq.
In 1833 and 1834 the whole structure was repaired and the wing enclosing the present staircase was added. The cost was met by subscription from members of the Corporation, and completed during the Mayoralty of Sir Charles Cockerell MP (whose portrait overlooks the staircase), who greatly contributed to the work.