Aireborough Historical Society

1864 Town Hall Proposal Guiseley

Town Hall Proposal
Date 2nd July 1864
Location Guiseley
Photo ID

"Guiseley - A meeting presided over by Mr M W Thompson of Park Gate, was held in the Guiseley Church Schoolroom on Monday last, for the purpose of examining proposed plans, determining a site, and transacting any other necessary business in connection with a public building which it is intended to erect in this improving and important village.

    The building is to comprise, besides a lecture hall of sufficient dimensions to accommodate a fair proportion of the inhabitants who are likely to attend lectures, concerts or public meetings - offices for town and other public uses, news room, library, school-room, class-rooms and all appliances of a good mechanics institution.

     The site fixed upon is a portion of ground at the principal entrance to the village and opposite the Commercial Inn and is offered by Mr W Womersley (who is also a handsome subscriber) at a reduced price. The estimated cost of erecting the building, according to the proposed plans is about £2,500; but the subscribers expressed a wish to have these plans modified in some respects. Mr Thompson has promised, in aid of it's erection, the munificent sum of £1,000, and other gentlemen in Guiseley have given promises for about £500, thus making a present total of about £1,500"

Image reproduced by kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive, research by Edwy Harling


Further information by Christine Lovedale

Sir Matthew William Thompson was a generous benefactor to Guiseley, he paid the total cost of street lighting in 1866, equipped the brass band and paid most of the building costs of a new National school (now St Oswald's).

The Town Hall cost almost £3,000 to build, the bulk of which he paid, his daughter laid the foundation stone in 1866.

It was opened on December 26th 1867 with a performance of Handel's Messiah.

The Commercial Inn was renamed The Yorkshire Rose.


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