From the Town Hall: Community hub with a long, rich history
The spotlight this month is on Wells Town Hall, which has been at the heart of the community for more than 200 years
RIGHT at the heart of the City of Wells lies the Town Hall. Majestic in its stance and brimming with history, Wells Town Hall is a community hub playing host to some of the most diverse groups around. From ballet to music with mummy, as well as offering space for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and various other community groups.
Run by a wealth of experienced and approachable members of staff including long standing officer Kevin Westwood, Wells Town Hall offers services to the city including civil marriages. For those who wish to have a non-religious ceremony or simply wish to hold their special day against a beautiful backdrop then it is available to hire. As well as this there is a public entertainment licence, a bar, kitchen and plenty of space to hold your event. Over the years members of the public have organised dinner dances, charity galas, and even exercise classes. There is a lift for those less able to walk, with the building designed to allow for wheelchair access all around, whilst still maintaining its main historical features.
It’s not just the main hall, however, which gets to have all of the fun. Other locations including the Parkes Room and the historic Mayor’s Parlour are among many of the smaller avenues of the large building. The Mayor’s Parlour in particular has welcomed many of the city’s guests including hierarchy from our twinned cities; it is also where the mayor will host many of their own guests over their year wearing the coveted gold chains.
How could we forget the fact that Wells Town Hall is where Wells City Council have their weekly Council meetings? To many it may seem laborious but they are essential for the day to day running of the city. Without these meetings they would not be able to discuss budgets, delegate roles and ensure our city is still something to be proud of. The offices for the town clerk, finance officer and manager of the building are also at the centre of the building, as well as a receptionist on hand to deal with any questions.
As for the history, well it was built back in 1778 to replace what was the Market and Assize Hall. It wasn’t until later down the line in 1861 when the Porch and Arcade were added, with 1932 seeing the addition of the Balcony and Round Windows. A refurbishment in 1998 saw the Council Chambers and Parkes Room added as well as a licence being granted for civil ceremonies. Until recently Wells Town Hall also had its own city jail as well as a court room. The jail has not been in use for a number of years, however the court room has recently been converted to allow for more groups and activities.