The Town Hall and Corn Exchange were built in 1871. There had been three earlier town halls dating from the 13th century. All had been in the middle of the marketplace.
A new town clock was given to the town in 1862 and the cupola of the 1786 town hall was much altered to accommodate the clock. However, the changes made the building unstable, and it was decided to build a new town hall, including a large and impressive clock tower.
The Victorian town hall is in Italianate Byzantine style using red brick, Bath stone and terracotta. It took 12 months to build at a cost of £4,000.
Over time the main Corn Exchange hall has been used for a wide variety of events, including cinema, roller-skating and even a lion show with live lions!
More Heritage Trail Locations
A casual glance at this wonderful brick frontage suggests that the house is Georgian. However, look more carefully and you will see that it has four bays on the second floor, five bays on the first floor and six bays on the ground floor. The re-fronting was added to an ancient timber-frame house, probably in 1710.
The Bear is one of the grand coaching inns of England, with a long and rich history. It is thought to have developed a lodging house for the adjacent medieval Priory of St John (see War Memorial) which was founded by 1232. There is documentary proof of its use as a Hospice in 1464.
The brick bridge over the Kennet and Avon canal was designed by John Rennie and built in 1799. For the first 100 years of its life, it carried nothing heavier than horses and wagons. Through the 20th century and onwards, however, it has had to support increasingly heavy vehicles.