Town Hall

Shotley Bridge’s impressive Town Hall reflects its importance in Victorian boom times when this attractive, bustling village was indeed referred to as a town.

Erected by the Shotley Bridge Town Hall Company in 1860, it is a classic example of Victorian neo Gothic architecture. It was built by Smith & Son from sandstone with a Welsh slate roof. The heads on the four corners of the tower are said to represent local personalities alive in 1860. Dr Renton and Joshua Lax being two of the people.

Rose Villa, which stands opposite, was the home of the town hall’s architect John Smith.

The town hall became an important focus of community life with the establishment of Benfieldside Local Board in 1868, with meetings held on the third Wednesday in each month. Other offices in the building were used by an architect, a solicitor and the registrar of the County Court.  The district administered by the Board was nearly co-extensive with the Benfieldside Township, which included Blackhill, Shotley Bridge and Snows Green.

In 1872, when the council offices moved to Blackhill, the premises were converted to a Lloyds Bank with manager’s residence.

Some time later, the huge concert hall on the top floor (used for dances, concerts, weddings and other functions) together with the offices beneath were converted into flats.

Lloyds Bank closed in 1984/5. Most of the ground floor was then converted for use by the Shotley Bridge Nursery School. Opened in 1991, it was the first private nursery in Derwentside.

After the nursery moved to Blackhill in 2015 the ground floor was also converted to flats.