In the expanding town of the 1840s, it was thought desirable to replace Bridgend’s old town hall, which stood on arches over the marketplace, with a new building large enough to hold public meetings and courts. Designed by a Swansea architect named Rayner, the building was erected on land donated by the Earl of Dunraven and is reported to have cost £1,450. The Justices of the Peace of the County of Glamorgan contributed £300 so that the basement storey could be fitted out as a Police Station House, while the remaining sum was raised through voluntary donations. A foundation stone was laid on 13 September 1843 by the Rt Hon John Nicholl, MP for Cardiff, and HM Judge Advocate General, and the completed building was handed over to the subscribers on 1 May 1845. The major internal space was a hall measuring 65 x 38 feet.
The building was used for a variety of purposes – court hearings, banquets, concerts, dramatic performances, political meetings and meetings of the townspeople. When Glamorgan County Council was established in 1889, the County Surveyor’s office was initially based there. The changed pattern of society after the Second World War robbed the building of much of its usefulness. As a result, the structure fell into disrepair. Despite a ‘Save the Town Hall’ campaign, it was demolished in 1971.
‘The Town Hall Fund’ remains active as a charitable trust. It administers income from the proceeds of the Town Hall’s sale, which may be applied for charitable purposes for the general benefit of the inhabitants of Bridgend. During the five years 2009 – 2013, it generated an average annual income of around £570.
David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer
- Mary Traynor Collection [D1093/2/1-2; D1093/2/6]
- Bridgend Town Hall Management Committee, minute book, 1845-1941 [DXS1]
- Bridgend Town Hall Management Committee, agreement to build Town Hall including specification and plans, 1843 [DXS4]
- Old Bridgend in Photographs (Commentaries by D. Glyn Williams) Pub. Stewart Williams, 1978