A brief History

Bourne Town Hall has been at the centre of life in the town for almost 200 years, here are the highlights!


Built by public subscription on land donated to the town by the Marquis of Exeter by deed of Gift. Opened in 1821, the building provided for Petty and Quarter Sessions and also for a covered market.


This is the earliest known image of Bourne Town Hall by local engraver and printer William Sang.


Bourne Town Hall became the home of the fire brigade with the horse drawn fire pump housed in the northern arch of the building, with the Shambles eventually providing stables for the horses.


The Town Hall clock dial was updated with a white opal glass face illuminated by gaslight.

“The illuminated dial of the clock gives universal satisfaction”, said the Stamford Mercury. “The new clock is a decided improvement for which the parish councillors may justly claim credit.”


As the Saturday market closed on October the 31st, fire broke out in the clock tower. Although the fire brigade were to hand,  the tower was destroyed and never replaced. Later a new dial was installed on the pediment as we see it today.

1933 - 1990

From the 1930s to the 1990s the building remained largely unchanged. The fire brigade relocated in 1946 and the Shambles became a store for the market stalls.  In 1974 the courtroom was reduced in size to create a larger waiting area.

1992 - present day

In 1992 a new extension was added at the rear of the building and the Shambles was converted into office accommodation and a cash office for the District Council. The Magistrates Court ceased operation in 2008 and in 2014 the council relocated to its present location at the Corn Exchange. The building has been unoccupied since that time.

References and images courtesy of Rex Needle