Bourne Town Hall Trust in Partnership with Heritage Lincolnshire secures Support from The National Heritage Lottery Fund

The Old Town Hall: Arts in the Heart of Bourne

Bourne Town Hall Trust has received initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the heritage regeneration project titled “The Old Town Hall: Arts in the Heart of Bourne” it was announced today.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to restore and bring back fully into use the Grade II listed Bourne Town Hall. The project aims to create a vibrant community hub open to all that celebrate the arts: serving and entertaining the people of Bourne, and visitors to the region.

Development funding of £316,344 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help Bourne Town Hall Trust progress their plans to sufficient detail to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date. The project has also received additional match funding support from the Architectural Heritage Fund.

We will progress plans to conserve and repurpose Bourne Town Hall, to ensure that it has a viable and sustainable use in the future. We will work with volunteers to develop a programme of research and activities. These pilot activities will help Bourne Town Hall Trust plan in detail the capital phase of the project. We aim to keep the community at the heart of the project at Bourne Town Hall.


Commenting on the award, trustee, Charles Houseago said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. Our small team of volunteers have worked tirelessly over the past five years to get to this point, it’s great to know that we are a step closer to achieving our vision.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “Investing in heritage means investing in the community it belongs to, which is why we are proud to support Bourne Town Hall Trust to create a community arts centre, thanks to National Lottery players. This will not only preserve this important heritage to be enjoyed by locals and visitors from further afield but will also play a significant role in boosting the local economy and aiding the wider regeneration of Bourne.”

Matt Bentley from Heritage Lincolnshire added “Heritage Lincolnshire are extremely excited to supporting the development phase of this wonderful project.

The vison of the Bourne Town Hall Trust to turn this property into an accessible community asset represents a new lease of life for this iconic building and a great opportunity for the wider town. We look forward to supporting the trust through the next stage of delivery in creating a lasting legacy for Bourne”.

Notes to editors

About the Old Town Hall

One of the most impressive civic buildings in Bourne, the construction was funded by Brownlow Lord Burghley the 2nd Marquis of Exeter to the town, along with a sum of 100 guineas through private subscription by 123 members. The plot of land was gifted by the Marquis together with a contribution to the costs of construction.

Built to replace the original town hall, one of the oldest buildings in Bourne and described as ‘ancient’ in 1586 by historian William Camden and as ‘dilapidated’ by 1821, Brownlow directed that some of the material pulled down during the demolition of the first hall should be recovered and used in the current Hall’s construction. During recent works the removal of plasterboard on the ground floor revealed irregularly coursed stone walls which are believed to be this reclaimed stone.

The original design of the Hall included a central clock tower faced with a domed copper dial; the clock face and its accompanying mechanism were designed by Thwaites and Reeds of London, supposedly the oldest clock manufacturing company in the world.

The building was originally used to house the Petty and Quarter sessions on the first floor, alternating hosting responsibilities with Sleaford, while the ground floor, which has a series of multiple open bays onto the alleyways either side of the building, housed shops and a covered market locally known as ‘The Shambles’.

In 1890 the ground floor became the station of the fire brigade, the horse drawn fire pump housed in the northern ground floor arch of the building with the Shambles bays eventually converted into individual stables for the horses. In 1900 the copper clock face was replaced for one of white opal and a series of gaslights were installed to illuminate the face. However, on October 31st 1933 a fire broke out in the clock tower as the clock’s gaslight mechanism was contained within the wooden tower. Despite the valiant efforts of the fire brigade the tower was completely destroyed and has never been replaced, instead a clock face was installed on the pediment. The fire brigade relocated in 1946 and the Shambles became a store for market stalls. In 1974 the courtroom was reduced in size to create a smaller second courtroom and a larger waiting area.

About Bourne Town Hall Trust

The Bourne Town Hall Trust was constituted in 2017 with the ambition to restore the Old Town Hall in Bourne (circa 1821), the trustees are committed to bringing the building back into regular use as a community arts centre, and thereafter administering the building on behalf of the town. The trustees currently put on events in the unrestored space once or twice a month in the ‘spirit of the final vision’. This includes music, drama, poetry, craft and monthly community cinema screenings. The trustees and all the supporting team members are all volunteers giving up their time to run this unique building for the benefit of the town.

About Heritage Lincolnshire

The Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire is a charity, established in 1991, whose activities ensure that the special character and significance of Lincolnshire’s heritage is understood, valued, conserved and celebrated for the benefit of local people, visitors and future generations. The Trust is supported by County and District Councils, national heritage bodies, through commercial activities and sponsorship. We welcome donations [including gift aid] and legacies.

The Trust’s key objectives are to:

·      Provide high quality learning and volunteering activities which attract a diverse audience and raise awareness of Lincolnshire’s heritage.

·      Increase participation in heritage activities through community engagement.

·      Develop and deliver conservation projects that secure investment for Lincolnshire and contribute to economic regeneration.

·      Undertake archaeological fieldwork and research that advances our understanding of Lincolnshire’s historic environment.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

* The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds; Bourne Town Hall has initially been granted round one development funding of £316,344 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £ 2,266,852.

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Each week, thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised for good causes across the UK.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund 

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.

About The Architectural Heritage Fund

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas.

The AHF exists to help communities find enterprising ways to revitalise the old buildings they love. We help them with advice, grants and loans. Our support acts as a catalyst for putting sustainable heritage at the heart of vibrant local economies. For over 40 years, we’ve been the leading social investor in creating new futures for historic buildings.

Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Charles Houseago at