Meltham Town Hall, Meltham

The Town Hall in Meltham was built in the 1890s, opened in February 1898, and was entirely funded by Edward Brook (1825-1904).


At the time the Carlile Institute was being built in 1890/1, Edward Brook first proposed the idea of donating adjacent land for the purpose of building a town hall and council offices. Once this was accepted, around 165 square yards of land was gifted by Brook.

With the land now in their possession, Brook wrote offering an initial gift of £1,500 "for the building of the offices, on condition that any balance not expended be returned to him." Upon his offer being read out to them, the members of the Meltham District Council reportedly spontaneously broke out into singing "For he's a jolly good fellow"![1]

The plans for the building were prepared by William Carter, the clerk of the Meltham Urban District Council, and the following contractors were involved in the project:[2]

  • John Moorhouse and Sons of Meltham — masons
  • J.M. Moorhouse of Meltham — joiner
  • Mrs. W.E. Jowett of Huddersfield — plasterer and slater
  • James Kilburn of Meltham — ironfounder
  • James Wilkinson and Sons of Meltham — concrete
  • J.W. Kaye of Meltham — plumber
  • Calvert and Co. of Huddersfield — heating apparatus
  • J.H. Stuttard of Huddersfield — painters (internal)
  • J. Hinchcliffe of Meltham — painter (external)
  • Alfred Taylor and Sons of New Street, Huddersfield — furnishings of the Council and Committee Rooms
  • George Pogson of Meltham — furnishings of the other rooms

An illuminated clock tower was erected by W. Potts & Sons of Leeds in January 1897.

The cost of construction was reported as £2,882 8s. 3d.

The opening ceremony took place on the afternoon of Saturday 5 February 1898. As the donor, Edward Brook felt it would be inappropriate for him to formally open the Town Hall, and instead his son, Charles Brook (1866-1930) of Durker Roods, took his place.

Charles Brook had been presented with a ceremonial gold key which he used to open the building and, reportedly, it was later discovered that it had gone missing. Fears of theft were quickly allayed when it was found that the key was still in the door lock.[3]

In the early 1900s, it was reported that consideration was being given to erecting a bronze statue of Edward Brook outside the Town Hall. Instead, following Brook's death in 1904, Henry Mawdsley was commissioned to paint a portrait of Brook to be hung in the Town Hall, which was unveiled at a ceremony on 29 March 1913. The portrait was still hanging at the head of the Council Chamber until 2015.

Further Reading


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Notes and References

  1. "A Musical District Council" in North-Eastern Daily Gazette (23/Oct/1895).
  2. "Meltham Town Hall" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (07/Feb/1898).
  3. "Meltham Town Hall" in Leeds Mercury (20/Oct/1899).