Rochdale Town Hall


The design of the town hall is fitting with the style of Victorian Gothic architecture with tall spires and pointed archways. The main features that create much attraction are its stained glass windows, grand staircase and Great Hall.

The entrance hall, complete with Minton floor tiles, was originally used as a wool exchange and is still referred to as ‘The Exchange’. To the left of the main entrance are the Council Chamber, the Mayor’s apartment and other municipal offices. To the right are the Court of Justice, Magistrate’s rooms and the Police station.

The Great Hall occupies the centre of the building and is accessible from the entrance hall via the grand staircase.

It is seventy-two feet in length and thirty-nine feet in width.

Its grand interior is decorated with a mural of the signing of the Magna Carta, statues of angels, painted ceilings and, often described as the most interesting feature of the building, stained glass windows.

The stained glass windows, depicting the Kings and Queens of England, were said to have been greatly admired by Adolf Hitler who had supposedly planned to have the building moved brick by brick to Germany had he won the war.

The hammer-beam roof is supported by sixteen huge wooden levers which have been carved to represent angels, and are themselves reinforced by corbels in the shape of various animals.

The hall is surrounded with carved drapery panels, and seating is carried all the way round.

Perhaps one of the most prominent features of the Great Hall is the organ built by J. J. Binns in 1913. It is one of the largest organs built by Binns with 53 speaking stops and 3018 pipes. The organ cases were made of oak to match the existing woodwork of the Great Hall.

Its original clock tower was destroyed during a fire in 1883. It was not rebuilt until 4 years later.

The original tower was 240 feet high topped with a statue of St George and the Dragon. It was built in five stages. The clock was enclosed in a cast-iron framework, and the bells were hung in the lower stages of the spire. There were twelve bells which chimed every hour and every quarter hour, as at Westminster. They were equipped with a carillon of fourteen tunes.

The new tower, completed in June 1887, is of a simpler design and is fifty feet less in height. The carillon has not been restored nor has anything placed upon the summit of the spire.

The cause of the fire was never fully established but it caused such damage that the new tower had to be erected fifteen yards further to the east.

Contact Information

Rochdale Town Hall

The Esplanade
Town Centre
OL16 1AB

Tel: 01706 924773

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