Our Shared History
Our Shared Future
At Bakewell Town & Community Trust we believe that the Town Hall is part of the community. That’s why we are working hard to provide facilities and activities to suit a broad range of users.
In the 1880s, Bakewell badly needed a new Town Hall, the old Market Hall on Bridge Street no longer had the facilities required by the Local Board. The town’s masonic Lodge, the Dorothy Vernon Lodge, were the main voice calling for a new Town Hall. They had been seeking a permanent meeting place. Early in 1889 a proposal was made to build a masonic hall in Bakewell, and considerable sums of money raised for this purpose. It was suggested that the Freemasons should join with people who had advocated the building of a new Town Hall, to provide a building available to the wider community. A public company was incorporated on 25 March 1889, raising an initial capital sum of £3500.
The Town Hall was situated at the junction of Anchor Square and Bath Street. It was built in the Gothic style to designs by George E Statham, architect, of Nottingham, and was opened by the Duke of Rutland on 18 September 1890. It included a public hall, a court room for the Magistrates and County Courts, the library and reading room of the Bakewell and High Peak Institute (established in 1848) as well as other rooms for the use of public bodies.
After the building of the Town Hall, the Company continued to run the management of it, raising the bulk of its revenue by the letting of rooms. The Town Hall was sold to Bakewell Urban District Council for £5000 in 1945, and the Company was liquidated.
Back in 2004, it became clear that the future of the Town Hall was in the balance. The Town Council were looking to reduce costs and an alternative use was actively being sought. Plans were floated to hand over the building to a housing association but the people of Bakewell weren’t ready to lose their Town Hall.
A public consultation was launched to find a solution. A business plan was prepared and the council agreed to the formation of a charity to take over the operation. After four long years the lease was finally settled and refurbishments could begin. Almost a year of hard work saw the Town Hall transformed into a bright and modern facility, fully accessible for all.
Today it is managed by the Bakewell Town & Community Trust under a long lease from Bakewell Town Council whose offices are still in the building, together with those of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, an accountancy practice and a podiatrist.
Membership of the Bakewell Town & Community Trust is open to all residents of Bakewell and to local organisations within the Town. This is a community initiative and we’re working hard, together, to preserve and operate the building on behalf of the people of Bakewell. We’d love to hear from you if you’d like volunteer, or have ideas for what you’d like to see and do at the Town Hall. Together we can do great things!
The annual subscription has been set at £10 payable on joining Bakewell Town & Community Trust, and on 1 January each year thereafter. Members benefit from 1/2 price entry to Film Friday screenings (one per member), as a thank you for joining us. Download a membership form here…
Welcome to Historic Bakewell
Bakewell is a historic market town, on the River Wye and surrounded by the hills and dales of the Peak District. Its beautiful location and ancient history make the town a gem of a place to stay. In 1951 the town became the base for the first National Park and is an ideal base to explore the surrounding countryside and villages.
Founded in the Anglo-Saxon period, the name Bakewell is thought to derive from a well of a man called Baedeca. Water has always played a strong role in Bakewell’s past: Arkwright founded a cotton mill, and there were short-lived plans to rival Buxton as a spa town but the spring water was found to be too cold! Today, anglers flock to the river to enjoy the fishing. The 500-year-old bridge is a scheduled ancient monument and is thought to be the oldest five-span bridge in Britain. The church is well worth a visit, with a fine collection of early gravestones and monuments, and the Old House Museum, itself with an Arkwright connection, is a fascinating insight into life in the town through the ages.
In 1850 the railway came to town, moving people, limestone and milk across the country. Dr Beeching saw off the trains, but you can still enjoy miles of accessible walks along the former tracks and through the tunnels on the Monsal and Limestone trails.Walking, cycling and horse riding are popular pursuits, with plenty of cafes and small businesses bringing life to the former station buildings.
Our most famous export is the Bakewell Pudding; the subject of debate, its origins are not clear. One theory is that it was created by accident in the 1850s, when the cook at the Rutland Arms Hotel misunderstood the landlady’s recipe. You can enjoy a pudding or a tart at several establishments claiming to be the guardians of the original recipe. Whatever its origins, all are delicious.
For more information, visit the Tourist Information Office.
Booking a Room For Your Group
We offer special hire rates to community groups, charities and non-profit organisations; making sure your money goes where it should- into the hands of your beneficiaries.
Our three rooms can accommodate from 20 to 160 people. They can be hired by session or by the hour, making us cost-effective and flexible. We will help publicise your group, activity or fundraiser by featuring you in our What’s On diary, our blog, posters, and our Facebook page, free of charge.
FAQs: We're not a charity- do we qualify?
Yes. If your aim is to make the community a better place, we will offer community rate. If you aim to raise money to improve the lives of people or the environment we live in then we will help you do it.
FAQs: Can we sell refreshments?
Yes. We have two kitchens that you are welcome to use for a small charge. You are still eligible for community rate, as this is a very effective way of raising funds for your group. Please note that we do not allow the sale of alcohol. If you would like us to run the bar for your fundraising event, please get in touch.
FAQs: Can we sell tickets?
Yes. Often charities and community groups arrange a show or an exhibition and sell tickets to enter. This can be a great way of raising funds. For a small charge, you can use our online ticket merchant -ideal for larger events.
FAQs: Can you help with publicity?
Yes. We will put up posters on our notice boards, list your event on our Community What’s On or events What’s On pages . All we ask is that you give us as much notice as possible, and make sure you give us all the details- for example, entry time, ticket price, and your logo and photos. It is a good idea to provide us with links to any website or Facebook page that you have, as people often want to find out about you before hand.
FAQs: How do we book?
Firstly, have a look at our rooms and think about the number of people that attend your group or who are likely to come to your event. You don’t want to be squashed in or rattling around! Bear in mind that we do have limits on the number of people that can be in our rooms at any one time . These are displayed on our room pages. Ask your group members when would be a good time to hold your group or event. And finally, get in touch! We can help you through the booking process and help make sure your event is a success. Our booking process is very simple- one sheet of paper. Please take a few moments to look over our terms & conditions and make sure you have read our emergency procedures. You’ll need to nominate a ‘responsible person’ for the day of the event. This sounds like a lot of responsibility but in reality is just a case of making sure everyone is aware of where the fire exits are and where to go in the event of an emergency. If you are expecting a lot of people at your event, we recommend that you have plenty of help on the doors to help steward. We will advise you when you book.
FAQs: Do we need Public Liability Cover?
No, if you are a community group and are not wanting to do dangerous things. Our insurance covers most not-for-profit events held in the Town Hall, however, it is always best to obtain your own cover. If you are a member of an umbrella organisation, you may find that they offer PL cover for member organisations. If in doubt, please do ask us.
Get in Touch !
Bakewell Town Hall
The Square, DE45 1BT