roposals to build a ‘Town Hall’ existed in 1878 and after 51 years of discussion the construction work began in 1929. In 1934 the decision to build the Guildhall was made and work was started taking nearly three years to complete due to the scarcity of material and labour.
In 1937 a brand new state-of-the-art Guildhall, built in classical style of the 1930s, was opened by the 17th Earl of Derby and is today part of a Grade 2* listed building. Incorporated into the building of the Guildhall was the John Compton Dual Console Pipe Organ unique instrument taking two years to build and is probably worth around ?1 million.
The organ survived WWII without a scratch even when an unexploded bomb landed right in the centre of the hall. It is still in working order and played at Civil and graduation ceremonies.
The Guildhall’s resident Bert Osborne Band, in true theatrical tradition, insisted that the show must go on and played regularly throughout the war years and after; great artists including Paul Robson, Beniamino Gigli graced the stage along with many others, musicians, pop stars, comedians, jazz and military bands and so on.
In the seventies a different sound arrived at the Guildhall – Rock Bands bringing Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie. In the early eighties the Guildhall attracted artistes from America, Gloria Gaynor, Victor Borge, and live broadcasting with the BBC Antiques Roadshow.