Retro: Town Hall has always been a main feature of Retford

Retford Market Square
Retford Market Square

Our picture this week shows Market Square in Retford around 1900 with one feature as prominent then as it is now – the Town Hall.

The Town Hall, with it’s impressive clock, was built in 1866 by local contractor Thomas Hopkinson for the princely sum of £9,000 – £937,553 in today’s money – including the land.

It replaced an earlier Town Hall which was built in 1755 and also stood in the Market Square, which in turn had replaced a building that had stood since 1388.

The second building was also the one that added the clock and bell tower to the finished design.

However, both those buildings had stood in a different part of the Market Square, but it was decided to move the new building to its current location cross the Square to the south because the previous one was an inconvenience to carriage traffic using the Great North Road.

The current Town Hall, with it’s ornate French-style look, was designed by the architechts Bellamy and Hardy of Lincoln.

It is constructed out of Bath stone, with plinths and columns built in red Mansfield Stone and its historic value is refelcted in the fact it is a Grade II listed building.

Substantial alterations took place in 1980 when the bar and cloakroom areas were created.

Renovations took place in 1992 and 2012 to the exterior of the building.

The charter to hold the market that gives Market Square its name was first granted by Henry III in 1246.

This was extended by Edward I in 1275 to holding a Saturday market, tradition that continues today, although some of the traders had to be moved to Carolgate for a time during Square renovations.