A History of the Assembly Hall in Melksham

compiled by Lisa Ellis of The Well House Collection

1980 programme


1846 - Melksham Market company is formed; money raised to erect buildings

1847 - Town Hall, with cheese market underneath, and cheese store behind are completed

1847 Advertisement
1847 - Cheese market opens; fortnightly cattle market moves from Mondays to Tuesdays

1848 - First passenger train travels from Thingly Junction to Westbury, coinciding with cheese market day

1859 - Cheese Market revival

1860 - Push for subscriptions to Melksham Volunteer Rifle Corps, reaching capacity two years later

1888 - First public-purpose performance at new Drill Hall on Church Street

1891 - Melksham Market Company attempts to sell market property

1898 - Melksham Market Company again attempts to sell market property

1906 - Property owner Kelson requests H Company find another building for their use

1907 - Drill Hall moves to behind Town Hall, enclosing the old cheese market

1914 - Urban District Council purchases Town Hall, Drill Hall and Police Station at auction

1939-1945 - World War II

1939 - Military authorities requistion building, needing premises to store ARP equipment

1942 - caretakers hired for “Assembly Hall”

1946 - Drill Hall becomes Assembly Hall with major interior redecoration, addition of entrance lobby, stage, and bathroom facilities, exterior painting

1947 - first public performances following war

1950 - Entrance archway to Assembly hall demolished; entrance pillars to Melksham House moved back and walls behind the pillars demolished

1954 - Major renovations to Assembly Hall include new flooring and amplification system

1955 - Further renovations include bar and kitchen alterations, new stage curtains and extension at the front

1978 - Gaiger of Devizes transforms building