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Friday, 1st Feb 2019
The forgotten county
By Tim Porter
Stones in his pockets
Wednesday 24th April 2019
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St. Edward’s Hall in the centre of the town square is not as old as it looks, having been erected in 1877-78 at a cost of £4,000. It was funded partly by subscription and partly by the Stow Provident Bank. When the bank closed down in 1861 it transferred most of the accounts to the new Post Office Savings Bank, but was left with a number of unclaimed accounts. These were prudently invested by the bank directors and the funds were used to build the hall.
It was designed by Medland of Gloucester in a typical Victorian Gothic style to ‘harmonise with the Tudor buildings of the district' and replaced a number of older buildings in the square. It soon became the centre for social functions and local government meetings, and the home of the town's library and reading room, plus an art gallery and museum.
As can be seen from the photos here, it didn’t originally have a bell tower. This wooden structure was added later to house a fire bell. Up to that point one of the bells in St. Edward’s church was used as a fire bell, until the Reverend Robert William Hippisley insisted that this was affecting the smooth running of the church. A local landowner, Mr E. T. Godman, offered to provide a bell and the hall’s trustees took steps to raise funds for the bell’s turret. This work was completed in 1894.
Today, the building houses the library, Visitor Information Centre and an upstairs hall which is home to a large collection of Civil War portraits and is available for use by the community.