The Town Hall Centre
The Town Hall Centre, a magnificent gift of the Courtauld family to the people of Braintree, forms an elegant setting for your function. We cater for all types of functions from Weddings and dinners to meetings, seminars, presentations, lectures and exhibitions.The splendid Committee Rooms and Chambers of this well appointed Georgian style building, with their rich woods and panelling, can add that special touch to almost any occasion.
The Town Hall Centre is set in the centre of Braintree Town, with easy access and parking facilities at the rear of the building including a public car park.
The Town Hall Centre is also home to the Art Gallery, which is available for exhibitions. The Gallery is recognised as the principal art venue for the District. It also houses the Districts main Tourist Information Centre.
Our courteous and friendly staff are here to help you ensure that your event runs as smoothly as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
The Town Hall’s foundation stone was laid by Mr G T Bartram on 16th October 1926 and the building was officially opened by the Rt Hon the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres PC, KT on 22 May 1928. Braintree’s great benefactor William Julian Courtauld (WJC) paid for the cost, which was in excess of £50,000.
The Town Hall stands on what was for many years the Fairfield and cattle market. In earlier, less fastidious times, it was also where victims were burnt at the stake, the last unfortunate, a protestant martyr, William Pygot, on March 28th 1555.
WJC engaged one of the foremost architects of the day, Vincent Harris and told him, ‘I only want the best’ and he was not disappointed. The foundations, floor and roof of this beautifully proportioned Georgian building are of reinforced concrete and this makes the building an early example of the use of this material in buildings. The building is faced with narrow sand-faced bricks from Holland with a band of Portland stone at first floor and eaves level.
The grand manor of the Town Hall did not stop at the Dutch brickwork, stone dado, plinth and cornice that delight the eye from the Market Place. The same extravagant care went into every corner, from the lonely figure on top of the bell tower whose message ‘Hold to the Truth’ goes unnoticed, the Renaissance style bell tower, decorated with the Braintree coat of arms and houses the bells which still chime today, to each individually decorated room.
The stairway to the first floor is overlooked by a stained glass window depicting the Braintree coat of arms on a banner held by the female figure of Truth, with a view of St Michael’s church beneath. Within the stained glass is a coffee pot, the mark of the artist George Kruger Gray. Columns either side of the staircase contain carved roundels, one representing farming and the other industry.
The council chamber is panelled in oak with an inlay of holly, and has 14 decorative frescoes, depicting important events in the town’s history. Such as, King John presenting the market charter, the Danes at the Battle of Maldon, the sailing of the Lyon and the Roman occupation, painted by Maurice Grieffenhagen RA.
The Chairman’s room has walnut panelling and the ceiling has a beautiful map of Essex painted by Henry Rushbury RA. At its four corners are the Royal Arms, the Arms of the See of Chelmsford and those of the Essex Regiment and Braintree. The committee rooms are panelled in Pear and downstairs the rooms are panelled in oak, elm, chestnut and Australian beanwood.
In its original glory, the car park at the rear had ornate iron railings that would have done justice to Buckingham Palace, but during World War II they were taken away and handed bomb shaped to Hitler.
The Town Hall housed the council offices from 1928 to 1981, when Braintree District Council built the new Causeway House premises in Bocking End. The building is now used for meetings, weddings, functions and houses an Art Gallery and the Towns Tourist Information centre.
South Committee Room
The English Pear of the South Committee Room lends itself to the more formal setting that may be required for your meeting. Because of the large oak table this room is ideal for your luncheon meeting. Can accommodate 12 seated.
The Chairmans Room
A warm atmospheric room panelled in fine English walnut. The blue and gold murals depict the four seasons and were prepared by Henry Rushby R.A. to harmonise with the richness of the wood. The Chairman’s Room is capable of seating 16/18 comfortably around horseshoe shaped tables to give a more luxurious setting for presentations or meetings.
The Council Chamber
The largest of our function rooms; the Council Chamber’s magnificent oak panelling is inlaid with the finest English Holly. Murals around the ceiling were painted by the noted artist Maurice Greffenhagen R.A. and depict the history of the town of Braintree. Capable of seating up to 75 people (wedding style), 84 less formal or 90 theatre style. The Council Chamber can be used for a wide variety of purposes from the mini conference and presentations top many social functions including weddings.
The Lounge is a less formal setting although versatile, it is capable of hosting a wide range of commercial activities. These range from market research studies to audiovisual sales presentations and training days are very popular. The lounge is capable of seating up to 40 people theatre style.
Council Chamber £TBA per hour
Chairman’s Room £TBA per hour
Lounge £TBA per hour
South Committee Room £TBA per hour
Room One (Ground Floor) £TBA per hour
The above rates quoted are per hour or part thereof and are based on hiring’s from 9am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. Rates for hiring outside of these hours and on Sundays or Bank Holidays will be quoted upon request.
All rooms can be set out for your requirements.
Also available to hire:
Large Screen £TBA per booking
Overhead Projector £TBA per booking
TV/Video £TBA per booking
Flip Chart and Pens £TBA per booking
Refreshments can easily be arranged, buffets/lunches or meals can be arranged to suit your needs.
Your specific catering requirements can be discussed with a member of staff. Please arrange catering at time of booking.
Disabled entry is at the rear of the building through the car park, due to recent refurbishment and the addition of a lift, the 2nd floor is now fully accessible.
We will soon be able to offer couples the opportunity to get married at the Town Hall Centre. More information will be available in due course.
The Town Hall Centre Gallery is one of the largest Gallery spaces in North Essex and is housed in the beautiful Grade II* listed building gifted to the town of Braintree by William Julien Courtauld in 1928.
A programme of Exhibitions is shown throughout the year with FREE ENTRANCE for all. Opening times are 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.
The Gallery shows works for sale by artists of local, regional and national reputation. The current exhibitions are always showcased in our Arts in View/What’s on listings or apply to be on our free mailing list service by e-mailing email@example.com. All our mailing list subscribers are invited to Private Views outside public opening hours.
Our Exhibitions at the Town Hall Centre Gallery aim to showcase artists whose work complements the collections and services at the Braintree District Museum and Warner Textile Archive as well as promoting local artists individually or in groups. Local Art Societies show for one week in the Spring and Autumn each year. A traditional and popular highlight of the summer is the Summer Open Exhibition that attracts artists from across the region with prizes of up to £500 and a purchase for the Braintree District Council collection. Entry forms are available from May in the Town Hall Centre, Tourist Information Centre, Museum or on request by telephone on 01376 325266/340803. Alternatively e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Showing your work in the Gallery
Professional artists and established groups can apply for an ‘expression of interest’ form by e-mail or phone. If you are just starting out, why not join a local group or submit an entry to the Summer Open?
The Town Hall Centre gallery charges much less commission than commercial galleries so by buying a piece of art from our Exhibitions you are supporting the artist and the cultural heritage of the District, as well as owning something unique and original. Purchases over £100 can be paid for with three post dated cheques over a three or six month period.
Based in the Town Hall Centre we can provide you with everything you need to make the most of your visit to Braintree.
Provide information about what’s on and where to go
Book accommodation for you
Book tickets for local events
Book coach day trips and National Travel
Offer guide books and maps
Provide free resort brochures for the United Kingdom
Offer a wide range of gifts and souvenirs.
Town Hall Centre
Open throughout the year:
Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm
USEFUL CONTACTS AND WEBSITES
Bus and transport Information:
Travel Line 0870 6082608
Train Transport Information:
Fares and enquiries 08457 484950