History in Structure

Portico of Former Stalybridge Town Hall

A Grade II Listed Building in Stalybridge, Tameside

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Latitude: 53.484 / 53°29'2"N

Longitude: -2.0565 / 2°3'23"W

OS Eastings: 396350

OS Northings: 398593

OS Grid: SJ963985

Mapcode National: GBR GX24.LS

Mapcode Global: WHB9K.CPZF

Plus Code: 9C5VFWMV+JC

Entry Name: Portico of Former Stalybridge Town Hall

Listing Date: 9 August 1966

Last Amended: 17 March 2022

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1067987

English Heritage Legacy ID: 212646

ID on this website: 101067987

Location: Stalybridge, Tameside, Greater Manchester, SK15

County: Tameside

Electoral Ward/Division: Stalybridge North

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Stalybridge

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Stalybridge St George

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

Tagged with: Building

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Portico arch, formerly the entrance portico to the former town hall of 1831, modified in the late 1980s.


Portico arch, formerly the entrance portico to the former town hall of 1831, modified in the late 1980s.

MATERIALS: ashlar stone.

DESCRIPTION: not inspected: information from other sources. The west portico of the now-demolished town hall is now (2021) freestanding, with the ground floor of the west gable wall and short lengths of the return walls retained to act as buttresses.

The portico has two outer Tuscan pilasters and two inner Tuscan columns supporting a deep Doric entablature with a plain architrave, triglyph and metope frieze and mutule cornice with a moulded triangular pediment. The bottom of the two columns are protected by painted cast-iron bands. Recessed within the portico is a central full-height, round-headed doorway with pilaster jambs, panelled spandrels and a double giant keystone. The two outer doorways are narrower and lower, also with pilaster jambs, panelled spandrels and giant keystones. Above both doorways is a square window aperture. The portico is flanked by the original ground floor walls of the elevation with the original deep moulded plinth and modern stone coping at cornice level.

The outer pilasters have two modern blue plaques placed by Tameside Metropolitan Borough commemorating Joseph Rayner Stephens (1805-1879), an important Chartist leader who in later life lived in Stalybridge, and the First General Strike of 1842, which originated in the area.


In the mid-C18 Stalybridge had a population of just 140. In 1776 the first cotton mill was built in the town and its growth was rapid from this date. By 1818 there were 16 cotton mills and by 1825 the population had swelled to 9,000. Stalybridge’s town hall was built in 1831. It was made a municipal borough in 1857 and a parliamentary borough in 1867. The municipal limits were extended in 1881, with large extensions made to the town hall in 1882.

The building was triangular and originally included a market hall on the ground floor. It was then extended along Market Street and Stamford Street; the Market Street elevation was of 16 bays. The building had a projecting plinth, first- and second-floor bands. The original pedimented west gable had a one-storey flush portico of three doors between Tuscan columns with a pediment. The first floor had three windows with architrave surrounds, with three plain windows in the second floor. The gable pediment had a round panel. A similar, two-storey, elevation was repeated on Stamford Street. The extension was in an Italianate style. The Market Street elevation had pilasters on the ground and first floors of the central five bays. The central three bays had a pediment which surrounded a crest of arms and was topped by a small second pediment over the 1882 datestone. The windows had shouldered architraves and were round-headed on the first floor. The east corner had a tower with three-tiers of clasping pilasters and a steep roof with crowning ironwork. The interior had a public hall, council chamber and Lord Mayor’s parlour, all with plasterwork ceilings and cornices. The council chamber also had a panelled dado, blind arcaded walls with flat pilasters, acanthus leaf cornices and wrought iron pendant light fittings.

The town hall was listed at Grade II on 9 August 1966.

In 1974 the municipal borough was absorbed into the new Metropolitan Borough of Tameside and Stalybridge town hall became redundant. In the late 1980s it was largely demolished and the site was landscaped, leaving only the west portico standing; the doors to the three doorways, fanlights and upper side windows were removed. The two Tuscan columns from the Stamford Street portico were reused being incorporated in truncated form into stepped stone amphitheatre seating set behind the remaining portico. The 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map surveyed in 1891 to 1892, published in 1894, showed a flight of stone steps beside the angled west elevation of the town hall, rising up to the higher Stamford Street, and these have also been retained.

Reasons for Listing

The portico arch, 1831, formerly of Stalybridge Town Hall, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* an aesthetically pleasing and well crafted, early-C19 classical stone portico repurposed to form a monumental arch;
* the arch acts as an eyecatcher linking the built town with the landscaped gardens and performance area behind and forming a visually striking termination to the view along historic Market Street.

Historic interest:
* as a deliberately retained and monumentalised portico, which stands as a reminder of civic pride embodied in Stalybridge’s 1831 town hall, which was built to reflect the growing importance of the town as it rapidly expanded in both industrial and population terms.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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