Filed under: Guildhall

Guildhall Open Weekend 16th-17th Feb 2019

The Guildhall rooms are now open for hire after extensive refurbishment. The same team running the Abbey Cinema is managing the Guildhall rooms on behalf of the Town Council.
Guildhall Open Weekend
A new website has images of the five historic rooms, the Roysse Room (formerly the Abingdon school room),

the Old Magistrates Court (with magistrates bench, dock and cells still intact),
Guildhall Open Weekend
the Abbey Room,
Guildhall Open Weekend
the Bear Room,
Guildhall Open Weekend
and the grand Council Chamber complete with impressive oil paintings and fireplaces.

In a Press Release Ian Wiper said, “We are delighted to be managing the Guildhall which seemed to make sense given our hospitality experience and the fact that we already have a whole team in situ running the cinema 7 days a week, from 9am until late”

Hire rates for local community groups and weddings have been set by the Town Council at £40 per 3 hour session for the larger Roysse Room and Council Chamber, and £24 for the other rooms.  Wedding ceremonies will be charged at £300 and £150 respectively.  The rooms are available for weddings, christenings, clubs and society meetings, banquets and social events.

The Guildhall restoration included refurbishing the kitchen and there are now two resident chefs to cater for everything from wedding receptions to food during films.

Kerry Harris, Guildhall Events Manager, said, “We look forward to meeting as many residents as possible over the Open Weekend.

Leave a Comment February 4, 2019

Regal Abingdon! Here We Go Again

Regal Abingdon
30 years ago, in 1988, The Regal in Abingdon was indulging in the ‘Walt Disney at Easter‘ tradition with Bambi. Next up was Robocop, a film that, according to the Herald, had ‘all the latest Science-Fiction film gadgetry and enough violent action to justify the suggestion it be re-named Rambocop‘.
Regal Abingdon
In 2018, after a successful run at the Unicorn Theatre, The Regal in Evesham has made an offer to Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council to take over the Abbey Hall (the new part of the Guildhall) and show films there. This offer will be recommended for acceptance by the full town council which meets on 25th April, and then comes some work to prepare the building for re-opening.

Ian Wiper of the Regal Cinema stated: “We are delighted with this recommendation and look forward to working with the Town Council.  If all goes as expected, we hope to launch in the summer of 2018 with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.  I would like to thank everyone who has visited us so far, our staff at the Unicorn and for the support that we have received from people in the town.

This will allow the building to be used during the development of a scheme, by local councils, to turn the Guildhall into a Community Hub.

9 Comments March 31, 2018

Guildhall Meeting – Monday 26th February

There will be a meeting of the Town Council Finance and General Purposes Committee on Monday 26th February at 7pm – probably in the Council Chamber.

They have a very long agenda, most of it about the Guildhall. It includes about 50 pages of minutes from the two meetings where the public asked questions about the Guildhall. Some of the questions now have answers in the agenda.

The meeting will not be in the Roysse Room as there are problems with the chimney. A protective barrier has been put round it as some pieces have fallen down, and so a survey is needed to check it’s safety. The council don’t want the chimney falling through the roof with people inside.
The chimney was not there when the Roysse Room was part of Abingdon School. It must have been added when the Abingdon Borough Council took it over in the alterations made by Arthur Preston. (1872 Image © William H Hooke. All Rights Reserved).
Other work is progressing well. The ramp has been removed from the back of the Abbey Hall.

From discussion with the County and District Council on the potential for a community hub in, or instead of, the Abbey Hall, there is a provisional timescale:
Summer 2018 – consider options
Spring 2019 – feasibility study,
Autumn 2019 – planning application
Spring / Summer 2010 – building work starts. Completion depends on the amount of work involved.

The meeting will also consider the proposal by the Regal Evesham to show films at the Abbey Hall in the short term, and other short term options. Short term could be 1 or 2 years.

Then there is a report by Ridge the architects about the state of the Abbey Hall and the feasibility of bringing it back into use in the short term, and what works will need doing and their costs.

The agenda for the meeting, and one later in the week for the Guildhall Committee, can be on the Town Council website.

10 Comments February 25, 2018

Special Town Council Meeting

Christmas trees
A Special Town Council has been requested by the electors of Abingdon-on-Thames and will be held on Monday 15th January 2018. This is to discuss the Guildhall.

22 Comments January 8, 2018

Press Release about the Abbey Hall

The Guildhall development is not to go ahead because, now the tenders have been considered, the project will be too costly.
Town Council
The press release says …

Following the recent tender exercise in relation to the proposed improvements in relation to the Abbey Hall, the Town Council, at its meeting of 25th January 2017, has reviewed the project.

The Council has, with regret, concluded that the project and the necessary works which are required to bring the Abbey Hall up to acceptable modern standards, is unaffordable in the context of the Council’s overall financial commitments and the fact that many of the services which would have been delivered from the Abbey Hall are provided by other organisations and businesses. Consequently, the capital investment required in the Abbey Hall Project cannot be justified and the Town Council will, over the coming months, be working with other local authorities to explore the possibilities of alternative community uses for the Abbey Hall.

Council Leader Councillor Mike Badcock stated: “We are unable to pursue our project in relation to the Abbey Hall. The Council have worked very hard on finding a solution which is both sustainable and affordable but have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the building has beaten us. Whilst this is to be regretted it is better for this difficult decision to have been taken now before substantial sums were committed to building works. Even based on the lowest tender we were looking at overall project costs of £3,080,000 (note this included a modest budget of £120,000 for works in the historic building). It remains this Council’s intention to move forward and re-open the historic Guildhall when any necessary works have been undertaken in relation to that building.”

40 Comments January 26, 2017

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