History of King’s Lynn Town Hall

This page contains key dates in the history of the Town Hall:

1421

On 23 January fire damaged the Trinity Guildhall and adjoining tenement.

1423

Accounts of the Trinity Guildhall 1421-23 record ‘substantial costs’ for building a new hall.

1571

Some years after the dissolution of the Trinity Guild the eastern half of the undercroft was converted to a prison.

1618

Western Section became Bridewell House of Correction.

1624

Jacobean Hall Porch and staircase built and Queen Elizabeth Coat of Arms was taken from another building and placed over the twelve-light window.

1664

Coat of Arms of Charles II fixed, replacing that of the Commonwealth, which in turn had replaced that of earlier Stuart Kings.

1716

Ketton stone floor laid in Stone Hall over brick vaulting of the undercroft.

1766

South window of the Stone Hall completely rebuilt. Only the jambs and arch are of 15th century stonework.

1767

Court room and retiring room built as Council Chambers.

1768

Assembly Room and Card Room built and chandeliers purchased.

1784

Gaol House Built, for the sum of £400, as the dwelling of the town gaoler.  The design of its entrance doorway was influenced by the then newly built Newgate prison in London.

1825

Walls and ceiling in the Stone Hall plastered.

1830

Court Room set up as Magistrates Court. The bench was originally at the porch end.

1845

Orchestra balcony between chimney breasts in Assembly Room removed.

1848

Mirrors over fireplaces in Assembly Room purchased.

1856

The four mirrors between the windows of the Assembly Room presented.

1866

Prisoners no longer served sentences in cells, but the cells remained as lock ups until 1937.

1890

Panelling in Stone Hall for Norfolk Quarter Sessions was added.

1890’s

Magistrates’ Court Room extended with bench being moved to opposite end and window behind the bench inserted.

1893

Public admitted to Council meetings for the first time

1895

Left hand section of Town Hall built as Municipal Building, on the site of the Town Arms public house and three houses.

1928

Settee and six gilt chairs presented.  At present in Crush Hall but previously used in Assembly Room, they were originally upholstered in damask.

1935

Gaol House became residence of Superintendent of Police.

1937

New cells built in old prison yard behind Gaol House.

1946

On 25 January 1946 there was a visit to the Town Hall known as “the visit of the three Queens” – Queen Mary, widow of George V, Queen Elizabeth, consort of George VI and Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II.

1954

Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) granted freedom of the Borough on 26 July.  The ceremony took place in the Assembly Room.

1954

Lynn Division of Norfolk Constabulary moved to its present station.

1960’s

Mayor’s Parlour converted to its present form.

1974

The Borough of King’s Lynn (which had been confirmed in 1248) was reconstituted as the Town of King’s Lynn with the Town Mayor being elected each year from the Charter Trustees of the Town.

1981

The district of West Norfolk was granted the status of Borough by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 30 January 1981.

1982

Magistrates’ Court was transferred to building in College Lane opposite the Town Hall.

1984

Gaol House converted to a Tourist Information Centre after being occupied for two decades by the Council Housing Department.

1988

Assembly Room and Card Room renovated and redecorated with a scheme based on the 18th Century colouring.

1992

Ceiling plaster removed in Stone Hall revealing the original oak timbers.

1993

Tales of the Old Gaol House exhibition opened.

1994

Court Room and Retiring Room restored.

1994

26 July 1994 – Town Hall houses an exhibition of photographs marking the 40th anniversary of the granting of the Freedom of the Borough to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother who opened the exhibition.

1999

The Tourist Information Centre moved out of Gaol House into the Custom House.

2004

10 September – Banquet held in Assembly Room, attended by HRH The Duke of Kent, High Steward of King’s Lynn marking the 800th anniversary of King’s Lynn’s Charter of 1204.  A 9 course banquet, one for each 100 years was served.

2011

The Town House Museum closed and the Norfolk Registrars relocated into the complex.

2016

A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded project to transform The Old Gaol House into the new Stories of Lynn Exhibition.