Site of town hall, Machynlleth

PWMP logoSite of town hall, Machynlleth

A town hall was built here in 1872 to replace an earlier one (described on our page about the town clock). The new building, on land given by Earl Vane and Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, included a theatre upstairs, a market hall, shops and accommodation for the caretaker’s family at the back.

It also hosted the magistrates’ court, which dealt with an American pickpocket in August 1898. George Haves of New York and his French female companion, Raymonde Andrieux, were accused of stealing almost £8 (more than £1,000 in today’s money) from a farmer at Machynlleth railway station. Magistrates sent them for trial at the quarter sessions, where Haves was sentenced to 18 months in jail and his accomplice to one month.

A town hall company managed the building until the early 20th century. In 1908 Machynlleth Urban District Council agreed to buy the town hall and market place.

Butcher Joseph Holt lived here with his family as town hall caretaker, before emigrating to Australia. His son Donald returned to Europe with the Australian forces in the First World War, visiting family and friends in Machynlleth during leave in 1918.

Wartime fundraising events were held here. Some were specifically for “Machynlleth boys” in the forces, some for Welsh or British funds. In 1915 a town hall concert raised more than £30 for the Russian Red Cross Society. Refugees from occupied Belgium were treated to a dinner at the town hall in December 1914 before going to their new accommodation in the town.

Poor weather in December 1918 resulted in a “victory carnival” being held in the town hall instead of outdoors. It began with wounded soldiers from the Red Cross hospital parading through town in fancy dress. A “welcome home” reception was held here in September 1919 for more than 100 churchmen returned from the forces.

The town hall remained a focal point for the community for decades but was demolished in 1968 after structural defects emerged. The site was a council depot until the present building was erected in the mid-1980s. An archaeological dig in 1983 found four medieval pottery fragments and coins dated 1770 and 1862.

Postcode: SY20 8AL    View Location Map

To continue the Machynlleth in WW1 tour, walk southwards along the main road and turn left into Heol Maengwyn. Continue to Owain Glyndŵr’s parliament house, on the left
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