Built in 1863 on the site of the Green Dragon [heraldic monster of Wessex] Inn at the junction of Cornmarket and Gloucester Street, its exterior has been described as "in a funny debased Gothic with a totally unmonumental, asymmetrical front".
Up and to the right of the main door on a projecting plinth, stands the town's only outdoor sculpture, a draped female figure.
Inside, a vestibule opens into the spacious hall with four tall pointed arch windows, high on each side. At the far end, flanked by doors, [one giving access to the Town Clerk's office], a dais below a board inscribed with the names of local dignitaries; a plaque commemorates twinning with Le Mele ; the more recent association with Falkenstein and ... remains unofficial.
The present scheme of paint and fabric is relieved for the upwards-looking by foliated stone corbels beneath the main roof timbers and ten sculpted circular reliefs [including a railway locomotive contemporary with the opening of the Great Western Railway terminal, now a nursery, in Park Street].
The Mayor's Parlour is upstairs from the vestibule.
© Gerald Taylor 2000.
Pevsner Berkshire p 141.
Old Police Station
Faringdon became part of Oxfordshire in the Local Government boundary reorganisation of 1974. The Police moved to the new station in Marlborough St in the 1970s. The old police station in Coach Lane was sold and redeveloped into private residences.
Faringdon Fire Service
1937 Firemen, Bromsgrove
The Fire Service in Faringdon has been provided from a number of locations
It has been under the Old Town Hall, in Church St, Bromsgrove, Marlborough St and now Station Road
More Information and pictures
Old Town Hall (Market Hall)
Built in the 17C, it was a hive of activity on market days when farmers’ wives would sell their surplus eggs, butter and cheeses under the shelter of the meeting room above.
At one time there must have been a room under the roof, as well as the main meeting room. Old pictures show a dormer window looking towards the saddlers.
The iron hoop on the pillar is supposed to be where wrong doers were tied to be whipped, commonly called ‘the whipping post’, adjacent to this were the stocks.
The first town jail was a tiny room in one corner with a very small, high window as a peep hole in the door. It has been written that if your friend was incarcerated inside and you wished to give him some ale, you placed the stem of your clay pipe through the peep hole, placed the pipe bowl in the ale and inmate then could suck the ale through the pipe!
Later a larger brick lockup was built adjoining the Hall to the west, this in turn went out of use in the 1880s when a proper Police Station was built on the eastern edge of the town which had 2 single cells. The lock-up was then taken over as a store for the barrow, brush and shovel of the town road sweeper, the building was eventually removed in the 1900s.
The town’s first fire fighting appliance, the parish pump as it was called was housed under the Market Hall, and the bell to summon the crew was erected over the ridge of the roof.
The town ambulance was also garaged here for a time, after the Cottage Hospital was opened in the 1890s.
The ambulance was the church bier, not very encouraging to be taken to hospital on the same set of wheels that was used to take bodies from the hospital morgue to the church and the graveside!
When Lord Berners purchased Faringdon House and the estate, he became Lord of the Manor. The Market Hall at that time, with most of the Market Place, went with manorial rights.
However Lord Berners declined to buy the Hall as it needed a lot of repairs, so the seller gave the building to the town as a home for the war memorial to the fallen of the First World war. (and later WWII)
During the Second World war, officers were billeted in the meeting room. They only had a small tortoise stove for heating and it was said that more heat came off the chimney than the stove.
A George III framed coat of arms was fixed between the two eastern windows until the Hall was given to the town. No one knows where it disappeared to!
The Hall once housed the Faringdon library, and after a period of unuse has been restored to become a meeting room again.
The Pump House
This community building was originally a Bank. (you can still see the name faintly on the stone). I
t later became the Institute and Services Club (1950s and 1960s). Later use was a Community Centre. After this period it fell into disrepair but was refurbished c 2006 at a cost of over £500k.
The building is on lease from Lord Faringdon, Buscot Park.