Rochdale Town Hall The Esplanade Rochdale
In 1864, Rochdale Council decided to allocate the sum of £20,000 to provide a suitable civic building. An architectural competition was duly held, won by W.H. Crossland of Leeds. From the time of Crossland’s appointment, civic pride knew no bounds. Reluctantly at first, but with increasing enthusiasm, the council approved alterations to the scheme. Costs soared from the original £20,000 to £155,000.
Designed in the Gothic style, the building was one of the finest municipal buildings in the region, the spire 240 feet high topped by a gilded statue of St George. The foundation stone laid by Rt Hon. John Bright MP on 31 March 1866 and the Town Hall was opened by the mayor, G.L. Ashworth, on 27 September 1871. Twelve years later, the spire was found to be riddled with dry rot and was due to be dismantled, but for reasons which are still unexplained the original wooden structure was destroyed by fire in 1883, the spire being so badly damaged that demolition was required. It was replaced by 1887 to a design by Alfred Waterhouse - tower fifty feet shorter than the original.
The ground floor entrance hall was originally intended as a woollen exchange but it was never used for this purpose.