The History of Sutton Coldfield Town Hall
Sutton Coldfield Town Hall is a locally listed building situated in Upper Clifton Road and is a place of inimitable character and regal charm. Over the course of its existence and near constant evolution, the Town Hall has at one time or other functioned either solely or simultaneously as; a hotel, a hospital, a theatre, a meeting place for councillors and even, for a time, a fire station. Further to its historically proven versatility the building is said to also be home to a ghost by the name of Charlie who may, or may not, depending on one’s receptiveness to the supernatural, be the spectral incarnation of the Town Hall’s former caretaker Charlie Miller.
The building’s initial structure dates back to 1865 when the Royal Hotel opened its doors just a short walk from Sutton Coldfield Train Station. Financial difficulties precipitated the hotel’s closure 30 years after its foundation. In 1896 Lieutenant Colonel Wilkinson purchased the hall and, ten years later in 1906, the hall’s metamorphosis was completed and it re-opened in September of that year, as Sutton Coldfield Town Hall. Some 68 years later, when the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield was absorbed into Birmingham, it once again required the hall to adapt its purpose and usage which, as ever, it did. In more recent history the Town Hall, while still dutifully serving its community, found itself once more in financial dire straits. With this, the future of the hall became shrouded in uncertainty with the spectres of past closures rearing their heads. Although some of the building, principally the council chambers, were sold off and turned into flats, the main body remained. Loath to see the Town Hall close again, Sutton Coldfield Arts and Recreational Trust reached a deal with Birmingham City Council that would see a committee formed of local Suttonians take over the running of the building as a Trust, employing a small team of passionate event and theatre professionals to manage the day-to-day running of the venue.
Nowadays the Town Hall retains its historical versatility to serve its community. Following a string of past ventures, Sutton Coldfield Town Hall now regularly plays host to a vast spectrum of events. From household name comedy shows and theatrical productions, to weddings and birthdays, to Town Council meetings and much, much more. There is now much needed stability afforded to a building that, in spite of past struggles, still possesses an unequivocal air of romance and majesty.