Farewell to Hitchin Town Hall

A COMMUNITY facility built more than 100 years ago shut to the public for the last time at the weekend, in preparation for a multi-million pound redevelopment.

People packed into Hitchin Town Hall for a farewell evening on Saturday, to say their goodbyes.

The hall will undergo a redevelopment, with plans to create a new district museum alongside the new community facility.

The ticketed event, compered by Richard Whitmore, featured talks and a performance by Hitchin Band.

During the evening, Mr Whitmore said: “As one of the many townspeople who have been very good at expressing concern about the future of our much-loved town hall but haven’t really done a lot about it, let me ask you salute those who did do something.

“Let us toast our supportive and sympathetic councillors and especially those businessmen and women of the town who have worked so hard to enable the first step to be taken on this journey.

“They have already sacrificed a great deal of time and the real work is only just beginning. Let us wish them well and give them all the support we can muster in the years ahead.”

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Ted May, who came to Hitchin with his mother and sister when he was just six after the family lost their London home during the blitz, gave a talk to attendees. He had stayed in the town hall for several days during that time, while a family was found to take them in.

And there were stories from other people, too.

Speaking after the event, town centre manager Keith Hoskins said: “There was one couple there who said that’s where they met 50 years ago and another couple who said they used to go dancing there. There were some nice stories.

He added: “It was nice, nostalgia twinned with a little anticipation.

“It was a very pleasant evening.”

Commemorative wine glasses are now on sale at the Hitchin Initiative office. If taken to the opening ceremony of the new town hall in two years’ time, they will be filled free of charge.