1) The traditional centre of the medieval town government: it was originally housed in a room over the Bargate arch, which later housed the Bargate Guildhall Museum. From the middle of the 15th century it was also referred to as the Town Hall and was the venue for various other meetings. From the mid-16th century it housed a Court of Justice. Police courts and Quarter Sessions were held here into the 20th century. The Guildhall was superseded as the venue for local administration by the Audit House in 1773 and the Civic Centre in the 1930s.

The Guildhall in the Bargate

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Philip Brannon's engraving of c.1849

2) The modern assembly hall constituting the central, east-facing block of the Civic Centre. It was almost the last part of E. Berry Webber's Civic Centre complex to be completed and was opened by the Earl of Derby in February 1937. Berry Webber designed it as the central and dominating section of the complex.

The Guildhall

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Photograph of the Guildhall, 1937. From the Souvenir of the Guildhall, a brochure produced by the council soon after completion of the building.

The Guildhall

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A modern view of the Guildhall, c.2010

See also:

Further reading:

Souvenir of the Guildhall 1937, by County Borough of Southampton. (HS/lg)
Thirty-Eight Years of Public Life in Southampton, by Sidney Kimber, p120-150. (HS/t)


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