Item BCA - 2018.1388 - Bampton Town Hall

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BCA - 2018.1388

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Bampton Town Hall

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  • 1838 (Creation)

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pdf of 8 pictures

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From the Witney Gazette February 28th 2018.
“George and William Wilkinson, both born in Witney in the early 19th century, helped design key public buildings in the centre of Bampton that are still used to this day.
Collected by archivists, pictures and information on the brothers have recently been on display in the town (that should say the Vesey room) – and are collected in a book that is available for £10. It was George Wilkinson who designed the town hall in Bampton's Market Square in 1838.
The town's market had been running for many years but, by the the 1830s, seemed to be lacking. Stalls could be set up each week on the north side of the triangular piece of land in the middle of the town, opposite the Talbot Inn, but they gave little protection to the goods from wind or weather, nor to the buyers and sellers who used them.
Ultimately, a group of people began raising funds to build a market house and, once the money was raised, they paid a 21-year-old George – who was known for designing the poor house in Witney – to design it. The first brick was laid in 1838 (August 18th) and, when built, the structure was well received. It is still used often today, including as the home of West Ox Arts Gallery.
In 1870, the number of students attending the National School in Bampton was overwhelming in terms of what the building could accommodate. A new building was required and the people of Bampton, knowing the work of George, who by that time was unavailable, asked his brother William, who had designed the church in Lew, to take on the work. William was also the designer of Oxford's Randolph Hotel.
The National School designed for Bampton is one of the more exaggeratedly neo-Gothic buildings designed by William. It was well used as an educational establishment but was eventually transformed into a community centre.
Use of the building, like the town hall, continues today. More information about George and William Wilkinson can be found in a £10 book offered by the Bampton Community Archive Museum, based in The Old Grammar School.”
The middle room downstairs now houses the Post Office; upstairs West Ox Arts have their gallery and there is wheelchair access via a lift on the east side. The fire appliance used to be housed at the east end until a purpose build fire station was built in Manor View at the beginning of the 1970s. There are public toilets downstairs and the Parish Council meet in the downstairs room at the western side.

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