|Comment||In 1866 the foundation stone for the Town Hall was laid by the eldest daughter of Sir Matthew William Thompson, local benefactor. He also paid most of the building costs of £3,000. On 26th December 1867, the Town Hall was opened with a performance of Handel’s Messiah, in March the following year the deeds were handed to the Local Board “For the use of the inhabitants of Guiseley for ever” This stipulation was to prove vital at a later date. The Thompson crest is above the main entrance, a fist holding a sheaf of barley, Sir Matthew William owned the Bradford Brewery. The Town Hall served the people of Guiseley well, being used as offices for Guiseley Council, dances, teas, socials, shows and concerts. For a short time around 1913 it was a cinema, then an auxiliary hospital during the 1914-1918 War. In the 1939-1945 War it became headquarters for the Air Raid Precaution unit with an air raid siren fitted above the main door, the siren is still in place. Guiseley became part of the Leeds Metropolitan Area in 1974 and the building became neglected, by 1981 Leeds Council wanted to close the Town Hall and sell it. A campaign to save it began led by Councillor William Hudson and the members of Guiseley Amateur Operatic Society (GAOS),they fought the Council’s intention using Matthew William Thompson’s stipulation “For use of the inhabitants of Guiseley forever” as a weapon. Ken Dodd, at the invitation of the late Barney Colehan staged a one night show at the Town Hall with no fee, all proceeds went to the fighting fund, it was a sell-out. GAOS became responsible for the Town Hall on behalf of all its users and formed a limited company to achieve this. The Hall is now called Guiseley Theatre and has been completely refurbished. It continues as a focus for entertainment and is an available amenity for local people.|
B672 – Town Hall, 1897.
Town Hall – 1897
Assembled outside the Town Hall, these men were the committee for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria.
B673 – Town Hall, 1897.
Town Hall – 1897
Seated in front of the Town Hall, ladies who formed the women’s committee for the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
N689 – Town Hall, 1914/1918.
Town Hall – 1914/1918
Auxiliary Hospital 1914 – 1918
The Military hospital was based in Guiseley Town Hall (now Guiseley Theatre). The main ward was in the auditorium. There were no laundry facilities on site and volunteers took out washing to helpers on Mondays and collected it on Fridays to return to the hospital. When the 1stWorld War ended grateful patients presented a rose bowl to the senior nurse.
E425 – Town Hall, 1981.
Town Hall – 1981
This image dates to the time before Leeds City Council relinquished responsibility for the building to Guiseley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, since then it has been called Guiseley Theatre.
Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 23 February 2022.
Last updated: 23 February 2022.