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Witham Main Hall Meeting Room 1 Meeting Room 2 Witham Public Hall Exterior

About Us

The Public Hall is managed by Witham Public Hall Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee which was formed in 2010 in response to Braintree District Council’s intention to outsource the running of all its halls.
The hall is operated on a day-to-day basis by a management committee who are responsible to a Board of Directors. As a charitable company membership of the Board is open to any local resident who expresses an interest and who is elected by a majority of the members at a General Meeting.


We operate a Group Membership scheme which costs £200 a year and is available to any local, not-for-profit organisation that uses the hall on a regular basis. This gives them certain benefits in terms of hire rates, early bookings etc. We are also keen to hear from private individuals who wish to support the Trust in our efforts to maintain this wonderful facility now and to safeguard it for the future. If you would like to get more involved with the Public Hall, either as a director or just helping out at the many events we organise send your details to us at


The Public Hall was opened in March 1894 by Lord Rayleigh in his capacity as the Lord-Lieutenant of Essex. It cost £2,500 to build and the money was raised largely through public subscription by the Witham Public Hall Company. The directors of the company included many local dignitaries, among them Admiral Luard and the Honourable C H Strutt.
In 1933 the hall was purchased by the then Witham Urban District Council who undertook a range of major improvements, including a new balcony, an orchestra pit, electric lighting (to replace the gas lighting previously installed) and a new iron fire escape.
In 1960 a new dance floor was installed and the Witham Council considered asking hirers to provide plastic caps to fit to stilleto-heeled shoes to avoid damaging it. At this time a new kitchen was also built, along with an extension to provide a bar area.
On 1 April 1974 the District Councils of Braintree, Witham and Halstead along with the Braintree and Halstead Rural Councils were amalgamated into Braintree District Council and ownership of the Public Hall changed once again.
Over its more than 100 years the Public Hall has been host to many famous names. In 1904 there was a production of the play Charley's Aunt presented by 'Mr Penley's Company'. This may not mean much to the modern reader, but in his day William Penly was one of the leading lights of the theatre and Charley's Aunt was actually written specially for him. The following year a meeting to expalin the setting up of the welfare state took place in the hall with the main speaker being the future Prime Minister Clement Attlee. More recently the late Tony Benn and Iain Duncan-Smith were both on the Witham stage when the radio programme Any Questions was broadcast from the Hall.

On 16 September 2011 the Witham Public Hall Trust signed a 25 year lease to run the hall, the first time it wouldn't be run by a local authority for nearly 80 years.