The predecessor of the council was the Local Board, which originally held meetings in the upstairs room at the disused malt house behind the White Lion public house in King Street. By the 1870s this building was in an advanced state of decay, the final decision to abandon it being taken after someone threw a stone through the window during a meeting.

In November 1878 it was first proposed to build a new Town Hall with public offices and a library, but it would be another ten years before it came to fruition.

In July 1881 the Local Board borrowed £500 from the government to purchase the land on which to build a Town Hall. A piece of land was duly purchased in Pardoes Lane where one of the town's two workhouses, now derelict, had been built. It had ceased to be a workhouse in 1813.

Plans were submitted by Birmingham architect Jethro Cossins, and were accepted on the condition that the project would cost no more than £5,500 including £2,000 for the library. Tenders were invited for the building work, and the one submitted by Thomas Tildsley was accepted. Mr. Tildsley undertook to erect the building at an estimated cost of £3,500, which did not cover interior fixtures and fittings.

The foundation stone was laid on Tuesday 21st of June, 1887 by James Slater of Bescot Hall, chairman of the Local Board, who had informed the Prince of Wales that Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee would be commemorated in Darlaston by the erection of new public buildings. As building work progressed, Pardoes Lane was improved in readiness for the opening.

The old workhouse in Pardoes Lane where the new town hall was built. From the Methodist recorder, 1901.
On the day of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, 21st June, 1887 there were many celebrations in the town, including the laying of the foundation stone.

The schools had broken up on the previous Friday for a weeks holiday, and a public holiday was declared on the day itself.

Most of the streets were elaborately decorated with bunting, streamers, flags, coloured lights, paper flowers, banners, and pictures of the Queen.

Church bells were rung, and services of thanksgiving were held at each church, the principal one being All Saints in Walsall Road. Pardoes Lane was renamed Victoria Street in honour of the Golden Jubilee, and the Havelock Brass Band led a procession from All Saints to Victoria Road for the foundation laying ceremony. At two o'clock in the afternoon 400 old and needy people were served with dinner in a marquee erected on the site of the present football ground. At four o'clock that afternoon children were provided with tea at their respective schools.
The Town Hall finally opened on Wednesday 31st October 1888, but even then it had not been completed as all of the available money had run out.
Apart from the original £500 loan, £3,500 was borrowed from the Prudential Insurance Company at an interest rate of £3.15s per cent, per annum. Creditors kept pressing for their money and so other loans had to be taken out from the same source.

Darlaston Town Hall in about 1936. The Post Office on the right, opened in 1912.
Before building work had finished a further £560 had been borrowed, and £440 raised from indoor markets held in the Town Hall itself. A further £2,000 was raised by public subscription. Another £160 was borrowed to cover excess costs of the library, but it could not be completed until James Slater offered to provide the library, at his own expense, with whatever furniture was required, suitable shelving for the books, and daily London and local newspapers and magazines. In return the Board had to agree to supply fire and light, pay for cleaning, provide provision for the issue and receiving of books at stated times during the week, and place the management of the reading room and library in the hands of James Slater and a committee of four, to be selected by him. Two would be members of the Board, and two would not. The agreement, made in May 1889 was accepted on condition that it could be terminated on the giving of one month's notice.

Money was still in short supply and so initially only the reading room was transferred to the new library. Further loans were taken out, and public events were held to raise funds for the library. An unknown sum was also raised by public subscription. On 29th July, 1891 a tea was held to celebrate the opening of the new lending department, but this was somewhat premature because although the walls had been colour-washed, and lino and furniture provided, and books purchased and catalogued, and the catalogue printed, they were not ready to start lending books.

The first meeting of the Library Committee took place on Monday 6th August 1891. During the meeting the committee relieved Mr. Slater of the responsibility of providing periodicals for the reading room, and chose the following list of magazines:

Review of Reviews, Fortnightly Review, Nineteenth Century New Review, MacMillan's Magazine, Sunday at Home, Leisure Hour, Good Words, Cassel's Magazine, the Strand Magazine, and Chamber's Journal.

The grand opening finally took place on Monday 14th September, 1891 when the lending department opened its doors to the public for the first time. Unfortunately the public was slow to react, only seventeen books were borrowed each day during the first week. This number slowly grew, doubling and tripling over the next few weeks. The library eventually grew in popularity and became an important asset to the town.

The original library opened in 1848 as the "Mechanics Institute" on the corner of Dorsett Road and Cock Street, next to the Dartmouth Arms. The building, an old house was rented from Mr. Bruerton, a pawnbroker for £28 per year. In 1875 it became the Institute Library, the town's first public library containing 750 books, which were purchased by the local authority for £75.
        

Read about the early library


The Slater Memorial Organ.


The Town Hall in the 1980s.

In November 1903 the Town Hall was presented with an organ by Mrs. Slater, the widow of James Slater, a previous chairman of the Local Board.

On the 1st of January, 1895 Darlaston became an Urban District, and the Local Board became Darlaston Urban District Council.

Their meetings were held at the Town Hall for the next 70 years, until Darlaston became part of Walsall in 1966.

The library moved to new premises on the corner of King Street and re-opened on 5th August, 1987. From then-on the Town Hall only housed the Social Services department. 


The Town Hall as it is today.


Another view showing the main entrance.

The main hall continued to be used for concerts, plays, pantomimes, and jumble sales.
 

The town hall closed in September 2006 due to health and safety concerns and its future looked uncertain.

Luckily help was at hand in the form of Walsall Council who undertook a £325,000 restoration scheme to restore the building to its former glory.

The work included roof repairs, rewiring, repainting, upgrading the kitchen, and a refurbishment of the Slater organ, which itself cost £7,500.

The building officially reopened in June 2008 and is now used for concerts and events of all kinds.


Looking towards Victoria Park.


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