Shire Hall is a grand Georgian building situated next to Chelmsford Cathedral in the centre of town. It holds national significance for its historical architecture and contains a number of spacious areas. These can be hired together or separately for balls, conferences, corporate events and meetings. For contact details please see lower left of this page.
The Shire Hall was completed in 1791 to replace the less impressive 16th century session house. The previous building was the scene of some 250 witch trials by the infamous ‘Witch Hunter General’ Matthew Hopkins. Designed by John Johnson the County Surveyor of Essex, the main building has remained substantially the same throughout 200 years of Chelmsford’s history. Public courts of justice are still held on the ground floor.
Some internal remodelling did however take place in the 1930s. The resultant Art Deco style of the period can be seen in the picture room, the main staircase and foyer. The regency and art deco style offer an intriguing mix of architectural features.