The building of Coleshill Town Hall was completed on 28th November 1925 by John Sumner. His family made their fortune through the Typhoo tea brand, and in 1930 the newly knighted Sir John Sumner established a Trust under which ten houses were built for the use of ladies in reduced circumstances. That is also why the adjoining road off the High Street that runs down the side of the Town Hall building carries the name of Sumner Road.
Alfred Fifield was a wholesale green grocer who was one of the benefactors in the town in the 20s. He paid a substantial donation into the Town Hall building fund (although not as much as John Sumner’s contribution) and so helped to get the building completed.
The building was officially opened by newspaper magnate Sir Edward Iliffe on 17 June 1926. For many years the Iliffe family controlled newspapers in Birmingham and Coventry, and were also part owners of the Daily Telegraph. Sir Edward Iliffe also represented Tamworth in Parliament.
Use of the hall
The Hall was established from, at least in part, public subscription and had trusts in place to ensure its use for community purposes throughout its 20th century life. The hall was operated by the Parochial Church Council, administering it on behalf of the community. Some voluntary organisations have used the building from when it was first built. For instance, the Coleshill Operatic and Dramatic Society still performs on the hall’s impressive stage each year.
The hall was used by the local magistrates, sitting at what were called Petty Sessions. In the early 90s, the Parochial Church Council announced its hope of being able to get rid of its responsibility for the Town Hall. The sale in 2001 to the Coleshill Town Council was as a result of around 10 years of negotiations, seeking a way forward to have the building stay as a community asset.
Currently, the Town Hall houses the Town Council Office, the Community Hub, the Coleshill Post Office, and a private holistic therapy business. It plays hosts to hirers from as wide as the Coleshill Drama Group and dance and fitness groups, to the West Midlands blood donor service.