The History of Frome Town Hall

To coincide with the upcoming reopening of the Town Hall on Christchurch Street West, local historian Lorraine Johnson has produced a book detailing the historic building’s past and legacy in the town. The book will be made available on the Town Hall launch night of April 1st, and will be on sale throughout the town, including at the Town Hall itself. Here’s an extract about the generous donation of the clock: 

Taken from Lorraine Johnson’s Frome Town Hall history book:

Upon completion of the public office construction Chairman of the Board Alderman Edward Flatman had addressed his Committee with a generous offer stating that ‘In many plans that were sent in for the erection of the public offices there was provision for a town clock’ but he believed that ‘the contract with Mr Bird did not include that’ and he would ‘be pleased to personally offer a clock as a present to the Guardians’ to which there was a round of applause. The clock was duly purchased from Smiths of Derby and, as can be seen on the photograph, it was placed in a prominent location at the front of the new building.

However, it didn’t meet with total satisfaction from everyone: one correspondent of the local newspaper, Tubal Cain, posed the question, ‘Is there any valid reason why the clock Mr Flatman kindly presented to the town should not be illuminated at night?’ He reasoned that, ‘Surely it is not because the quantity of gas burnt is great. I should imagine that a five pound note will cover the cost for a year, and this estimate is over, not under, the mark. I want to see the clock with a bright and cheerful face in place of the dark and dismal one that now peers forth at night time.’

In later years there were complaints that the clock was not keeping the correct time for it was reported that on one occasion the clock was incorrect by five minutes. An investigation attributed this to the fact that a ‘strong wind had prevailed a day or two before’ and the clock’s accuracy subsequently was carefully monitored. It was found to keep good time having proven itself a good clock in the almost nine years of its service.

For more information regarding the Town Hall reopening, please click here.