Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall in Richmond is home to several specialist information and leisure services.
The Old Town Hall was built in the 1890s on land donated by Sir John Whittaker Ellis for use by Richmond Council and opened in 1893 by the Duke of York. He was a former Lord Mayor of London and the first mayor for the new borough of Richmond. Whittaker Avenue is named after him.
After the formation of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in the early 1960s, a new Civic Centre was built in Twickenham. The Old Town Hall was used for a time by the Social Services Department.
It was refurbished in the 1980s for use by the Library Service and now houses the major information services for the borough - the Information and Reference Library, the Local Studies Collection, the Museum of Richmond and the Riverside Gallery. More information on the history of the Old Town Hall is available as a local history note and an illustrated timeline.
Free unlimited Wi-Fi access is available at Old Town Hall on the libraries network. A password is required to login which is displayed throughout the building. Our Children’s Wi-Fi network is open to anyone with a London Grid for Learning Universal Sign On.
The Library is on the first floor and provides a comprehensive information and reference service for the whole borough. It houses a wide range of reference books, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, directories and maps, serials and periodicals and offers free online access to specially selected databases. There are over 20 PCs available with free access to the internet, webmail and Microsoft Office applications.
The Local Studies Collection is housed on the top floor of the building. Until summer 2000, it was split between Twickenham Library and Richmond, but an extension into the attic space at the Old Town Hall enabled the collection to be consolidation on one site and opening hours to be extended.
The Riverside Gallery is run by the Orleans House Gallery and is on the ground floor of the building. There is a year round programme of exhibitions including paintings, prints and photographs. Local artists are featured and work is usually for sale.
The Museum of Richmond is housed on the second floor. The Museum is an independent museum and registered charity. It was created by local residents and is supported by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It covers the history of Richmond Town from the earliest times. Admission is free. The Museum holds special events throughout the year for children and visitors.
There are 3 rooms available for hire:
- Riverside Room
- Whittaker Ellis Suite
- Seminar Room
Find out more information about the rooms here (including photographs, room layout and hire details).
The main entrance to the Old Town Hall is from Whittaker Avenue, up a flight of stone steps. The building has disabled access off Whittaker Avenue. A scissors-lift provides access to the two levels of the ground floor. There is a lift in the foyer giving access to the first and second floors. The Local Studies Collection does not have disabled access but material can be brought to the Reference Library which has study space.
The Old Town Hall does not have its own car park but there is limited on-street meter parking available in Whittaker Avenue.
Old Town Hall
Telephone: 020 8734 3308
Updated: 24 October 2023