Swindon Town Hall
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (June 2013)|
The whole building is currently used by Swindon Dance, a National Dance Agency. Parts of the lower floor, previously occupied by Swindon Reference Library, remain vacant.
First town hall
Until the erection of the Corn Exchange and Town Hall in Old Swindon, the Goddard Arms was used. This small pub was up until 1820 a small cottage alehouse named the Crown and had been owned by the Goddards since 1621. It has been beneficial to the entire surrounding areas because of its vast community suppliers and representatives. 
In 1750 a large assembly room was built adjoining the pub and it was thereafter used for balls, concerts, the Court Leet, the Magistrates' Court, County Court, auction house and even as a booking office for the Great Western Railway before the eventual construction of Swindon railway station.
When the Lord of the Manor wanted to call people together to discuss matters of importance, he did so at the Goddard Arms. It was used in this fashion in the early 19th century by Ambrose Goddard to call meetings on the progress of the Wilts and Berks Canal.
Old Town Hall
In 1848, it was decided to build a Market Hall in Old Swindon. This plan was not carried out until 1852 when the Swindon Market Company was formed to oversee construction.
The new market house was designed to also provide accommodation for the County Court, Petty sessions and other public business.
Designed by a local architect named Sampson Sage and built by George Major of Horsefair (now Devizes Road), the final building was in effect a sack office and store room with offices above. A Wine Store was built adjoining this its upper hall was leased to the County Court and used by the Swindon Bench of Magistrates from 1871-1891.
The public room could accommodate 600 people and was eventually used for public meetings, balls, lectures and readings. It also became Swindon's de facto polling station and election house.
In 1865, Ambrose Goddard provided more land next to this building for the erection of a Corn Exchange abutting the Town Hall. Opened on April 9, 1866, the building included an 80 ft tower and a triangular market hall covered by a glass dome. The opening ceremony began at the Goddard Arms and proceeding behind a brass band, from New Swindon, walked to the exchange for an official dinner and ball.
The large hall in the Corn Exchange was turned into a theatre by 1880 with seating for 1,000 people. Prior to World War I the hall was converted into an ice rink before being turned into a cinema in 1919, named the Rink Cinema. It was refurbished in 1949 and became a dance hall called the Locarno Dance Hall, later hosting wrestling events and jazz and pop concerts, amongst others the Kinks, the Applejacks, the Animals, Yardbirds, Ronnie Scott's orchestra, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. It was a Bingo Hall for some time but is now derelict and decaying, and has suffered 2 fires since the turn of the millennium.  A number of redevelopment plans have been put forward over time, see Forward Swindon for the latest proposals. 
With the construction of the New Swindon Town Hall in 1890, all civic functions passed down the hill in 1891.
New Town Hall
By 1890, the New Swindon Local Board had plans to build their new public offices in York Place. This location, halfway between the Railway Village and the Hill, was thought by some to be "both psychologically and strategically an excellent position for the new town to establish a landmark building". Especially as it was clearly visible from the Old town.
Brightwen Binyon of Ipswich was chosen to design the new building, eventually deciding on the edifice as it stands today. It includes a 90 ft high clock tower and is built in the style of neo-17th-century Dutch architecture. It became a show-piece of New Swindon, being constructed mainly of brick with stone dressings, a balcony, gables, finials and cupolas. The inside includes a spacious hall with pillars and arches and an elegant sweeping staircase rising to a suite of offices.
These offices were initially occupied by the Board's senior officials and those of the County Court when in 1891 it became the main Swindon Town Hall, taking over many court functions from the Old Town Hall.
From 1880-1900 the prospect of a single Swindon was a burning issue in the individual towns. Commentators of the time such as the Swindon Advertiser's editor William Morris were heavily in favour. However both councils were suspicious of the other's motives and wary of their future status in a combined Swindon.
The New Swindon Urban District Council was the more powerful of the two at this time, containing within it all of Swindon's industrial companies and the majority of the population.
The Regent Circus offices of the New Swindon Urban District Council became the council offices of the new Borough and remained so until 1938 when the Civic offices were opened in Euclid Street.
Until 2006, the ground floor of the town hall housed Swindon Reference Library whilst the remainder of the building was used as dance studios and Media Hub. The Reference Library, along with the Central Library, moved to temporary accommodation at Paramount, the former Nationwide HQ, to facilitate the demolition of the old lending library and the construction of the long-awaited replacement. The new library complex at Regent Circus opened at 2pm on Monday 20 October 2008.
- Child, Mark. Swindon : An Illustrated History. United Kingdom: Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 1-85983-322-5.
- "Town Hall, Regent Circus". swindonhistory.blogspot.co.uk. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Leighton, Barry (20 March 2014). "Don't drop any more bricks ... of the red variety, of course". gazetteandherald.co.uk. Retrieved 22 September 2014.