The Rolls Hall, Monmouth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Rolls Hall
Monmouth library - - 1500836.jpg
The Rolls Hall, currently the site of Monmouth Library
General information
AddressWhitecross Street
Town or cityMonmouth
Coordinates51°48′47.8″N 2°42′42.8″W / 51.813278°N 2.711889°W / 51.813278; -2.711889Coordinates: 51°48′47.8″N 2°42′42.8″W / 51.813278°N 2.711889°W / 51.813278; -2.711889
Completed1888 (1888)
ClientJohn Rolls
Design and construction
DesignationsGrade II listed

The Rolls Hall, Whitecross Street, Monmouth, Monmouthshire is a Victorian hall, now public library, donated to the town in celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee by John Rolls, the future Lord Llangattock. It is a Grade II listed building as of 8 October 2005,[1] and is one of 24 buildings on the Monmouth Heritage Trail.[2]


The hall was constructed in 1887-8 by F. A. Powell in a Jacobean style, at a cost of £8,000.[3] The materials are Old Red Sandstone and Forest ashlar.[4] The Rolls family of The Hendre were substantial Monmouthshire landowners and benefactors to the town, and attended the building's opening on 24 May 1888. The building was designed by F.A.Powell who was the eldest son of the Mayor of Monmouth, Mr Champney Powell. The hall was given to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee in 1888.[5] A new organ was installed in 1889 which had novel additions to its design by William Sweetland,[6] and the following year several paintings were installed. In September 1890, a successful Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition was held in the building; the catalogue can be seen in the Monmouth Museum. Between 1897 and 1903, the Hall was used for a number of plays staged by the actor, director and impresario Ben Greet.[2]

The linked emblems of the Rolls family and that of the town of Monmouth
QRpedia codes in books

In 1963 the organ was inspected by an organ tuner who declared it to be useless. Water had affected the sounding boards and the instrument was falling to pieces. This was reported in the local paper but the organ remained in place for at least three years[6] when the hall was used as a dance hall, and later as a night club.

In 1992, the building became used for the town's public library, which had previously been located at the Shire Hall.[2] The Library was refurbished in 2010 with a £210,000 grant from the Museums Archives and Libraries: Wales, which matched funding from the County Council.[7] The library still honours its original benefactors as large full length portraits of John Rolls, 1st Baron Llangattock, his wife Lady Llangattock and his son John Rolls, 2nd Baron Llangattock are the main decoration on one wall. However the floor mosaic, that showed the Rolls and Monmouth symbols linked together, is now exhibited on another wall.

In 2012 the library installed QRpedia codes to each bookcase as their part of the "MonmouthpediA" project which provides visitors with information about all aspects of the town.[8] The staff also installed these codes in dozens of books that linked to the book's author.


  1. ^ British Listed Buildings: The Rolls Hall. Accessed 15 January 2012
  2. ^ a b c Monmouth Civic Society, Monmouth Heritage Blue Plaque Trail, n.d., p.14
  3. ^ Keith Kissack, Monmouth and its Buildings, Logaston Press, 2003, ISBN 1-904396-01-1, p.64
  4. ^ John Newman, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire, Penguin Books, 2000, ISBN 0-14-071053-1, p.408
  5. ^ Warlow, William Meyler (1899). A history of the charities of William Jones (founder of the "Golden lectureship" in London), at Monmouth & Newland p.338. W. Bennett. p. 444.
  6. ^ a b Curtis, Gordan D.W. (2007). A Provincial Organ Builder p.281. ISBN 978-1-4094-1752-1.
  7. ^ "Monmouthshire Libraries". Monmouthshire County Council. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  8. ^ Wikipedia project to cover life in Monmouth, BBC News, 30 December 2011