Coordinates: 52.7073°N 2.7545°W
The Elizabethan Hall is a Grade 1 Listed building built in 1596
It is thought the OMH was designed by Walter Haycock
In the early middle ages, the town square was a peat-filled mere. A previous Market House was built on the same site in the 1260s. This building was demolished to make way for the Market Hall. The Old Market Hall was one of the earliest forms of prefabricated buildings; it was erected in less than four months and is made from Grinshill stone from the North of Shropshire.
The Hall, an example of Late Tudor influence with primarily Elizabethan architecture, had two storeys: the large upper room was originally used by the Shrewsbury drapers or dealers in cloth to sell Welsh wool, the post holes where fleeces were hung can still be seen today. The lower floor was used by farmers to sell their corn.
Built for the Drapers Guild, it expressed the wealth and confidence of Tudor Shrewsbury. The Drapers were rich influential merchants trading in woollen cloth from Wales. In this period they more or less ran the town. The Old Market Hall was built as their place of business. There raised above the noise and bustle of the market place they could buy and sell. The building would have been a bustling and noisy place to do business. It was busy, a mark of prestige for the town and above all else an investment in its economic future.
It bears the Royal Coat of Arms of Queen Elizabeth I, with the date of 1596, and the supporters are the English Lion and the Welsh dragon. On the North side of the Old Market Hall there is a statue of the Duke of York; it is the only one in the whole country.
This sculpture was originally located on the Welsh Bridge and it was moved to its current location on the orders of the town mayor in 1771.
The top room of the old Market Hall was used as the town’s magistrates court until 1995. The lower part of the structure has been used for many purposes, including as an air raid shelter during the Second World War.
In 2004 the building underwent a £1.7 million restoration, having been previously restored in 1904, as an arts venue and café, showcasing films and digital media. Since 2006, the Market Hall has been the venue for the annual Rainbow Film Festival – Shropshire Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
The Old Market Hall falls under the administration of the Shropshire Council’s