The Square and The Old Market Hall

The Old Market Hall, Shrewsbury

The Square is at the very centre of Shrewsbury, a place that everyone knows, where people arrange to meet, and where you can enjoy markets and outdoor entertainment throughout the year.

In the early middle ages, the town square was a peat-filled mere. today, One of Shropshire's famous sons, Clive of India has a statue dedicated to him at one end of the square. Due to the damp nature of the ground, large oak piles and concrete foundations had to be driven over 12 feet into the earth to support the weight of the statue.

Today the square remains the focal point of Shrewsbury. Monthly Farmers markets and Made In Shrewsbury Fairs take place there. In the spring during the cartoon festival, cartoonists can be found drawing there. In September it is one of the stages for the International Street Festival.

In the middle of The Square is the handsome and unmissable Old Market Hall. Built in 1596 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.

Over the years the Old Market Hall has variously been used an auction room, a warehouse, an air-raid shelter and a courthouse. Now it houses one of the UK’s smallest and most historic cinemas and a café bar where a range of digital art is shown on screens. It's a stunning combination of old and new, and very popular with locals and visitors.

In the centre of the building, just beneath the clock there is a statue which is purported to be of the Duke of York which was moved here from the old St. Georges Bridge in 1771.

In the buildings around The Square you can see at least 5 centuries of architecture from black & white mansions to elaborate Victorian gables.
The statue looking out onto High Street is Clive of India who was Shrewsbury's MP and mayor in the 1700s.

Before the 1300s The Square was nothing but an unpleasant marshy area with a pond where cheating tradesman and scolding women were punished by the ducking stool.

The Music Hall

Many famous names and faces have graced the stage at Shrewsbury Music Hall since it was built in 1840. Charles Dickens gave a reading of 'A Christmas Carol' here. Until the completion of Theatre Severn in 2009, this was the main theatre for the town.

The Music Hall is currently being refurbished and will reopen as the new home for the Museum and Art Gallery and Visitor Information Centre in 2013.

Gullett Passage

Gullet passage is located to the right of the Old Market Hall in the town square.

It is named after the Gullet stream which ran from the conduit in The towns Square to Mardol Head, where glovers operated stalls on one side and usurers operated their loan businesses on the other side. The water ran through a conduit in Barker Street, the outflow is still visible by the Welsh Bridge.