Town Clerk's Office, Church Lane, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 7AD

Venues

Venues for Hire

There are several venues for hire which may be suitable for a range of meetings and activities. To view any of the Town Council’s venues or to make a booking please contact the Bookings Receptionist at the Town Council on 01258 454500 during office hours Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

To find out more about each venue please see the information below:

The Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange, Market Place, Blandford Forum is the largest of the Town Council’s venues available for hire by members of the Public.

It has a large stage making it suitable for public performances with rear dressing rooms and toilet facilities. The main hall is large enough to hold “table-top” sales, markets, private functions and receptions. The floor is ideal for dancing. A kitchen is available for use and is equipped with refrigerator, urn, cooker and cups and saucers for 200. Pay and Display car parking is available within easy walking distance. There is disabled access at the main entrance where there are also toilet facilities including disabled.

The Corn Exchange will hold 200 close seated, standing and dancing. The venue measures 21m x 10m. Tables, chairs and dancing area – maximum numbers 120 Tables and chairs with room for dancing etc., Session times for the hire of the Corn Exchange as from 1 April 2014 are as follows:

Morning Session 8.00am to 1.00pm

Afternoon Session 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Evening Session 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Fees and Charges 2017/2018

THURSDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY AND BANK HOLIDAYS (Market Days)

1 session morning or afternoon £88.00
1 session evening £45.00
2 sessions morning and afternoon £146.00
2 sessions afternoon and evening £127.00
3 sessions morning, afternoon and evening £188.00

Hire of the Corn Exchange Kitchen Free of Charge as of 1st April 2011

ALL OTHER DAYS

1 session morning or afternoon £40.00
1 session evening £40.00
2 sessions morning and afternoon £73.00
2 sessions afternoon and evening £73.00
3 sessions morning, afternoon and evening £92.00

An additional charge of £23.50 per hour or part thereof for bookings before 8 am and after 10.00 pm (applicable to all Town Council venues). From 1st April 2017.

Please note an additional fee of £50.00 applies for Funeral Services.

All prices are exclusive of VAT. Proof of hirers Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000 minimum is required. Otherwise the Town Council will arrange liability cover at a cost of 11.0% of the hire charges + Insurance Premium Tax + VAT

COMMERCIAL HIRE RATES

The Corn Exchange is available to hire for commercial use. Charges and session times are available on request. Terms and conditions apply.

Discounts

The following discounts apply to the above session rates, only one discount is permitted per booking:

1. Blandford based registered charities and a Blandford, non-profit making, community based organisation – 50% discount. Please note that this discount is only applicable if the hire charge is over £50.00.

2. National registered charities – 25% discount.

Discounts 1 and 2 are not applicable to any event where individuals benefit from the sale of any item.

3. Regular users (minimum of 10 pre-booked sessions) – 20% discount

History

The buildings, colloquially known as “The Corn Exchange”, are centrally situated in the Market Place, the main shopping area. They carry a Grade I statutory listing and are located at the heart of a conservation area described as “the most complete and cohesive surviving example of a Georgian country town in England” in the 1970 Donald W. Insall report commissioned by the County Council to assess the area.

The facade of the Town Hall, built in 1734, is a uniquely important and pivotal feature in the centre of the Market Place in Blandford. Its size, design and use of Portland stone facade set it apart from its mostly red-brick Georgian neighbours and afford it a unique position in the 18th century townscape.

This complex of buildings comprise the “Shambles”, the Town Hall room, and Council Chamber, all housed in the original Town Hall building. They are linked by a single storey extension to the Corn Exchange, built in 1858, which has a opening cut through its northern wall to form a proscenium arch into another single storey building which forms the stage. This stage building is in turn is joined to the modern Council Offices built at the back of the complex in 1990. The entire site is wholly owned, run and maintained by Blandford Forum Town Council. The ‘Corn Exchange’ has been the centre of civic functions since 1734 and over its 271 year lifespan has periodically seen injections of local public money to adapt it for uses contemporary to the times.

The Community Room

Housed within the Town Clerks Office building the Community Room provides a comfortable venue for group meetings and courses. Fully carpeted, this room will accommodate 20 close seated or 9-11 maximum boardroom style. Wifi availability.

A ramp gives good disabled access and a disabled toilet is situated next to the main room. A Pay and Display car park is adjacent to the Town Clerks Office (maximum stay 2 hours).

Morning Session 8.00am to 1.00pm

Afternoon Session 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Evening Session 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Fees and Charges 2017/2018

1 session morning, afternoon or evening £15.00
2 sessions morning and afternoon or afternoon and evening £30.00
3 sessions morning, afternoon and evening £45.00

Refreshments (tea or coffee) can be ordered at a cost of 80p + VAT per head.

An additional charge of £23.50 per hour or part thereof for bookings before 8 am and after 10.00 pm (applicable to all Town Council venues).

All prices are exclusive of VAT. Proof of hirers Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000 minimum is required. Otherwise the Town Council will arrange liability cover at a cost of 11.0% of the hire charges + Insurance Premium Tax + VAT

Discounts

Discount for Regular users (minimum of 10 pre-booked sessions) – 20%.

The Cemetery Chapel

Set within the grounds of Blandford Cemetery, the recently refurbished Cemetery Chapel provides a perfect venue for small funeral services, talks or meetings.

The Cemetery Chapel can hold up to 48 people seated on centre facing pews.  Please note that this venue currently does not have any toilet facilities.

Fees and Charges 2017/2018

Monday to Friday (8:00am to 10:00pm) £60.00 per event or service

 

An additional charge of £23.50 per hour or part thereof for bookings before 8 am and after 10.00 pm (applicable to all Town Council venues).

All prices are exclusive of VAT. Proof of hirers Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000 minimum is required. Otherwise the Town Council will arrange liability cover at a cost of 11.0% of the hire charges + Insurance Premium Tax + VAT

 

History

During the first half of the nineteenth century considerable public concern was expressed about the growing health hazards posed by overcrowding in many urban churchyards. In a few cases parishes purchased land for churchyard extensions and in some large cities new cemeteries were built and operated by private companies. In the majority of towns no action was taken to relieve the pressure on existing churchyards and in 1842 a Royal Commission was appointed to consider the issue. It recommended the closure of overcrowded churchyards in the larger towns and giving powers to their borough councils to build cemeteries funded by the rates. These recommendations were implemented, and considerably extended, by the public health act of 1848, and the burial acts of 1852 and 1853, with the result that overcrowded cemeteries in any town, of whatever size, could be closed by order of the privy council and the borough council obliged to build a municipal cemetery.

It was as a result of this legislation that the parish churchyard at Blandford was closed and a municipal cemetery was opened by the borough council, on land then well outside the borough in the parish of Pimperne, in 1855. The cemetery buildings included an entrance arch, a lodge for the superintendent and two chapels, one licensed by the diocese of Salisbury for use by members of the Church of England, and the other for use by non-members of the Church of England. All these buildings still survive but the non-Anglican chapel has been converted into a workshop for use in the maintenance of the cemetery. The Church of England chapel is, however, the only such chapel in Dorset, and one of the relatively few in Britain as a whole, to retain its original furnishings with little or no modification. The only significant alteration to the interior of the chapel was the removal of the reading desk from its original position, directly opposite the entrance, to the north-east corner of the building to allow the introduction of an altar table. In order to restore this important building to its original condition, Blandford Forum Town Council, which succeeded the former borough council as owner and operator of the cemetery in 1974, agreed in January 2000 to remove the altar and to re-instate the reading desk in its original position. The interior of the chapel is therefore now as it was when it was first opened for public use in 1855.

The arrangement of the chapel is interesting as it reflects ideas about Anglican church design in the period before the full impact of the ecclesiological movement had been felt in the Church of England. It was this movement, in the last forty years of the nineteenth century, which produced the sort of arrangement which, with some modification, we tend to think of as normal today. Inspired by an idealised vision of medieval churches, the ecclesiologists produced churches arranged with the main focus on the altar. This would be placed at the far end of a long chancel, in which the choir was seated, and which was often separated from the main body of the church (nave) by a screen. Before the ecclesiological movement churches would have looked very different, with the emphasis on the pulpit and reading desk as the main focus of worship, and with the altar much less visible.

The seating in Blandford cemetery chapel is arranged facing inwards, as in a college chapel, an arrangement to be found in a number of Anglican churches between the late seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. Those who wish to visit similar churches will find comparable interiors at Killerton (Devon) and Sexey’s Hospital Chapel at Bruton (Somerset). The Blandford chapel had the reading desk placed under the east window, with no provision for an altar, as it was never intended that Holy Communion should be celebrated in the chapel. An almost identical, though much earlier, arrangement, with stalls lining the north and south walls of the chapel and with the pulpit standing where an altar might otherwise be, can still be seen at Woodhey Chapel in Cheshire, which dates from about 1700. The open space between the stalls in the cemetery chapel at Blandford is still occupied by an excellent example of a mid-nineteenth century horse-drawn hearse.

Blandford cemetery chapel is a very conservative building for its date, representing an outlook towards worship in the Church of England which was beginning to become unfashionable by the 1840s. Its design is, however, consistent with the conservative religious outlook in Dorset in the 1850s, where there was much opposition, from both clergy and laity, to the reform programme sponsored by successive bishops of Salisbury, Edward Denison and Walter Kerr Hamilton, between 1837 and 1869. This opposition came to a head in 1867, when Bishop Hamilton wrote to his clergy advocating the innovations in Anglican worship and church design associated with the ecclesiologists. This provoked a petition by the clergy and churchwardens of the diocese of Salisbury to the archbishop of Canterbury, complaining about the letter. This petition received particular support in the large number of signatories from the area around Blandford. These were encouraged by the local landowners, Lords Portman and Shaftesbury, who were both strong opponents of Hamilton, and by the rector of Durweston, Lord Sidney Godolphin Osborne.

Nigel Yates MA, PhD, FRHistS Senior Research Fellow in Church History University of Wales, Lampeter

 

In addition to the above information, readers should be aware that there was an arson attack at the chapel in September 2013. The chapel was broken into using paraphernalia taken from surrounding graves and a window was smashed. Three separate fires were started and extinguished and another window was smashed as an escape route. As a result, extensive refurbishment works costing over £33,000 have taken place between December 2013 and March 2014, including re-plastering the walls, washing down the timber frames, re-glazing the windows, re-building the fire damaged pew and panelling on the right side of the chapel and replacing the burnt floor at the foot of that pew. The chapel was reopened for public use in April 2014.

Published by Blandford Forum Town Council March 2014

The Shambles

The area inside the gates at the front of the Corn Exchange.

Morning Session 8.00am to 1.00pm

Afternoon Session 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Evening Session 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Fees and Charges 2017/2018

THURSDAY/SATURDAY/SUNDAY AND BANK HOLIDAYS (Market Traders)

Single pitch £19.50
Double pitch £39.00
Single pitch (other days) £18.50
Double pitch (other days) £37.00

The above prices include VAT at 20%.

MONDAY/TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY (Charities/Blandford non-profit making, community based organisations – For the sale of items the following charges apply.)

Per session/per pitch £17.00
Per session for the whole area for the sale of items £23.00

The above prices do not include VAT at 20%.

Discounts

Charities/Blandford non-profit making, community based organisations – Free of charge (including one trestle table) for the promotion of their charity/organisation or licensed charity collections.

The Town Hall

Situated on the first floor (no disabled access) at the front of the Corn Exchange. The Town Hall is suitable for group meetings and courses and can accommodate 50 people maximum. Pay and display car parking is available within easy walking distance.

Morning Session 8.00am to 1.00pm

Afternoon Session 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Evening Session 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Fees and Charges 2017/2018

1 session morning, afternoon or evening £16.50
2 sessions morning and afternoon or afternoon and evening £33.00
3 sessions morning, afternoon and evening £49.50

An additional charge of £23.50 per hour or part thereof for bookings before 8 am and after 10.00 pm (applicable to all Town Council venues).

All prices are exclusive of VAT. Proof of hirers Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000 minimum is required. Otherwise the Town Council will arrange liability cover at a cost of 11% of the hire charges + Insurance Premium Tax + VAT

Discounts

Discount for Regular users (minimum of 10 pre-booked sessions) – 20%.

The Council Chamber

Next to the Town Hall the Council Chamber (no disabled access) offers a traditional setting for formal meetings or smaller groups and can accommodate up to 15 seated around the large meeting table.

Morning Session 8.00am to 1.00pm

Afternoon Session 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Evening Session 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Fees and Charges 2017/2018

1 session morning, afternoon or evening £16.50
2 sessions morning and afternoon or afternoon and evening £33.00
3 sessions morning, afternoon and evening £49.50

An additional charge of £23.50 per hour or part thereof for bookings before 8 am and after 10.00 pm (applicable to all Town Council venues).

All prices are exclusive of VAT. Proof of hirers Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000 minimum is required. Otherwise the Town Council will arrange liability cover at a cost of 10.6% of the hire charges + Insurance Premium Tax + VAT

Discounts

Discount for Regular users (minimum of 10 pre-booked sessions) – 20%.

Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion

Situated within Woodhouse Public Gardens next to the main Post Office in the centre of the town, Woodhouse Gardens Pavilion has recently been refurbished and provides an ideal setting for local organisations’ meetings. Popular for Art and other educational courses and suitable for small private functions and receptions, the Pavilion can be divided by a central partition and there are French doors, which open onto the main footpath of the gardens. There is a cloakroom with toilet facilities and a kitchen equipped with refrigerator, cooker and basic crockery. Set on one level a ramp is provided for disabled access, the Pavilion will accommodate 60 close seated. There is Pay and Display parking within easy walking distance.

Morning Session 8.00am to 1.00pm

Afternoon Session 1.30pm to 5.30pm

Evening Session 6.00pm to 10.00pm

Fees and Charges 2017/2018

1 session morning, afternoon or evening £20.50
2 sessions morning and afternoon or afternoon and evening £41.00
3 sessions morning, afternoon and evening £61.50

An additional charge of £23.50 per hour or part thereof for bookings before 8 am and after 10.00 pm (applicable to all Town Council venues).

All prices are exclusive of VAT. Proof of hirers Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000 minimum is required. Otherwise the Town Council will arrange liability cover at a cost of 11.0% of the hire charges + Insurance Premium Tax + VAT

Discounts

Discount for Regular users (minimum of 10 pre-booked sessions) – 20%.

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