What do you know about the lovely Victoria Hall, which sits proudly in the centre of Oakham’s High Street? Built in 1839 in the County Town of Oakham in Rutland, it is a splendid Grade II listed building with character, charm and full of social history. Originally known as The Agricultural Hall and constructed by The Rutland Agricultural Society, it was used as a meeting place for farmers.
In 1899 The Board of Charity Commissioners for England and Wales approved the hall to become a registered charity and from then on the hall would be known as The Victoria Hall, to honour Queen Victoria. This year commemorates The Victoria Hall’s 120th Anniversary!
The beautiful stone building is a trusted symbol of history, culture and fond memories for many locals and visitors alike.
The official residence for Oakham Town Council, The Victoria Hall was once the office for The Town Partnership, The Big Build & Little Build for new schools in Rutland and the community group, Rutwell. Presently the front office is being used by The Front Room, a POP-Up shop offering beautiful and affordable home décor and gifts. Regular meetings are held by community groups such as U3A and the Arts Society Oakham. The Hall is also a hub for activity classes such asthe very popular LindyHop weekly dancing classes, weekly ballroom, line dance, exercise and yoga classes and also provides rehearsal space for the RATS theatre group. The Hall also hosts a variety of sales, beauty evenings and art exhibitions.
A body of Trustees are appointed to caretake and manage the building, all are volunteers, with representatives from town and county councils. The original 1899 Trustees were drawn from a list of eminent and respectable locals, some of whose families are still very much part of the Rutland community today:
The Right Honourable, William John Manners, Earl of Dysart
The Right Honourable Gilbert Henry, Earl of Ancaster
The Right Honourable Charles William Francis, Earl of Gainsborough
The Right Honourable Hugh Cecil, Earl of Lonsdale
The Right Honourable Gerard James Noel of Catmose, Oakham
George Henry Finch of Burley on the Hill Esq and MP
Richard Tryon, Esq
The Reverend Frederick Baggallay, Vicar of Oakham
The Reverend Edward Vere Hodge, Headmaster of Oakham Grammar School
Charles Knowlton Morris, Brewer
Benjamin Addinton Adam, Gentleman
John Furley, Wine Merchant
David Needham Royce, Auctioneer
John Royce, Auctioneer
John Lowe Hassan, Draper (all of Oakham)
A Chairman and a secretary/clerk were appointed as were representatives from the County and Parish Council and a set of meetings and procedures were established which are still essentially followed by today’s Trustees.
Trustees follow a strict code of conduct volunteering their time and expertise to enable The Victoria Hall to continue as the Oakham town centre community hall and events venue for the people of Rutland and visitors alike.
Peter Jones, Chairman of Trustees, said ‘The Victoria Hall is a real asset to Oakham, and a great benefit to the local community. The main function room can accommodate up to 200 guests and the Allman Gallery downstairs provides local artists the opportunity to display their work and host exhibitions. There is no facility quite like it!’