The grade 2 listed building on the High Street was built by Absolm M Wood in 1885 and was the meeting place of the town council until federation in 1910.
The town hall was built in a Neo-Renaissance style and features over the entrance a stone tablet inscribed with ‘Peace, Happiness, Truth, Justice AD MDCCCLXXXV’.
The “sympathetic” restoration has, a council press statement says, “bought back to life the double flight staircase, the Victorian cabinet, beautiful plaster covings, original men’s toilets, original woodwork including the etched doors, skirting and architraves and the record of Tunstall council members, which had previously been mothballed”.
Council services will be occupying space within the refurbished town hall including Tunstall Library, the former home of which at the Victoria Institute on The Boulevard closed on 30 July.
The library will reopen in its new home in the former ballroom on 3 September. Interim library services will be provided at ‘pop up’ locations around the town until then.
Cabinet member for culture, leisure and public health Lorraine Beardmore said the library moving to a new home is “exciting”, and that library staff were working to ensure members can “access all of their regular services”.
Councillor Dan Jellyman cabinet member for regeneration, infrastructure, and heritage said, “Improving Tunstall Town Hall and moving much needed services into one building is a great start to improving the area”.
The restoration of town halls in Tunstall, Stoke, and Longton is part of a £4million investment in historic sites around the city that began in April 2020.
Speaking in August 2020, Dave Proudlove at the time the Cultural Champion for Tunstall for SOT Culture, said he “welcomed” the planned renovation of a building that is “the focal point of the High Street and Tower Square and a key part of the town and city’s heritage”.
Recently, questions have been raised about the commitment of Stoke-on-Trent City Council to protect historic buildings following high profile incidents, including the damage done to the Leopard Inn in Burslem following a fire earlier this year.
Councillor Jellyman said the restoration of the Tunstall town hall showed the council could be “trusted to deliver heritage led projects of this nature”, and that it “cares” about “historic buildings and their significance in communities”.
The restored town hall will re-open the week commencing 5 September.