Open House Festival

Shoreditch Town Hall

civic, art in the public realm, community/cultural, entertainment, mixed use, theatre, concert/performance space

Caesar Augustus Long, 1866

Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT

Originally opened in 1866, Shoreditch Town Hall is a Grade II listed, landmark building, and was for over 100 years one of the grandest Vestry Halls in London. Today, Shoreditch Town Hall is a leading cultural, community and live events space made up of 70 individual rooms - from the Victorian grandeur of the Assembly Hall to the intimate warren of the untouched basement space.

Getting there


Old Street, Liverpool Street


Shoreditch High Street, Hoxton


26, 35, 47, 48, 55, 78, 135, 149, 242, 243

Additional travel info

The nearest NCP car park is at Finsbury Square.



Accessibility notes

View a 360 Tour on our Website, and find out more about our Access For All policy:

What you can expect

There will be chairs available at the middle stop on the tour, in the Assembly Hall.



Designed by Caesar Augustus Long and built on the site of the old Fuller’s Hospital, Shoreditch Town Hall opened in 1866. It was known as “the grandest Vestry Hall in London” owing to its high-coved ceilings, Doric columns, large chandeliers and stained glass windows. Throughout the building the council’s motto ‘More Light, More Power’ can be seen. This, together with the statue of Progress enshrined their ambition to be a progressive, forward thinking Vestry, including through the provision of electric street lighting.

From its earliest days Shoreditch Town Hall was at the heart of civic life, managing all aspects of the parish. On 12 November 1888, the Vestry (now the Council Chamber) famously held the inquest into the murder of Jack the Ripper’s last victim, Mary Kelly.

In 1902, William Hunt led a series of expansions, which included the addition of the large Assembly Hall. Following a damaging fire in 1904, the new extended Assembly Hall was opened in 1907.

Whilst upholding its municipal duties until 1965 (at which point the metropolitan boroughs of Shoreditch, Stoke Newington and Hackney, merged to become the London Borough of Hackney), the Town Hall also provided Music Hall entertainment in the Assembly Hall, packing the building with variety and music acts from across the land.

In the 1960s the Assembly Hall became one of the East End’s premier boxing venues until 1969 when, after a brutal fight against Joe Bugner, the tragic death of Trinidadian Ulric Regis led to a ban on boxing throughout Hackney.

As a result, gradually the Town Hall began to fall into disrepair, only experiencing a brief but colourful revival in the 1990s when the now infamous Whirl-Y-Gig trance nights descended on the Assembly Hall.

You will be able to find out more about the history of this magnificent building while on the tour.

Saving Shoreditch Town Hall

By the mid 1990s, with costs for maintenance spiralling, the London Borough of Hackney began to explore selling the Town Hall for commercial development. As a direct response, Shoreditch Town Hall Trust was formed in 1997 to argue the case for the building to remain in community hands.

In 2002, the Trust commissioned the first phase of a large-scale restoration of the building and following major structural renovation and restoration the building reopened in 2004 as a dry hire events space.

The Town Hall Today

Welcoming thousands of people through its doors every year, Shoreditch Town Hall is a leading cultural, community and live events space housed in one of the grandest former civic buildings in the capital. Comprising over 48,000 square feet across 70 individual rooms, the Grade II listed Town Hall is the largest multi-artform venue in Hackney and more widely used today than at any other point since being set up as a Charitable Trust in 1998. Since 2012, £2.5m has been invested in the restoration and development of the building, transforming the Town Hall from a beautiful but under the radar hire space, to a thriving cultural venue for Hackney, London and beyond.

The Town Hall presents a year-round cultural programme of progressive theatre, music, dance, circus and talks, as well as hosting numerous live event hires ranging from documentary film premieres to tech conferences. The Town Hall supports artists by providing in-kind space for rehearsals and R&D residencies, and a permanent Artists Workspace where creatives can take advantage of a free desk space for administrative work. The organisation collaborates with a range of local partners to deliver an extensive community and engagement programme too. The Town Hall is also home to several local businesses including the two Michelin starred The Clove Club.

The Town Hall’s programme has recently included work with The Cocoa Butter Club, Coney, and London International Mime Festival; live talks with Craig David, Elizabeth Day, and Louis Theroux; events with the likes of Cartier, Costa Coffee, Jazz FM, and Kraken Rum; and the filming of The Death of Stalin, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Baby Reindeer.

Shoreditch Town Hall is a registered charity (1069617) and receives no regular or revenue funding thus relying on 100% earned income every year.

The Guided Tours

Visitors will explore spaces never usually open to the public. On Guided Tours you will learn about the architecture and design of the building, and how its use has developed over the years from a municipal building to the leading arts venue it is today. We will cover Shoreditch Town Hall's history, socio-cultural significance, and how we use the building today for our artistic programme, cultural & commercial events.

A tour script has been created by an architectural enthusiast, and staff members will lead tours. Visitors will learn the history of our beautiful building, AND how we put on our exciting cultural programme from the people who work in the building - they'll see "behind the scenes"! We will offer free refreshments (tea, coffee, biscuits) and the sale of our History Book at discounted price.

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