The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History

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Updated:  29 January 2011 

Formerly known as the Saint George's Hall, the East Stonehouse Town Hall was erected in 1849-50 in the Italian style, with a facade of two orders, the lower being Doric, with bold rustications, and the upper Corinthian, on a continuous moulded base and finished with a cornice and balustrading.   In the lower part was a projecting portico, formed by eight coupled Doric columns, supporting a cornice with balustrade over.  It was designed by Messrs Fuller and Gingell of Bristol.

Stonehouse Town Hall, formerly known as St George's Hall

On the ground floor was an entrance hall, the walls of which were decorated with Ionic columns and pilasters.  The ceilings were deeply coffered.  On the left was the police court and Town Hall, with retiring rooms, while on the right was the Technical School.  The assembly room had an orchestra at the end, with an organ.  A wing contained a further large room.

The stone for the building was given by the third Earl of Mount Edgcumbe and the fourth Earl generously gave up his reversionary interest in the site.

In the Town Hall were the offices of the Medical Officer of Health and the sanitary inspectors.


On the evening of Tuesday April 12th 1859 Mr P T Barnum, of New York, had the honour of addressing an audience at the Saint George's Hall on "The Science of Money Making" 'in the course of which he will introduce an original definition of HUMBUG, supporting his theory by pictorial illustrations and original anecdotes, examples and experiences'.   He repeated this at the Devonport Mechanics' Institute on the Wednesday.

Reserved seats cost 2 shillings, 1/6d or one shilling but 'if after Friday April 8th seats remain unsold, the price will be raised'.

The advance announcement further stated that: 'During the entertainment, Professor Kratky Bashix, a Slovonian Hungarian Artiste, who has appeared before Her Majesty and all the Crowned Heads of Europe, will play a Grand Fantasia upon an instrument smaller than the Tebia of Picco and producing much more peculiar and startling orchestral effects.'



  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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