Redhill Market Hall was built on half an acre of land bought for £200 to fulfil a need in the town for meeting rooms and an indoor market.

The erection of two cottages on the site had been stopped because the land was too boggy but the Reigate builder of the Market Hall overcame the problem, probably by sinking deep piles.

The first brick was laid in 1859 and building work was completed in 1861. The meeting room was used alternately with the public hall at Reigate for council meetings, so much of the borough's history was made there.

Finance for the project was in the form of £5 shares, but the first 12 years of the company formed to manage the project were less than wholly successful.

In 1871 a new company was formed and the field opposite the hall bought to create a livestock market. The new company did better enabling the Market Hall building to be enlarged to accommodate a bank and the post office. The local market moved out of the building when a dance floor was installed in 1896 and eventually moved into the market field.

One year later it was decided to develop the north side of the market field, the result being the buildings that still stand along Station Road from the centre of the town to the Abbott pub.

The fortnightly market continued for many years but eventually came to a close as the car superseded the horse and fewer animals were sold, and as the hygienic packaging of food, especially meat, began to take over from carcasses hung in the open for sale.

The Market Hall also remained busy for many years, staging events of all kinds but eventually progress' caught up with it. No doubt it was seen as not modern enough for future requirements and it was demolished in 1982 after standing as a prominent landmark for 120 years, the Harlequin Theatre replacing it as the town's entertainment centre.

l Article and picture courtesy of Alan Moore, author of A History of Redhill volumes 1 and 2,