Corn Exchange

Corn Exchange 1993A beautifully proportioned hall built on the site of the Green Dragon Coaching Inn. It opened in 1863 as a farmers’ dealing centre for sale of local produce and so that some of the transactions in the Corn Market could take place under cover.

In 1862 the Corn Exchange Company Ltd was formed. There were several sites proposed for the new building including that owned by Charles Gerring which was the Green Dragon public house. This was the site that was agreed upon and plans and estimates were obtained from John Luker of Faringdon. It was also decided to have a Savings Bank built at the rear of the building and the estimated cost was £1,400. Wheeler of Faringdon was instructed to build the Corn Exchange and the final cost was £2,310 11s 0d. The excess cost was covered by a mortgage of £600 and the building was insured with Sun Fire Office for £900. The interior was lit by gas lighting and John White junior was appointed as Clerk and Collector for the company at 10 guineas a year. The opening of the Corn Exchange took place in 1863. A poster advertised the scale of charges that would apply to those that wished to expose corn for sale and those wanting to attend the sales.

In 1919 it was let as a cinema, which opened on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, until 1935 when the building was sold to the Faringdon Parish Council for £1,000. Since then it has been used for numerous events and by local clubs and societies such as the Freemasons, Billiards, Bingo and North Berks Conservative Association. It was first Iicensed for marriages in May 1996.

Cornmarket C1920sEarly 1920s. The Corn Exchange has finished as a farmers’ dealing centre and is now Faringdon’s first cinema. The gallery still held the store of rat-infested grain sacks.

Cornmarket 19531953. The Corn Exchange is now being fully used as a public hall for dances, dinners and meetings. Bridge Turf Accountants was run by Mr F. Bowerman from an office at the front. The plaque commemorates Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1952.

Text extracted from: The Changing Faces of Faringdon and Surrounding Villages – Book 2 p39. By Rosemary Church, Jim Brown, Millie Bryan and Beryl Newman. Robert Boyd Publications.