Level: Category
Business records
Level: Fonds
Scope and Content:
The Chelmsford Corn Exchange Company was formed in 1855 for the purpose of securing a site for, and the building and management of a new Corn Exchange. Previously, a space beneath the Shire Hall had been allocated for the buying and selling of corn, on payment of the requisite dues to the lord of the Manor of Chelmsford alias Bishop's Hall (29 George iii sect. 8). In 1834 a petition on behalf of the merchants was presented to the Justices at the Quarter Sessions, urging that new facilities be made available for the market, since the Shire Hall entrance did not admit enough light for the examination of the corn, and suggesting that land opposite the Shire Hall be appropriated for this purpose and for county occasions generally (Q/AS 2/3). Alternative plans to alter the Shire Hall were drawn up by Thomas Hopper, County Surveyor, and presented to a general purpose committee appointed in the same year (Q/AS 1/4/1). The plans were adopted and it was recommended that they be carried out through private subscription, which was put into effect when subscriptions totalled £460 in January 1835 (Q/SO 34, f. et seq .). Despite the alterations, pressure for a new building continued. The guide to the Royal Agricultural Exhibition held at Chelmsford in 1856, refers to the proposed new building "the extended business of the Market and the call of the public having induced a local company to undertake the work". William Ward, Duffield, a Chelmsford Solicitor, become secretary and a provisional committee was appointed following a meeting of interested parties on 8 August, 1855. The company's Certificate of Incorporation was granted in 1857 and work then began on the building , a site in Tindal Square having been purchased the previous year. Architects plans, drawn up by Frederic Chancellor, of Beadel, Son and Chancellor, are not included in the Company archive, nor among other Chancellor plans deposited separately in the E.R.O. It would appear from correspondence that the architect was also involved in negotiations for the purchase of the site.
The new Exchange measured 100 feet by 45 feet, and the roof of the main hall reached an apex 40 feet above the floor. The hall was curved at one end for a platform and had a gallery at the opposite end to facilitate public entertainments. A large room for auctioneering and several small offices were also provided.
Demolition of the Exchange been in May 1969 to make way for redevolopment of the town centre. The Company, under its General Manager, Mr. A.G. Wilks, had previously gone into liquidation, and the site sold to Chelmsford Borough Council.

The records fall into 3 main categories, which concern
(i) Setting up, constitutions and daily administration of the Company
(ii) Building of the Exchange, with deeds of site
(iii) Subsequently lettings, maintenance, etc.

D/F 32/1-7 Records of the setting up and constitution of the Company
D/F 32/8-17 Records of the daily running of the company: Minutes, Share and Finance
D/F 32/18-20 Deeds and associated papers of site of Corn Exchanging building in Tindal Square, Chelmsford, including deed of purchase by Company
D/F 32/21-25 Deeds of adjoining property
D/F 32/26-28 Contracts, correspondence, etc., relating to erection of building
D/F 32/29-32 Records of insurance and alterations to building
D/F 32/33-38 Co. leases of parks of building and surrounding property
D/F 32/39-46 Agreements etc., with advertising agents, Stallholders
D/F 32/47 Press cuttings relating to winding up of Company, demolition of building, etc.
D/F 32/48 Documents unrelated to Company