The Great Hall is the most impressive room at Towneley. It was built around 1626 but completely altered in 1726 to create the Baroque entrance hall we see today. The plasterwork completed in 1731 is by Francesco Vassalli. In the 19th century it was called the Front Hall or simply the Hall and the Entrance Hall after 1902. It became known as the Great Hall in the 1970s, (see An Introduction to the Architectural History of Towneley Hall )
The gift of marble busts by Edward Stocks Massey between 1904 and 1909 added dignity to the room. From the early years of the museum it was never overcrowded with exhibits. The large Barcroft Table was placed here in 1923.
In 1968, the Borough Surveyor reported to Burnley Council that there was rot in the roof and the centre of the ceiling was sagging. The roof space above was cleaned out and an extensive renovation of the ceiling was required. This was completed in September 1970 and the entrance hall was then repainted. There are photographs of the ceiling prior to renovation in the history files.