Chester Town Hall
Chester Town Hall is in Northgate Street in the centre of the city of Chester, Cheshire, England. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building.

History
In 1698 an Exchange was built to accommodate the city's administrators. This building burnt down in 1862. A competition was held to build a new town hall and this was won by William Henry Lynn of Belfast. The building cost £40,000 (£2,850,000 as of 2011). It was officially opened on 15 October 1869 by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) who was accompanied by W. E. Gladstone, the Prime Minister. On 27 March 1897 the council chamber on the second floor was gutted by fire. It was restored by T. M. Lockwood the following year. In 1979 a clock was installed in the tower with three faces; there is no face on the west side of the tower.

Architecture

Exterior
The hall is built in banded pink and buff sandstone with a grey-green slate roof. The building is symmetrical, in ten bays, and in the Ruskinian Gothic Revival style, applying features of late 13th-century Gothic architecture to a modern use. Above the central two bays is a tower which terminates with gables and a short diagonal spire. The spire rises to a height of 160 feet (49 m). The building has a semi-basement, two main storeys and a dormer attic. The entrance is approached by two opposed flights of steps. Above the porch are four sculptures in Bath stone depicting episodes from the history of the city.

Interior
The entrance leads to the Waiting Hall. Also on this floor are the Palatine Room, the Assembly Room and the Court Room. Flanking the doors of the Waiting Hall are busts of George V and Sir Horatio Lloyd, who was Recorder of Chester from 1866 to 1921. Also in the hall are three sculptures which depict minstrels marching to the aid of Earl Ranulph III who was besieged in Rhuddlan Castle, Sir William Brereton following his arrest in 1642, Edward, the Black Prince granting a charter to the city in 1354 and Henry VII granting county status to Chester in 1506. Outside the Assembly Room is a war memorial to the 768 citizens of Chester who died as a result of the First World War and a plaque to the memory of those who died in the Second World War. The Assembly Room is the largest room in the Town Hall and has a stage at one end. On the staircase are shields and plaques presented by visitors to the Town Hall. Above the staircase are Victorian stained glass windows depicting the seven Norman Earls of Chester. On the first floor are the council chamber, the Lord Mayoral suite, a committee room and the members' room. The council chamber was rebuilt after the fire of 1897. It is panelled and contains wooden and stone carvings. The Lord Mayoral suite consists of the Lord Mayor's Parlour and the Mayoress' Parlour. In the committee room are panels bearing the names of the mayors of Chester from 1238, the sheriffs from 1836, the earls from around 1070, the clerks and town clerks from 1291 and the recorders from 1506.

Insignia and plate
The insignia include a sword of state, its hilt dating from the 15th century and its decoration and sheath from 1668, a great mace dated 1668, a ceremonial oar dated 1719”“20 and a porter's staff dated 1721. The plate includes a two-handed cup dated 1654, tankards dated 1668”“69 and 1669”“70, flagons dated 1678”“79 and 1679”“;80, a ewer dated 1679”“80, flagons dated 1684”“85 and 1685”“86, three salvers dated 1701”“02, a snuff box dated 1704”“;05, a flagon dated 1725”“26 a salver dated 1729”“30 and two punch bowls dated 1786 and 1787.

Present use
Most of the work of the council's departments are carried out in an adjacent building. The Town Hall stands as a symbolic expression of the civil government of the city. Many of the rooms in the Town Hall are available for hire, and the hall is licensed for weddings.

Building Activity

  • Kiril Pavlov
    Kiril Pavlov activity.buildings_person.create
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com