Date listed : 01 AUG 1995
Date of last amendment : 01 AUG 1995
SD 6828 SW
Library, museum and art gallery, now museum and art gallery. 1872-4, by Thomas Edward Collcutt of Woodzell & Collcutt, with sculpture by C.W.Seale of London; enlarged in C19, altered in C20. Coursed sandstone rubble with freestone dressings, steeply-pitched slate roof (now hipped but formerly with gables over the outer bays ofboth facades), red ridge tiles. Broad L-shaped plan on corner site facing west, with extension at east end. Free Gothic style with some Arts-and-Crafts detailing. Two storeys, 1:3:1 bays in a symmetrical design formerly with gables over the outer bays; with a plinth, carved foliated impost bands to both floors (differing), a similarly carved cornice and a plain parapet, all these carried round. The ground floor has a wide and deeply splayed 2-centred entrance archway chamfered in 4 orders, furnished with wrought-iron gates with lettered metal banners in Arts-and-Crafts style and leading to an internal porch with steps up and tiled side walls including pictorial panels depicting Painting and Poetry (left) and Science and Labour (right); and above the arch a stone pentice with a richly foliated carved panel. Flanking the entrance the inner bays have tall 2-centred arched one-light windows and the outer bays have windows of2 similar lights, all these windows in sunk panels. At 1st floor the centre and outer bays have large 2-centred arches with double-chamfered surrounds, carved impost bands, and quatrefoil windows in the heads, below which those in the outer bays have 3-light mullioned windows and that in the centre has a carved'panel (see below); the inner bays have square windows of 3 transomed arched lights above the impost band and carved panels below. The set of 3 panels contain bas relief sculpture of figures in ancient and medieval costume representing Art (left), Literature (centre) and Science (right). In the left return to Richmond Terrace (likewise lacking gables to the outer bays), the fenestration ofthe original range of 1:4:1 bays follows the pattern of inner and outer bays at the front (except that at ground floor the outer bays have 1-light windows and the inner have 2-light windows), and beneath the 1st-floor windows are four similar but more interestingly detailed relief panels representing contemporary Commerce, Textiles, Iron Founding and Agriculture. Continued to the east is a short 3-window symmetrical extension in similar style, with a large arched window containing a relief panel flanked by enriched blank arches containing carved shields. INTERIOR: entrance hall containing staircase with wrought-iron balustrading; former library hall to rear of this with 2-centred arcade formerly separating reference library from lending library, with carved foliated capitals to the piers but now blocked; former gallery to reference library now partitioned. Three exhibition halls at 1st floor. Despite mutilation caused by removal of all gables, retains much detailing typical of 1870s Gothic Revival. Forms group with Richmond Terrace to north (q.v.) and old Town Hall to south (q.v.). Included for group value.
< Building Legacy