Categories of Special Interest
Architectural Artistic Social
In Use As
Theatre/opera house/concert hall
1820 - 1830
Freestanding former court house, built 1825, formerly used as town hall, now in use as theatre. Single-storey entrance block with slightly advanced end bays and ashlar limestone facade with slightly projecting Doric portico to recessed three-bay middle unit. Five-bay three-storey rear block slightly recessed from side elevations of front block and having four-bay side and five-bay rear elevations, latter with projecting porticoed entrance. Hipped slate roof to rear block behind tooled limestone parapet concealing rainwater goods. Flat roof to front block with tooled limestone parapet wall concealing rainwater goods, and having rectangular panels to parapet of end bays and portico. Moulded cornice to front façade. Channelled walling to end bays of front façade with plinth and impost course. Tooled entablature to portico with string courses to frieze. Painted rendered walls to side and rear elevations, with double-height round-headed recesses to side elevations, with tooled limestone plinth, tooled sill courses to upper floors, moulded cornice to eaves, and channelled quoins. Segmental-headed window openings to end bays of front and to side elevations of front block, with chamfered tooled limestone sills, having limestone stall-risers and channelled voussoirs to front façade, all with fixed timber-framed tripartite windows with small-pane overlights and having decorative timber panels. Square-headed window openings elsewhere, rear block having limestone sills and channelled stone surrounds to top floor and raised render surrounds to other floors, with replacement timber windows. Three-bay main entrance comprises square-headed door openings with double-leaf timber glazed doors to each side of fixed timber-framed window, all with overlights, and limestone stepped approach. Doric portico to rear entrance comprises four columns supporting entablature with frieze and cornice, with square-headed doorway to rear having timber glazed double-leaf door with overlight and side-panels, with limestone stepped approach. Square-headed door openings to side and rear elevations within round-headed recesses having carved moulded limestone surrounds with recent keystones and replacement double-leaf battened timber double-leaf door, with limestone steps.
This impressive and prominently located building was designed by a local architect, Alexander Hay, and it imitates, on a less grand scale, the design of the county court house opposite. Its stepped form determines its appearance and as, with its counterpart opposite, embellishment is mainly reserved for the front block. It incorporates classical elements such as the Greek Doric portico and rear porch and exhibits evidence of fine architectural planning and detailing. The building served as a town court house and town hall until 1885 after which time it was used solely as a town hall, and for much of the twentieth century it also housed a cinema, and since 1996 has been the Town Hall Theatre.