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Town Hall and Public Library

A Grade II Listed Building in Bideford, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0166 / 51°0'59"N

Longitude: -4.2051 / 4°12'18"W

OS Eastings: 245426

OS Northings: 126453

OS Grid: SS454264

Mapcode National: GBR KJ.JBJR

Mapcode Global: FRA 262F.HKM

Entry Name: Town Hall and Public Library

Listing Date: 19 March 1973

Last Amended: 19 April 1993

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1200934

English Heritage Legacy ID: 375905

Location: Bideford, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Bideford

Built-Up Area: Bideford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bideford St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text


842-1/6/194 (West side)
19/03/73 Town Hall and Public Library
(Formerly Listed as:
Town Hall)
(Formerly Listed as:
Free Library)


Town Hall and Public Library. Rear part of Town Hall 1850. By
RD Gould of Barnstaple, builder EM White of Bideford; front
part and library 1905 by Alfred Dunn of Birmingham.
Red brick with limestone detailing on squared stone rubble and
ashlar bases; some coursed stone rubble in the less important
parts of rear elevation. Slate roof; 1850 section with crested
buff ridge-tiles. On original east gable-end of this section
is a stone chimney with 3 octagonal shafts having crenellated
Plan: roughly L-shaped, with Gould's Town Hall, containing the
court room on its upper floor, facing Bridge Street and Dunn's
town hall on the New Road side containing the council chamber
and mayor's room on the upper floor. The present entrance is
under Gould's building, leading to the 1905 main staircase at
the rear. The library lies at the S end of the New Road
2 storeys, except for single-storeyed library. Designed in
early Tudor style, Dunn's work matching closely with Gould's.
The latter's building is 4 windows wide with simple paired
Tudor-arched windows in the ground storey. Upper storey has
taller mullioned-and-transomed windows with traceried heads;
above them a battlemented parapet. All windows have patterned
leaded glazing. Between the windows in both storeys are
buttresses with offsets, these finished with diagonally-set,
crenellated pinnacles which rise above the parapet.
On the splayed corner with Church Walk is an octagonal stone
bell-turret with 2 tiers of trefoil-headed openings and a
battlemented parapet. Lower down is an old stone coat-of-arms,
probably taken from another building, flanked by a lion and a
Main elevation to Church Walk has a 4-light
mullioned-and-transomed window similar in style to those
facing Bridge Street but with 4 lozenges in place of a
transom, each containing a quatrefoil and a shield. To the
right of it is a 2-storeyed oriel window with Tudor-arched
lights, and in the ground storey a segmental-headed doorway
with MAGISTRATES ROOM painted on it in gold letters. On the S
gable-end is a small stone tablet carved with an architect's
compasses and set-square and initials R G .
Dunn's extension continues Gould's design with 2 further bays,
except that the windows have square lead lights. There are 2
rainwater-heads dated 1905. On the splayed corner with New
Road is a turret similar to Gould's but with a crocketed dome
in place of a parapet. At first-floor level, opening off the
council chamber, is a corbelled stone balcony with a
balustrade of open trefoil-headed panels. Below it is incised
SON, BUILDERS, BIDEFORD. The gable-end to New Road has a
5-light canted, mullioned-and-transomed oriel in Gould's
style, but with cinquefoil-headed panels below and quatrefoil
ones above. Flanking it are 2 segmental-headed windows, each
of 2 mullioned-and-transomed lights, the latter with
cinquefoiled heads.
To the left is a 4-storeyed entrance-tower, now serving only
the library. It has massive battered buttresses and a tall
battlemented parapet. On top is an octagonal turret with a
patterned leaded base, the upper part with open trefoil-headed
arches and an ogee leaded roof; set diagonally to the tower
are 4 flying buttresses with crocketed pinnacles.
The library is designed after the manner of a medieval hall
with 3 mullioned and double-transomed windows, each of 3
Tudor-arched lights. The middle window is flanked by
buttresses matching Gould's and above it, under a
segmental-headed parapet, is a stone tablet inscribed FREE
LIBRARY. At the left-hand end is a gabled projection
containing a canted bay window similar to the other 3. On its
parapet is a shield carved with the date 1905.
INTERIOR: Gould's Courtroom has panelled rostrum at west end
flanked by enclosed stair turrets; that to left has wooden
open-well stair with thin chamfered balusters and newels.
Turrets linked above rostrum by an open gallery with a
patterned iron railing. The other 3 sides of room have open
galleries on octagonal iron columns with fluting on the upper
parts; wooden rails with turned balusters and newels. Fixed
wooden benches, possibly original, under rear gallery and in
the galleries themselves. Cambered panelled ceiling with
moulded beams and flower-bosses. Dunn's Council Chamber is
panelled with ceiling similar to that in Courtroom; original
furniture with 1751 bell from the Old Bridge Hall. Main
staircase probably of concrete; open-well with iron balusters,
alternately thin square and turned ones, and scrolled newels.
Library has an open timber roof.
(Granville R: History of Bideford: Bideford: 1883-: 99, 102).

Listing NGR: SS4543226465

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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