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Crosshands Public Hall

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llannon, Carmarthenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7976 / 51°47'51"N

Longitude: -4.0902 / 4°5'24"W

OS Eastings: 255957

OS Northings: 213059

OS Grid: SN559130

Mapcode National: GBR DR.XVFV

Mapcode Global: VH4JG.220T

Entry Name: Crosshands Public Hall

Listing Date: 12 January 1999

Last Amended: 12 January 1999

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 21086

Building Class: Institutional

Location: 500m north-west of Crosshands crossroads

County: Carmarthenshire

Community: Llannon (Llan-non)

Community: Llannon

Locality: Crosshands Village

Built-Up Area: Pen-y-groes

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Cross Hands

History

Designed by an Italian architect resident in Swansea, said to have designed similar buildings in France before coming to the British Isles, and built in 1926. The Public Hall records have unfortunately not preserved his name. The front part was a theatre and the rear part contained committee rooms and a library. A film projection room was subsequently added at the rear of the balcony of the auditorium. The building was very carefully renovated in the early 1990s after a decade of neglect, with minor alterations to bring it up to modern fire safety and disabled access requirements. The main alterations externally were the substitution of single doors for double flanking the main entrance doors, the re-rendering of the sides of the building, the renewal of the steel window sections, the formation of wheelchair ramps and re-roofing with artificial slate. Internally the main alteration was the partitioning necessary to protect fire exit routes. The rear part is now a day centre for the elderly.

Exterior

The Public Hall consists of three blocks, in a line end-on to the street. Nearest to the street is the theatre. It has a symmetrical two-storey Art-Deco smooth rendered frontage a little wider, which rises to a parapet concealing the hip end of the roof and returns a short distance at the sides. The frontage facade is symmetrical. Its central part consists of the main doors (slightly altered in the recent restoration) beneath a large reinforced-concrete canopy. The canopy front and sides have repeated fascia panels; the end panels slightly enlarged, decorated with lion heads, and carrying globe lights on short openwork metal posts. In the storey above the canopy are triple clerestory windows in a frame containing also the words 'Public Hall' and a central motif. Above, on the parapet, is the name 'Cross Hands'.

At each side of the entrance the design emphasises a giant pilaster motif standing against a raised and slightly advancing section. It is also conspicuously divided into a plain upper storey and a rusticated lower storey. The lower angles of the upper storey of the advancing parts are decorated with little formalised half-acanthus features. The pilaster motifs are carried on bold corbel blocks at the top of the lower storey, stepped out over narrow windows. These pilasters resemble stylised torches: the channelled stepped blocks on the windows forming the holders, and the layered motifs which break the skyline at parapet level, the flames.

The side windows of the frontage, the clerestory windows, the little windows beneath the torches-like pilasters, and the glazed lights within and above the main doors are all designed with standard steel glazing bars including margin lights and all main panes divided into four diagonally.

The main part of the theatre is rendered. It has a slate roof with tiled ridge and front hips; the rear is gabled. Side windows in a group of three, with a decorative arrangement of panes similar to those of the front. At each side there is a low door from the auditorium and a higher door from stage level.

Behind the theatre block is a symmetrical two-storey five-window block of similar width containing community rooms, with a slightly lower slated roof half-hipped at each end. At each side, the ground storey position nearest to the theatre is a doorway. The windows are in standard steel frames, and consist of nine panes including an opening top-hung light at foot. A smaller block, with fire escape ladder, is on the centre-line at the rear. This is also rendered and slate roofed.

Interior

The foyer is entered by the central pair of doors; the outer doors are for exit from the balcony. At the centre of the foyer is a ticket cubicle in Art Deco style, with a hardwood-framed ticket window in a decorative plaster surround carried down to form the upper of two plinths. The cubicle has chamfered corners with fluting. Deeply fluted crest all round at top, central decorative motif. Symmetrical doors each side lead to inner foyer with a small bar at centre. Symmetrical doors then lead into the auditorium. The doors generally are of two panels, with the upper panel of octagonal shape and glazed.

The auditorium has a raking floor, a laterally curved ceiling, and a large reinforced concrete balcony with a curved front merging into the side walls. At the rear of the gallery are two very slender steel columns. Three decorative motifs at front of the balcony. Large proscenium with a ribbed frame consisting of a segmental top and straight sides on small plinths. The level of the stage has been raised about 150mm in the recent renovation. Exit double doors to serve the main auditorium are located each side in internal lobbies. Fluted parapet to the lobbies. Decorative motifs on the walls each side of the proscenium.

In the block to the rear of the theatre a staircase runs laterally at the back of the stage. The large room at the north side was formerly the library. A kitchen and toilets have been formed in the rear extending block.

Exit doors from the balcony sides at rear lead to the exit stairs, now fire-compartmented from the entrance lobby.

Reasons for Listing

Listed at II* as a fine example of a public hall in the Art-Deco style, meticulously restored, and retaining a refined and elegant architectural scheme including a good contemporary interior.

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