Town Hall, Huddersfield

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Building News (21/Oct/1881)

The new Town Hall at Huddersfield, which has been built at a cost of £40,000, was opened on Tuesday. The building has been erected from designs which were prepared by the late Mr. J. H. Abbey, during the time he was the borough surveyor. At the commencement of the work, Mr. Abbey secured the services of Mr. Frederick Wild, architect, Bradford, to whom he entrusted the whole of the designing of the working details in connection with the building. After the death of Mr. Abbey, Mr. B. Stocks, architect, Huddersfield, was appointed by the Corporation to act in the capacity of consulting architect, along with Mr. Wild. The style is Classic, of the Corinthian order. The pile occupies a site bounded on one side by Corporation Street, on the other side by Peel Street, and at the south end by Princess Street, while at the north end are the Municipal Offices, with which there is direct communication. For a building of such importance the situation is most unfortunate, lacking prominence and surroundings in which its proportions could be displayed to proper advantage. The height from the ground line at the centre of the main entrance to the top of the balustrade is 77ft. The entrance itself is 17ft. in height by 9ft. in width. The portico has four Corinthian columns and pilasters, which support the entablature. The windows, of which there are two, one on each side of the entrance, have granite columns. On the main floor front are columns 27ft. in height, with carved Corinthian capitals and moulded bases. The windows are circular-headed, three in number, the principal one in the centre having an elaborately carved and sunk head ; they have also moulded architraves, carved key-stones, granite columns with carved capitals and moulded bases. The whole is surmounted by a moulded architrave and frieze, and large moulded cornice with moulded medallions and dentils, with moulded and sunk balustrade. The centre of this front, to the whole height of the building, containing the principal window and entrance, projects some 5ft. from the rest of the front. The side elevations are in harmony with the front, though neither so elaborate nor richly ornamented. With regard to the interior, the basement will afford ample cellarage, and be also available for the detention of prisoners. The court-room is 35ft. long, 37ft. broad, and 20ft. high from floor to ceiling, the public entrance being from Peel Street, and the magisterial and official entrance from Corporation Street. A suite of rooms for the use of the Huddersfield School Board is also provided on this floor. The entire first floor is devoted to the Assembly Hall and its adjuncts. It is approached by the public from Princess Street by a flight of steps which lead to a vestibule 37ft. wide by 23ft. deep, having cloakrooms right and left. A flight of a dozen wide stone steps leads to a landing, from which branch right and left two flights of handsome stone stairs which conduct to a second landing from which the main floor of the hall is reached. This floor is 75ft. 6in. long by 60ft. 6in. wide, with a height from floor to ceiling of 55ft. ; the area is about 4,750ft. ; the hall, exclusive of the orchestra and gallery, contains about 260,150 cubic feet of space. This area is calculated to provide sitting accommodation for 1,100 persons. A balcony extends around three sides of the hall, and at a still higher level, but thrown back from the hall itself, is a gallery capable of accommodating 500 people. The hall altogether will seat 2,250 persons. The space under the gallery is utilised as a refreshment room. The orchestra is 37ft. wide and 25ft. in depth, with retiring-rooms for speakers and musicians on either hand. It contains the whole of the latest improvements in mechanical contrivances, one especial feature connected with it being a sliding platform, contrived so as to make the stage larger or smaller, whilst the seats are all removable in sections whereby the stage can be used for operatic performances on a plan designed by Mr. Wild. The ornamenting of the hall generally and the colouring has been done by Mr. B. Dixon, of Bradford, and the designer is Mr. Wild. The hall is lighted by means of three sunlights, together with two-light brackets. The building is heated with hot water.

Historic England Listing

  • Grade II
  • first listed 29 September 1978
  • listing entry number 1231723

RAMSDEN STREET (South Side). Huddersfield Town Hall, including wall and railings to area. Built in two parts, the lower part (to Ramsden Street) 1875-6, the higher part (to Princess Street) 1878-81. Architect of the latter: J H Abbey. Ashlar. Two storeys, and basement. Earlier part. Moulded eaves cornice, taken on stone brackets along facade. Parapet along facade, with panelled dies, the two central ones taller and crowned with urns: they flank the Borough Arms. Ground floor horizontally rusticated and surmounted by entablature. Continuous moulded impost band on first floor. Seven window ranges, those on first floor round-arched, with keystones and moulded voussoirs, those on ground floor segment-headed and set in recessed panels, with fielded panels in aprons. Steps up to door. Porch in antis, flanked by paired columns taking full entablature with parapet. Area has cast iron railings with ornamental finials at either end, but low wall in front, and piers with fielded panels, moulded cornices and urns on top. Later part. Full entablatures to ground and first floors, both modillioned, eaves cornice dentilled as well. Panelled parapet with moulded coping. Ground floor has horizontally rusticated angle piers. first floor has a giant Corinthian order. Three ranges of windows, round-arched with sculpted masks on keystones, moulded voussoirs and impost bands. Ground floor windows and central first floor window are sub-divided by a slender colonnette taking two round arches with oculus in spandrels. Sculpted panels above flanking first floor windows. Central bay breaks forward and is crowned with segmental pediment. Round-arched porch in antis, flanked by paired pilasters taking consoles to cornice. Nine ranges of sashes in side elevations, end bays breaking forward and crowned by segmental pediments. Interior. Concert Hall (in later part) decorated in monumental style, viz, giant pilasters, coved ceiling with moulded stress beams, apsed organ recess, gallery on iron columns, two upper galleries, windows with large keystones with masks. Extremely lavish stucco ornament on front of balconies, spandrels of windows, in frieze and on soffits of ceiling beams. Lavish stucco ornament to ceilings and arches elsewhere in building, and elaborate wooden door surrounds. Staircase with elaborately twisted iron balusters. The Town Hall opened in 1881 with a three day festival in which Sir Charles Halle said that the Huddersfield Choral Society was the best he had ever conducted.


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