Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SY 67943 78756



SY6778NE ST EDMUND STREET 873-1/23/282 (South side) 12/12/53 Guildhall, with attached rear boundary wall (Formerly Listed as: ST EDMUND STREET (South side) Guildhall)


Guildhall. 1836-7, with late C20 modifications. By Talbot Bury (RCHME). Portland stone ashlar, rear and party walls rendered, slate roof. A formal classical statement, with tall projecting portico carried on an open arcaded ground storey carried across the pavement. A grand entrance hall with staircase is flanked by cells to the left and offices to the right; on this side, in Maiden Street was formerly an open arcaded walk, now enclosed. The upper floor has a full-width main chamber, with service rooms behind. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, 5 bay front and 3 bay return. The principal front is in 1:3:1 windows; the tetrastyle Ionic portico with pediment covers three 15-pane sashes in moulded architraves, the centre light with cornice on scrolled consoles, and the outer bays have tripartite 5:15:5-pane sashes with stone pilaster mullions and entablature set between main pilasters and responds to the portico, and on a sill band with ovolo mould, which continues as a base to the portico columns. Ground floor is channelled, with voussoirs, and has a 9-pane arched sash with radial head in a plat surround and with panelled apron, flanking 3 arched openings, the central one elliptical over a pair of 3-panel doors; the side openings have bold cast-iron gates to small lobbies. That to the left has a 4-pane flush door under 4-pane transom light, on 4 stone steps, and to the right, where the lobby soffit has been lowered, a similar door. The 3 centre bays are under the bold projecting portico, forming a porte-cochere, with 3 front openings and single end ones, all arched. This front has a high plain plinth, a full entablature, and 4 square piers with moulded caps at the blocking-course level. The party wall to the left is plain, rendered. The front to Maiden Street is detailed as the main facade, with plain above channelled ashlar on a plain plinth. The first floor is in 5 bays divided by full-height pilasters and

end responds, with 3 deep 15-pane sashes to pilasters and inset entablature, on a sill band, and blank end bays. Ground floor has 3 arched sashes (the centre one blind) and 2 high arched openings with heavy cast-iron gates backed by plate glass; these formerly gave to the internal open passageway. Above the entablature are 6 piers with cappings, but no connecting blocking course. The rear wall has 3 large sashes, the centre one without glazing bars, and a parallel range of lower 2-storey work with 2 arched sashes, corner pilasters, cornice and blocking course. INTERIOR: the entrance doors, in a deep chamfered plain stone surround internally, have have heavy strap hinges, the upper ones carried around the elliptical top rails, and open to 4 stone steps leading to a square hall with stone floor. To left and right, through arched doorways with cast-iron gates, are vaulted chambers off an inner corridor, with 4-panel flush doors under fanlights. The end of the hall has 3 lofty arches over the wide stone staircase, which divides from a landing to flights with risers. The cast-iron balustrades have a heavy mahogany wreathed handrail. At the landing is a deep niche containing a white marble statue, signed 'THEAKSTON, Sculp: 1821' of Samuel Weston '... four times Mayor ... died 1817 ...', and paid for by public subscription. The central of 3 landing sashes carries an engraved panel with the Weymouth Arms. Doors generally are 4-panelled. The upper floor formerly had 2 main spaces, a Court Room and a Council Chamber; this is now in one running across the front, with the centre section marked by square painted pilasters and responds carrying deep beams, to a simple compartmental ceiling, with egg-and-dart cornice below a deep plain frieze to a C19 moulded ceiling cornice. The centre section has a raised and recessed platform backed by panelling, with a panelled front balustrade. At either end of this space are Royal Arms; at the E end to Queen Victoria, in carved wood, of 1842, and at the W end a fine painted and carved Arms of James I, supported by gilded figures representing Peace and Plenty. George I Arms on canvas, painted and possibly given by James Thornhill in 1721 (the year of his election as MP (RCHME). A suitably dignified building, the Guildhall cannot be fully appreciated as it faces a narrow street. It is on the site of a former Melcombe Regis Town Hall. Behind the building, at the far end of the rear wall is a projecting section of high rubble wall, which could possibly date from this earlier building. (RCHME: Dorset, South-East: London: 1970-: 338).

Listing NGR: SY6793878757


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Inventory of Dorset II South East, (1970), 338


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 12 Dec 2004
Reference: IOE01/12017/35
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Brian H. James. Source Historic England Archive
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