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

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

City of Bristol (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
ST 58861 73055



ST5873SE CORN STREET, Centre 901-1/11/581 (North West side) 08/01/59 The Old Council House and attached front gates (Formerly Listed as: CORN STREET (North side) The Old Council House including the Treasurer's Office)


Council chamber and treasurer's office, now courts. 1824-27. By Sir Robert Smirke. Sculpture by EH Baily. Extended 1828 by RS Pope and G Dymock. Limestone ashlar with Pennant ashlar plinth, roof not visible. Neoclassical style. 2 storeys, attic and basement; 5-window range, with a 2-storey; 3-window left-hand extension. The Council House is symmetrical with a plinth to a moulded band, articulated above by giant pilasters to an entablature with dentil cornice, the end window sections set back, and the centre recessed between giant fluted Ionic columns; a mid C20 attic storey behind outer balustrades, tall panelled parapets and recessed centre with a statue of Justice holding a spear on a wide plinth. Steps up to a large doorway with pilaster jambs to an entablature, 2-leaf doors with 6 flush panels with roundels; the windows have battered eared architraves, console cornices to the inner ground-floor windows, with recessed cills, to 6/6-pane sashes. Between the pilasters is a first-floor sill band with raised stylised leaves. Parapet sections flanking the centre have raised heraldic panels, and 2 attic windows flank the statue. Mid C20 attic storey extended behind the balustrade. The right return has a symmetrical 5-window range with end sections set forward between pilasters, articulated as the front with first-floor band, console cornices to the outer first-floor windows, and a balustrade with dies. 4 low basement windows have 8/8-pane sashes. The former Treasurer's Office is symmetrical with a plinth, recessed cills, first-floor plat band, cornice and blocking course. Distyle Greek Doric columns to the entrance, with an entablature with triglyphs and cornice to a recessed doorway, now a window with ashlar panel beneath the cill; ground-floor windows have torus mouldings, architraves above with console cornice to the middle, and 6/6-pane sashes. Low basement windows have grilles. INTERIOR: wide entrance and stair hall with black and white marble tiles, segmental-arched coffered ceiling and a good open cantilevered stone dogleg stair with brass inlaid treads, curtail and brass column balusters; first-floor rear former Council Chamber articulated by fluted pilasters to a deep frieze with festoon, and segmental-arched windows with small leaded panes; first-floor rear left-hand chamber has fine Greek Revival-style decoration with palmettes and anthemia, with gilded pilasters to the narrower end bays, a modillion cornice, a central round lantern with plate-glass windows, shallow dome and iron pendant, a fine doorway with architrave and console cornice beneath the Royal Arms, and 2 good black marble fire surrounds with Greek Doric columns to an entablature; ground-floor rooms with panelling, strapwork to the ceilings and Jacobean Revival-style fireplaces with red marble consoles and carved overmantels; a Parliament clock in the first-floor left-hand front room; basement with semicircular-arched tunnel vaults. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached cast-iron gates with diagonal bars and brass finials to the entrance. Housed the Council House and offices until relocation to College Green after the Second World War, and after used as Magistrates' courts. The Treasurer's Office was added when the House was found to provide insufficient space, was Pope's first recorded work and an early accurate use of Greek detail. (Gomme A, Jenner M and Little B: Bristol, An Architectural History: Bristol: 1979-: 237; Crick C: Victorian Buildings in Bristol: Bristol: 1975-: 1; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 414).

Listing NGR: ST5886173055


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Crick, C , Victorian Buildings in Bristol, (1975), 1
Gomme, A H, Jenner, M, Little, B D G, Bristol, An Architectural History, (1979), 237
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (1958), 414


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

Images of England

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Date: 14 Oct 1999
Reference: IOE01/01415/07
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter Frederick Rushby. Source Historic England Archive
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