Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Old Town Hall, Ottery St Mary, Devon

On a chance visit with a friend to Otter Nurseries, I had a spare half an hour afterwards to have a quick look around this part of the town. There are several lovely old buildings, many of them listed, and I managed to take photos of three of them including this one. This one isn't listed but it does have a blue plaque and some interesting history, along with some rather nice architecture.

Now the public library on the top floor; the ground floor comprising the Tourist Information Office and the Ottery Gazette newspaper, it was originally built as the Town Hall in 1859. The site, which is called The Flexton, became the market place in 1226 by Royal Charter, and the land for the Town Hall was leased from Lord of the Manor, Sir John Kennaway of Escot.

Built in the Victorian Gothic style, there are plenty of interesting features, including the wrought iron barred doors and the head stops at the end of the hood moulds above the door arches.

The photo above shows the library door and the view over the market place. Below is one of the heads, with an ogee window to the right...between which is a slightly more modern wrought iron bracket! ;)

In 1894 the hall was used as chambers by the newly formed Ottery St Mary Urban District Council. The police station and magistrate's court were also housed in the building. The lease was given to the town in 1958 and the new public library was installed in 1965.

Part of the ground floor, above, now the Ottery Gazette offices. Below shows the detail of another head stop. I rather like head stops!

On the south side are these fab arcaded arches, which makes great use of the wonderful red brick facade.

Below can be seen the detail of an exterior chimney on the east side.

Below, a view of the north east corner. It's not too clear, as my camera was facing the full sun, but you can just about make out the exterior chimney stack on the east side.

And finally, a close-up of the front steps, showing the deligthfullly decorative quoins and the blue plaque. The tiny plants growing on the wall are called Ivy Leafed Bell Flower. A big name for a tiny plant!

A few more photos, along with these, can also be seen the Photo Gallery album.

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