Over the last week or so, a brand new set of steps has risen at the south end of the Town Hall. A lot of people have been coming into the Town Council Office to comment on how beautiful they look… but why have we added steps? In living memory, there has only ever been one way into the Town Hall on the Ground Floor – the front door from the piazza, but when the building was built in 1704 it was created with open sides as a market place. Originally, you could have got into the market place at 12 points!
This image shows the building how it looked when it was first built, we can recognise it as our Town Hall, but the ground floor windows are all openings. This is the image that the architects saw during the planning phase of our project and began thinking about other ways into the building other than the front door. You can see that originally the Town Hall had steps around the building, so we can see that it has always stood proud of the street, at least at the south end, as it heads down towards Bridge Street.
This painting from 1836, shows Brackley people sitting on the steps at the south end of the building, these images are evidence that there have been steps around the building, so adding steps now isn’t a new idea.
The architects, with consultation from Heritage England, loved the idea of a new southern entrance to the Town Hall to replicate the archway entrances of the original building.
The stone for the steps has been carefully sourced and a timeline of important dates has added to the steps. There are lights in the steps too, which will add to the first impression of the Town Hall that everyone who visits Brackley from the south will get.
The conservation plan, which has informed the project from the very beginning in terms of heritage and history, includes the Statement of Significance – A Statement of Significance assesses what is important about a building, monument, Conservation Area or landscape, how important it is and why. Find it here (pages 27-30). brackley-town-hall-conservation-plan-final-low-res