Chelmsford, Shire Hall 1895. - a Memory of Chelmsford.

Many years ago the Shire Hall was where the Quarter Sessions trials were held. This would be the same as the Crown Court trials of to-day. The magistrates court was held in an old building which can still be seen in Church Street. Nowadays it is where the magistrates courts are to be for the time being. Enter into the foyer and Court 1 is to your right and Court 2 to your left. Court 3 can be found upstairs on the first floor. The adjoining picture room is where inquests used to be held. Now these are held in the main Essex County Council complex in buliding C, which is one of the first of the buildings to be constructed. While the Quarter Sessions were still being held here prisoners were transported via a tunnel under New Street to Shire Hall. The old police station was at the top left corner of Waterlloo Lane, and was sold off years ago after the construction of the new police station at the traffic lights in New Street and Victoria Road. The tunnel was bricked up halfway across for security reasons. Upstairs is the wonderful large ballroom one might call it. To-day this holds seminars, and functions such as parties in general and weddings in particular. Many a caterer has turned up with crates and barrels asking for where the lift is? Trouble is there isn't one. Plans were mooted many nyears ago, but I have no idea whether any progress has taken place with this scheme. Trouble is looming on the horizon as the new magistrates court is well under way in New Street, opposite the present Crown Court. So before long all the magistrates and staff will move out of Shire Hall and so will begin the start of what is to be done with this lovely building. Running costs including security will be high, so to find a use for it that will be viable will be worth watching. Or will it end up being offered for another use? As a listed building there sre quite a few limits that will stop many hopeful uses for it; but perhaps that's a good thing. Far too many old buildings are being lost; and in some cases their replacements leave much to be desired. Then there is the cell and interview areas in the basement. This will also have to be found a use for. Any suggestions?

A memory shared by John Crouch on Apr 2nd, 2011. Send John Crouch a message.

 Comments & Feedback

Sun Feb 14th 2016, at 4:22 pm
Jennifer Read commented:
On shopping trips in the 1950s we would sit on top of the canon if the weather was fine.

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