STAFFORD’S Shire Hall - a little bit of history.....
In 1280 there was a county court in the Market Square which was rebuilt on the present Shire Hall site in about 1600.
Forward to 1794 when designs by Wyatt of Shugborough and Harvey resulted in the present hall and two court rooms used for Quarter Sessions. All were refitted in 1854.
In 1991 they were adopted by Staffordshire County Council. The Great Hall was used for popular exhibitions and the former exercise yard was covered over to become Stafford Library. This made a successful and imaginative use of the area.
So the Shire Hall deserves its description as “one of the finest public buildings in Stafford” (British Listed Buildings, Jan 1951)
Why this account of the past?
For more than 700 years the Shire Hall in Market Square has been a focal point in the lives of people of Stafford. For the past 220 years in its present form it has continued to be a source of civic pride and a centre for surprisingly diverse public activities.
Now there is a council proposal to sell off this historic listed building with the Great Hall, courts and library. This is because of “running costs” and the need to fill vacant sites in the £23m Stafford Place offices.
This is an unfortunate proposal possibly erroneously based. It should be resisted robustly.
Make your views known to ‘Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee’, Staffordshire County Council, to your councillor and to Jeremy Lefroy MP.