County Hall, Dorchester

The County Hall is a municipal facility at Colliton Park in Dorchester, Dorset.

County Hall, Dorchester
Dorchester - County Hall (geograph 3007327).jpg
County Hall
County Hall is located in Dorset
County Hall
County Hall
Location within Dorset
General information
AddressColliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset
CountryUnited Kingdom
Coordinates50°43′00″N 2°26′26″W / 50.7166°N 2.4406°W / 50.7166; -2.4406Coordinates: 50°43′00″N 2°26′26″W / 50.7166°N 2.4406°W / 50.7166; -2.4406
Completed1955
Design and construction
ArchitectH E Matthews

HistoryEdit

In the early 20th century Shire Hall in Dorchester was the local facility for dispensing justice and the meeting place of Dorset County Council.[1] After deciding the Shire Hall was inadequate for their needs, county leaders chose to procure a new county headquarters: the site selected had previously been open land known as "Colliton Park" which had once been occupied by the monastic hospital of St John the Baptist.[2][3][4] A statue of Thomas Hardy, located to the south east of County Hall, predates the building and was erected in 1931.[5]

The foundation stone for the new building at Colliton Park was laid by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, the Earl of Shaftesbury, on 26 September 1938.[6] Progress was delayed because of the Second World War and the building, which was designed by the county architect, H. E. Matthews, was only completed on 27 May 1955.[6] The design involved a symmetrical main frontage with seventeen bays facing south; the central section of five bays, which projected slightly forward, featured a doorway on the ground floor flanked by two columns with the county coat of arms above; there was a triple window on the first floor and a flagpole at roof level. The plans for the new building had to be modified so that a Roman townhouse, located just north of site, could remain in situ.[7] The building was officially dedicated by the Bishop of Sherborne, Maurice Key, on 11 May 1956.[6]

A memorial to the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, the Dorset Regiment who died during the Battle of Kohima, which took place in India in spring 1944 during the Second World War, was unveiled outside County Hall in May 2015.[8][9]

Following the merger of the former non-metropolitan districts of Weymouth and Portland, West Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck and East Dorset in April 2019,[10] a new unitary authority, known as Dorset Council, continued to use County Hall alongside South Walks House in Dorchester as its headquarters.[11] However, the new unitary authority put nearly 600 staff at risk of redundancy in July 2019.[12]

Works of art in County Hall include a painting by Elizabeth Thompson depicting the 1st Battalion, the Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry securing a British victory against German and Ottoman-instigated Senussi forces at the action of Agagia which took place in Egypt on 26 February 1916 during the First World War.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "About Shire Hall". Shire Hall, Dorset. Retrieved 23 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "About Us". The Colliton Club. Retrieved 11 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Ordnance Survey Map". 1930. Retrieved 11 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Page, William (1908). "'Hospitals: Dorchester', in A History of the County of Dorset". London: British History Online. pp. 101–103. Retrieved 11 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Statue to Thomas Hardy – 6 August 1931 – page 4
  6. ^ a b c "County Hall - Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset". Waymarking. Retrieved 23 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Historic England. "Roman House, Dorchester (1210098)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  8. ^ "New Kohima Stone Dedicated at Service in Dorchester". The Keep Military Museum. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Veterans honoured at VJ commemorations in Dorchester and on Portland". Dorset Echo. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "New unitary authorities formally takeover from Dorset's nine councils". Public Sector Executive. 1 April 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Dorchester Town Council". Archived from the original on 1 June 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Dorset Council staff warned of redundancy over mergers". BBC. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Butler, Elizabeth Southerden Thompson. "The Dorset Yeomen at Agagia, 26 February 1916". Art UK. Retrieved 11 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)