Council House, Priory Road, Dudley – coat of arms

A few nice suit coat images I found:

Council House, Priory Road, Dudley – coat of arms
suit coat
Image by ell brown
This is the Council House in Dudley, dating from around 1934-5.

It is the home of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

It was Grade II listed in 2010.

Civic building including council chamber, committee rooms and offices for various departments of Dudley Borough Council. Built in 1934-5 to the designs of W. Alexander Harvey FRIBA and H. Graham Wicks ARIBA and constructed by John Dallow & sons, contractors, with sculptural decoration by Walter Gilbert and William Bloye.

MATERIALS: The building has walling of brindle-coloured brick laid in English bond with ashlar dressings and a hipped slate roof with lead flashings.

PLAN: The building is of two-storeys with a semi-basement. It fronts onto Priory Street, where its south-eastern corner connects to the old police building, and Priory Road. At the centre of the Priory Road front is an entrance which leads to a lobby and staircase hall leading up to a semi-circular hall at first floor level. The council chamber projects in a wing to the south-west of this and wide, central corridors lead to further rooms and offices.

EXTERIOR: The building faces north-east to Priory Street and north-west onto Priory Road. Mullioned and transomed windows with ashlar surrounds are used across the building. There is a slightly recessed quadrant corner of three widely spaced bays joining the two fronts. To the centre of the quadrant is a doorway with an ashlar surround which has stylised Corinthian columns supporting pine cones and a shaped overthrow bearing a vase finial. To the tympanum above the door is an arched panel showing Dudley Priory and Castle and figures of a monk and warrior, carved by William Bloye. At either side are porthole windows with decorative metal grilles. To the left of this is the Priory Street front of five closely-set bays. To the right of the quadrant is the Priory Road front which has 22 bays arranged in a rhythm of 6:3:3:3:7. The ground slopes downwards to the right which means that the arched, basement windows are gradually exposed. The central three bays project forward and above the rest of the facade and the block has chamfered corners. At ground floor level is a loggia of three round arches which is approached by a flight of steps. The circular drums are supported on octagonal bases and have cushion capitals which have figurehead carvings to their corners. To the rear and side of the loggia are windows with bronze frames and a pair of doors which are decorated with panels showing emblems indicative of the trades and manufacturing carried out in Dudley and designed by Walter Gilbert. Above the loggia, at first floor level are three tall mullioned and transomed windows with balconies. The central balcony projects, supported on carved brackets and columns to either side with a shaped overthrow which bears the arms of Dudley.

The rear of the range of buildings faces the courtyard at the centre of the island site which is now principally used as a car park. The consistent motif of mullioned and transomed windows is continued here, but the architectural treatment is plainer than on the outward-facing sides. To its centre is the mass of the council chamber block which has a pair of panelled doors to its centre at basement level with a decorative stone surround and overthrow, which is largely masked by the later linking corridor to the town hall block. The flanks of this block have pilaster buttresses dividing the bays and decorative shaped heads to these and to the heads of the long, council chamber windows. At either side of this block there are large brick relieving arches above clustered, arched lights. The parapet to the tops of the walls is ramped

INTERIOR: Both entrances, at the quadrant and at the centre of the Priory Road front, lead into staircase halls and the internal plan of the building is built around these and the wide corridors which lead through the building on each floor. The Priory Street entrance leads into a semi-circular hall with the borough coat of arms carved in the centre of the floor. From here pairs of quadrant staircases, placed against the wall, lead down to the basement level and up to the council chamber landing. At either side a wall screens the staircases leading downwards, but this is pierced by a circular opening into which carved stone plant troughs have been set which take the form of a Neo-Classical sarcophagi. The ascending staircases have wrought iron handrails and are set behind screens of columns which have shafts of black marble and limestone capitals which are carved with simplified acanthus leaves and a ring of egg-and-dart ornament (a type which is seen throughout the building). At first floor level similar, taller columns are set away from the wall and above them is a clerestory with decorative, leaded glazing. Double doors to the south of this landing lead to the council chamber and to the north they lead to the principal committee room (or reception room). Above both of these doors is a plaster semi-circular panel which shows views from the Wren’s Nest district of the borough in the C19 (over the Council Chamber door) and in 1935 (over the committee room door).

The council chamber is entered through the division lobby which is below the gallery and has panelled walls. The chamber has paired octagonal columns to each side with stylized Corinthian capitals. The heavy beams of the ceiling are closely set and painted with richly-coloured patterns. A set of benches of light oak with leather seats form a horseshoe shape, facing the dais which has a central chair for the mayor with a high back, above which is a suspended awning On this upper floor the principal committee room has a panelled ceiling and the members’ sitting room and dining room both have fireplaces carved of local stone.

The corridors which link the council house building to the office block at the corner of Priory Road and Ednam Street and to the rear of the town hall block are not included as part of this item.

HISTORY: The Council House was the last in a series of municipal buildings designed for Dudley in the inter-war period. The architects were W. Alexander Harvey and H. Graham Wicks, who had previously designed a complex to the south-east corner of the island site, fronting onto St. James’s Road and Priory Street and including the Town Hall, Brooke Robinson Museum, Coroner’s Court and Sessions Court and the Memorial Tower which incorporated a monument to the dead of the First World War. The complex was awarded an RIBA medal in 1934.

The large Council House building seems to have been put up with remarkable speed. Detailed drawings bear the date 1933 and the foundation stone for the Council House was laid by the Earl of Dudley in June 1934. The building was opened a little over a year later in July 1935 and officially opened by the Duke of Kent in December 1935.

According to the Builder of December 1935 (see SOURCES) the building housed the departments of the Town Clerk, Borough Engineer and Surveyor, Borough Treasurer and Rates Office, Medical Officer, Sanitary Inspector and Housing Officer, a council chamber to seat sixty aldermen and councillors with a gallery for the use of the public, committee and reception rooms, mayor’s parlour and members’ room and accommodation for a caretaker.

The site occupied by the council house building had formerly been the location of the earlier Town Hall, designed by Henry Rowe in a Tudor Gothic style and opened in 1858. Also part of the site for the new building was a close of police houses, opening onto Priory Road.

SOURCES:
Bennett,J., Dudley Metropolitan Borough Public Art Guide, Dudley MBC(1990),28-31.
Chandler, G. and Hannah, I.C., Dudley: As it was and as it is to-day(1949), 164-5,174-175,177
The Builder, December 20, 1935, 1101-1103, 1110 & 1118.
Images of England, Dudley, David Clare, 75, 106, 107.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Council House, Dudley is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: this building, by the noted practice of Harvey and Wicks, has distinct quality and presence. It is well suited to its site and is carefully detailed and combines several different styles including Tudor Gothic, Neo-Classical and contemporary Swedish architecture into a well-considered and inspired whole.
* Intactness: The building contains a notable quantity of its original fittings and the plan has been little altered.
* Planning: The principal public areas are planned to give a legible and dramatic flow of space connecting a series of impressive interiors.
* Decoration: Decorative and symbolic elements which are integral to the building and its design include sculpture and carvings by Walter Gilbert and William Bloye.

Council House, Dudley – British Listed Buildings

Coat of arms on the Council House by William Bloye. Also a balcony.

Shots taken on Priory Road.

Kenyon coats and suits, 1916
suit coat
Image by genibee

pineblossoms detail
suit coat
Image by PineBlossoms by Jennifer
Love how the coat lining matched up with these dots. FUN!

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