Monday, July 11, 2022



Barnsley Town Hall, love it or hate it. George Orwell tore into the corruption of the Labour Party for squandering money on such grand classical symbolism when the miners families were struggling to survive.

But isn't this a bit patronising? Much as I love Orwell, why can't a working class community aspire to have a grand cathedral or a thrusting symbol of municipal government?  One of those age-old questions.

For that matter is it really so extravagant? Doesn't the grandeur come from the massing and proportions rather than rich materials and excesses of ornament.

I haven't had much time for this work of late, so the images here represent about 3 hours of work. Just starting to understand the basic geometry and how it sits on the cross slopes of the chosen site.

Arriving in Barnsley by bus or train you emerge at the bottom of Regent Street which slopes up steeply, on axis to the war memorial at the base of the central tower.

The design is by Arnold Thornely, a Liverpool architect, active in the first half of the twentieth century, best known for the Parliament Buildings in Belfast. Shades of Lutyens: stripped down classicism, tending towards art deco at times in his practice with Herbert Rowse.

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