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Latitude: 52.6582 / 52°39'29"N
Longitude: -3.1423 / 3°8'32"W
OS Eastings: 322829
OS Northings: 307336
OS Grid: SJ228073
Mapcode National: GBR B0.5P17
Mapcode Global: WH79P.PFVZ
Plus Code: 9C4RMV55+73
Entry Name: Powys County Council Offices
Listing Date: 17 October 2008
Last Amended: 17 October 2008
Source ID: 87576
Building Class: Civil
Location: At the bottom of Severn Street, close to its junction with the by-pass at the railway station.
Community: Welshpool (Y Trallwng)
Built-Up Area: Welshpool
Traditional County: Montgomeryshire
Tagged with: Office building
Built as the offices for Montgomeryshire County Council, the original building was a small office block designed by Briggs and Thornely, architects, of Liverpool in 1927. Extended by Herbert Carr, the county architect, first in the late1930s, and then in 1959.
The building essentially comprises two ranges: the advanced range to the right represents the original office block and the first phase of extension; at right-angles to it, and set back is the main extension of 1959 - a long office range with the council chamber housed in a wing to the rear. The building is unified by the coherent use of a Neo-Georgian style, consistent in scale, and in the subtle vocabulary of material and detail. Small-paned sash windows, brick plinth, overhanging eaves and white-painted cornice.
Entrance front of 1927: 2 storeyed, a 7-window range symmetrical about a slightly advanced central entrance bay, emphasised by raised parapet with urn finials. This has stone architrave to doorway, the window above it advanced in a stone panel. Windows are all 12-pane sashes - those to ground floor with rubbed brick heads with stone voussoirs, and raised brick aprons. Stripped down brick pilasters at angles. 3 window return elevations, that to right with single window to ground floor, and central chimney with pedimented base interrupting the eaves cornice. The long rear wing comprises two sections to either side of an advance pavilion facing NW. Similar window detail, arranged with tripartite sashes flanking paired windows in its inner length, and a single tripartite window and 3 grouped windows beyond the pavilion. Pavilion has hipped roof and secondary entrance in brick porch, flanked by narrow sash windows. To front this range has similar detail (including tripartite sash windows), and a corresponding pavilion wing: this has boldly pedimented gable, and a terracotta architrave with paired pilasters surrounding ground-floor window, presumably intended as a feature visible from the open ground beyond.
Secondary wing has advanced 5-bay block forming entrance to council suite: this is linked to the other (and earlier) wing by a long 8-window range, articulated by the differential spacing of windows, with a winder bay to left of centre which has full-height mullioned and transomed French Window to ground floor, and winder sash window above. Secondary entrance in stone architrave towards the right; similar window detail throughout (small-paned sashes, those to ground floor with rubbed brick heads and voussoirs). Council suite is higher, with stripped down brick pilasters to give emphasis. Central entrance in ornate stone architrave, with segmentally arched doorway and scrolled blocks surmounting the pilasters. Window above in pedimented stone panel. Narrower windows flank the doorway, but windows on both floors have rubbed brick heads and stone voussoirs. Council chamber in rear wing: 3 high-set tripartite windows immediately below the eaves. Its hipped roof is swept down low over withdrawing room at rear, which has continuous band of windows.
Original block has central entrance lobby giving access to long spinal corridor. Simple classical detail throughout, with plaster cornices and architraves. Original joinery detail survives: 2-panelled doorways. Staircase offset to rear of frontage block lead to original chief executive's office over the entrance: staircase has typical 1920s metalwork detail comprising rectangular open panels with diagonal braces. Lobby to office has shallow segmental archway from corridor, echoed in shallow panel in wall opposite: office has dado rail, wall panelling, and frieze. In the rear range, council suite has wide stair hall, with double return stairway swept over paired entrances to council chamber: stair has scrolled and twisted metal-work balusters, offset newel and swept rail. At the top of the central flight, an alcove has painting of county arms and the emblem of a swan above a semi-abstract tree. Council chamber appears to retain original seating.
Listed as an exceptionally good example of an office building with its origins in an important phase in the development of local government. Both the original design and its extension employ a consistent and sophisticated Neo-Georgian style, with a fine vocabulary of detail, not least in the use of brick. The building retains most of its original detail, both internally and externally, and thus illustrates the structure and organisation of local government at this formative period with exceptional clarity.
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