Delay for Monmouth Shire Hall re-opening

DELAY: Shire Hall

DELAY: Shire Hall

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

THE re-opening of Monmouth’s Shire Hall following a £4.5 million restoration project will not take place until the autumn after building work was delayed.

The historic grade I listed building was expected to re-open in June, but restoration work has fallen behind schedule due to poor weather at the beginning of the year.

The hall, which dates back to 1724, was due to be handed back to Monmouthshire council by restoration contractors last month, but this will now not happen until June.

Services at the Shire Hall, including a tourist information centre and community rooms, will be gradually opened to the public over the summer, with an official ceremony taking place in the autumn.

Once open, it will provide a community centre dedicated to the history of Monmouth.

Visitors will be able to learn about the trial of John Frost and other Chartists involved in the Newport Chartists riots, who were convicted of treason in the hall’s courtroom in 1840.

A handheld audio-visual guide will feature a film about the trial and a contractor has been commissioned to dress the court room, judge’s robing room and cells in the basement in their original style.

Restoration work started in September 2008 after a seven-year campaign secured £3.1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.4 million was raised through donations and fundraising events.

The hall will also house Monmouth town council, the town’s tourist information centre and a community room with a new kitchenette and disabled access.

Two newly-refurbished function rooms will also be marketed for weddings and business seminars.

Restoration specialists Lindford-Bridgeman have installed a new lift and repaired the building’s walls and roofs.

The refurbishment project is jointly managed by Monmouthshire council and the Shire Hall Stewards community group.

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