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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil Archaeological building survey November 2012

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A report for Austin-Smith:Lord LLP by Martin Tuck

GGAT report no. 2012/061 Project no.P1566 National Grid Reference: SO 04990 06325

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The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd Heathfield House Heathfield Swansea SA1 6EL


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Contents Page Summary ................................................................................................................ 3 Acknowledgements ................................................................................................. 3  Copyright notice..................................................................................................... 4  1.  Introduction ................................................................................................. 5  2.  The Survey ................................................................................................... 6  The Basement (Figure 2, Plates 1 to 7) .................................................................. 6  The Ground Floor (Figure 3, Plates 8-26 and Plate 45) ......................................... 8  The First Floor (Figure 4, Plates 27-44) .............................................................. 11  The Courtyard ...................................................................................................... 12  The Attic .............................................................................................................. 12  3.  The Collection of plans and drawings ..................................................... 13  4.  Conclusion .................................................................................................. 14  Bibliography and sources ..................................................................................... 15  Appendix I: Plates ................................................................................................ 20  Appendix II: Conservation Management Plan ..................................................... 42  Figures Figure 1: Map showing location of Merthyr Old Town Hall ................................. 16  Figure 2: Merthyr Old Town Hall. Basement Plan showing rooms and photograph locations (arrowed red). ....................................................... 17  Figure 3: Merthyr Old Town Hall. Ground Floor Plan showing rooms and photograph locations (arrowed red). ....................................................... 18  Figure 4: Merthyr Old Town Hall. First Floor Plan showing rooms and photograph locations (arrowed red). ....................................................... 19  Plate 1: Basement Room B10, view to the southeast............................................... 20  Plate 2: Basement Room B8, Boiler room, view to the northeast .......................... 20  Plate 3: Basement corridor, view to the east ........................................................... 20  Plate 4: Basement corridor, view to the north ........................................................ 21  Plate 5: Basement Room B6, view to the west ......................................................... 21  Plate 6: Basement Room B5, view to the north ....................................................... 21  Plate 7: Basement Room B2, view to the west ......................................................... 22  Plate 8: Main staircase from ground floor, view to the northeast ......................... 22  Plate 9: Ground floor Room G8, view to the east ................................................... 22  Plate 10: Ground floor corridor and side exit, view to the north .......................... 23  Plate 11: Ground floor corridor, view to the east ................................................... 23  Plate 12: Main entrance passage, view to the west ................................................. 23  Plate 13: Ground floor Room G5, view to the northwest ....................................... 24  Plate 14: Ground floor perimeter corridor, view to the east ................................. 24  Plate 15: Ground floor Room G2, view to the north .............................................. 24  Plate 16: Ground floor perimeter corridor, view to the south ............................... 25  Plate 17: Ground floor corridor dogleg, view to the west ...................................... 25  Plate 18: Ground floor Room G11, view to the west .............................................. 25  Plate 19: Ground floor Room G9, view to the southwest ....................................... 26  Plate 20: Ground floor windows above doorway Room G12, view to the west .... 26  Plate 21: Ground floor Room G12, view to the west .............................................. 26  Plate 22: Ground floor Room G12, view to the northwest ..................................... 27  Plate 23: Ground floor cell and passage to cells, view to the northwest ............... 27  Plate 24: Ground floor cell window and doorway Room G14, view to the west .. 27  Front Cover: Original undated watercolour showing a proposed front elevation for Merthyr Town Hall from a collection of plans and drawings by E A Johnson, Architect. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library.


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 25: Ground floor cells Room G15, view to the south .................................... 28 Plate 26: Ground floor cells Room G15, view to the northwest............................. 28  Plate 27: Main staircase from first floor, view to the south ................................... 28  Plate 28: First floor perimeter corridor, view to the east ....................................... 29  Plate 29: First floor perimeter corridor, view to the east ....................................... 29  Plate 30: Old Council Chamber, first floor Room F4, view to the northwest ...... 29  Plate 31:Old Council Chamber Ceiling, first floor Room F4, view to the east .... 30  Plate 32: First floor Mayor’s Parlour, view to the west ......................................... 30  Plate 33: First floor safe in anteroom to Mayor’s Parlour, view to the south ...... 30  Plate 34: First floor Room F7 and F8, view to the northeast ................................. 31  Plate 35: First floor Room F11, view to the east ..................................................... 31  Plate 36: First floor Room F11, view to the west .................................................... 31  Plate 37: Entrance to the Court, view to the south ................................................. 32  Plate 38: First floor Hall, Room F13, view to the northwest.................................. 32  Plate 39: First floor, dividing wall between Room F13 and Room F12, view to the southeast ..................................................................................................... 32  Plate 40: Cast iron truss detail, first floor Room F13, view to the north .............. 33  Plate 41: First floor Court Room. Room F12, view to the west ............................. 33  Plate 42: Courtroom and later council chamber. First floor Room F12, view to the north ..................................................................................................... 33  Plate 43: Central window in east elevation of Courtroom. First floor Room F12, view to the east ........................................................................................... 34  Plate 44: Ceiling of the Courtroom. First floor Room F12, view to the west ....... 34  Plate 45: The courtyard from the ground floor, view to the west ......................... 34  Plate 46: Architect’s draft plan circa 1890s of the basement layout. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library ................................................................ 35  Plate 48: Architect’s draft plan stamped 1894 of the Ground Floor layout showing heating details and also the proposed fire engine or plumber’s workshop in the northeast room. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library ....................................................................................................... 37  Plate 49: Architect’s draft plan of the First Floor layout. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library ................................................................................ 38  Plate 50: Working drawing circa 1896, showing deviations to the foundation design caused by unstable ground conditions and the dates at which they were carried out. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library ....... 39  Plate 51: Architect’s alternative design for Merthyr Town Hall, which included a row of shops. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library ...................... 40  Plate 52: Fireplace design .......................................................................................... 41 Plate 53: Clock tower design ..................................................................................... 41 Plate 54: Judges’ room design detail ........................................................................ 41 Plate 55: Original letters ........................................................................................... 41 Plate 56: Architectural water closet design ............................................................. 41 Plate 57: Newell post design ...................................................................................... 41

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Summary The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, Projects Division (GGAT Projects) were commissioned by Austin-Smith:Lord LLP to undertake a Level 3 Building Survey of Merthyr Tydfil Old Town Hall, a Grade II* listed building, as a requirement of Planning and Listed Building Consent conditions, to the methodology set out in English Heritage’s, Understanding Historic Buildings: A guide to good recording practice (2006). Intensive archive research into the historical and social background of the structure was undertaken by consultant Jane Barnes, working together with Merthyr Tydfil Librarian, Carolyn Jacobs and Austin-Smith:Lord Architects and Conservation Architects to inform a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) in advance of restoration work. This document provides a significant corpus of historical information for the building, and satisfies the greater part of the Level 3 building survey. As it is considered to be an essential part of this report, it has been reproduced as Appendix I. Supplementary survey work to complement the CMP was carried out by GGAT Projects on the 14th August 2012, whilst the building was undergoing redevelopment. It was found that internally, the greater part of the building had been stripped back to reveal the brickwork and also that in many places the ceilings had been removed, exposing the joists. In addition, scaffolding masked the external elevations and the elevations of the interior courtyard. Many of the original interior fittings however, had already been recorded (see Appendix I, CMP document) prior to removal and the remaining fittings had protective measures fitted as a safeguard against damage as reconstruction work progressed. These protective fittings were not removed for the purposes of the survey. The discovery of a collection of original architects draft plans and drawings, depicting various floor plans and design schemes for the Town Hall, was made following publication of the CMP report, and the information contained on these plans provided a valuable insight into the variety of offices needed to run a Town Hall and County Court. There is the possibility that as these plans exist, the original as built plans also survive, and could be recovered in the future. This report contains an analysis of the building based on the available sources and the field survey albeit, with the limitations imposed due to ongoing renovation work. There is a possibility that additional information, in the form of plans and drawings, could be discovered which could further enhance the historical aspects of Merthyr Old Town Hall. The archaeological works were carried out to the professional standards laid out in the Institute for Archaeologist’s Standard and Guidance for Archaeological building investigation and recording Specifications (1996, revised 2001 and 2008). Acknowledgements The project was managed by Richard Lewis BA MIfA and the report prepared by Martin Tuck with assistance from Charlotte James BA PIfA and Paul Jones (GGAT Illustration). Thanks are extended to Ashley Davies of Austin-Smith:Lord LLP and Martin Flynn of Graham Construction (renovation contractors), and also to Sian Anthony (Operational Librarian) of Merthyr Tydfil Public Library who discovered the original plans and also assisted with research. 3


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Copyright notice The copyright of this report is held by the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd, who have granted an exclusive licence to Austin-Smith:Lord LLP and their agents to use and reproduce the material it contains. Ordnance Survey mapping is reproduced under licence AL10005976. Building plans were supplied by AustinSmith:Lord LLP and remain their copyright. Annotations are GGAT copyright. Photographic reproductions of the original plans and architectural detail are copyright of Merthyr Tydfil Public Library.

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

1.

Introduction

The Conservation Management Plan (CMP) document provides a detailed account of the historical background, design and social aspects of the Old Town Hall. The significance of the building was brought to the attention of Cadw, and Listed Building status Grade II was granted on the 22nd August 1975, record no. 11444. The Listed Building status was later upgraded to Grade II* (letter 6th Jan 2011). A brief summary of the building and history taken from the CMP is presented below. Construction of Merthyr Old Town Hall (SO 04990 06325) on High Street (Figure 1), to a design by local architect E A Johnson, of Johnson and Williams of Abergavenny and Merthyr, was started in 1896 and completed two years later in 1898. The style is early Renaissance in some places with Flemish overtones and in other places, French overtones. The building served a dual purpose, the front block was used for the council offices and the rear block, with a separate entrance, housed the county court which included a range of police cells; the council chamber doubled as a courtroom (Newman 1995). The main entrance to the council offices was from High Street to the west, whilst the separate entrance to the county court was from the north. Internally, both entrances gave access to shared corridors and a courtyard, and apart from doors there was no physical barrier to segregate court proceedings from council business. The impressive edifice in pink/buff terracotta comprised a basement, two floors, and an attic space giving access to a clock tower, enclosing a central open courtyard. The building was terraced into and took advantage of the natural sloping ground, to provide a partially sunken basement on the west side of the building, below the council offices, a partially sunken police cells on the east (uphill) side and also to allow natural light to assist in illumination of these subterranean areas. The building was originally furnished with architectural and decorative features that included stained glass of varying complexity and elaboration, depending on its location, such as the main staircase and in other prominent rooms and spaces. Other decorative features are believed to hold Masonic significance, some of which are in situ, as a result of Johnson, the architect, being appointed a member of a Masonic Lodge (CMP, p31-32). The building served as the council offices for about a century and the structure is thought to have survived largely unaltered, retaining its original fittings. However significant changes, including the addition of a new staircase were made, when the building was used as a nightclub following closure of the council offices in 1989. Since the closure of the nightclub in 2000, the building had been vacant until 2007 when Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association Ltd acquired it. In 2011, funding for the restoration of the town hall as an arts and creative industries centre was granted by the Welsh Assembly Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund. This funding has provided the impetus for the current work.

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

2.

The Survey

The chance discovery of a collection of original architects plans and drawings relating to the Town Hall was made following publication of the CMP report and also after the building survey, which took place on the 14th August 2012, therefore there was no direct on-site comparison with the existing elements of the structure. The plans depict slightly differing layout schemes and are presumed to be draft plans, issued for the council members to peruse before the final design was approved. In addition, copies of these plans (some dated to 1896) were also submitted to manufacturers and returned to the architect, these indicated the location of interior fittings and infrastructure such as pipes, radiators and architectural items. Photographic copies of some these plans and drawings have been reproduced as plates (Plates 46-57). Although much of the existing plan detail was similar, particularly in regard to the layout of the council offices, these plans do not match the present layout of the building. For example, none of the plans depict the lock-up cells. They did however provide an insight into the likely circulation areas, as well as suggested usage of individual rooms, thus giving an insight into the offices and officers required to run a Town Hall and County Court. The level of information gained from the plans would not have been possible based on the data available by analysing the building alone, particularly in its present state where walling and fittings were removed prior to and also during the renovation. The floor plans (Figures 2 to 4) accompanying this report, annotated alphanumerically, are prefixed with B for the basement, G for the ground floor and F for the first floor. This nomenclature is also used to relate the rooms recorded during the survey with the rooms marked on the original architect’s plans. To accompany the survey, a series of photographs (Plate 1 to Plate 45, see Figures 2 to 4 for locations), were taken to show the circulation areas and some of the key architectural features. However, this is not considered a complete photographic record due to the restrictions imposed by ongoing work on both the interior and exterior of the building. However, in addition to the record made during the current survey, the renovation contractors have also made a comprehensive photographic record of the structural details, and a rapid emergency photographic record was made in 2004 and 2010 which is held by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW), catalogue numbers C435805 and C861181. The Basement (Figure 2, Plates 1 to 7) The L-shaped basement was accessed from the ground floor via opposing flights of steps and a short length of stairway, heading west at a right angle to them, leading to the basement corridor. The corridor (Plates 3 and 4) was an irregular T-shape with its long axis aligned north-south. The basement corridor and rooms appear to have had flagstone flooring (now lifted and stacked) and all the rooms were whitewashed to assist lighting. A single skylight was noted at the north end of the corridor. On the western and south sides of the corridor was a range of ten rooms (Figure 2, B1-B10) including two smaller rooms (B3 and B4), which were probably strongrooms, as secure safe doors were apparent. The strongrooms were without windows and located opposite the stairwell, centrally positioned in the west elevation. However, it is not certain whether room B4 and its safe represented an original feature within the building. North of the central division, were two rooms (B1 and B2, Plate 7), accessed

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

from the corridor and partitioned by a wall with centrally positioned, diagonally offset, blocked-up back to back fireplaces in each. A bay window supplied light to the larger northern room (B1) whilst two windows gave light to the smaller southern room (B2). A similar pattern of two rooms and windows (B5 and B6, Plates 5 and 6) was repeated on the south side of the centreline. The remaining three rooms B8 (Plate 2) to B10 (Plate 1) were located to the south of the corridor where it turned through a right angle to the east, in line with the partition wall of the southernmost rooms on the west elevation. An additional small windowless room (B7) was built as part of and in line with the corridor; this has been suggested to be a switch room. Access to the western room of the three (B8), which also offered access to the small room (B7), was from the main corridor and the other two rooms (B9 and B10) were accessed from a single door at the east end of the shorter length of corridor. Access to the east room (B10) was from the central room (B9), through a doorway on the north end of the partition wall. A single blocked fireplace was present in east room (B10) and the centre room (B9), and there is a possibility that the central room shared a back to back fireplace in its partition wall with the west room (B8); modern walling has been inserted into the likely position of a former fireplace, possibly connected with its use as a boiler room. The central room (B9) had a single central blocked window in its south elevation, whilst the boiler room (B8) had a central vent. The eastern room (B10) however had a double set of doors and ramps likely to allow ease of access for heavy and larger goods. Apart from the stairs this access appeared to be the only entrance/exit for goods. There was no clear indication of the function of the rooms and it is not known whether the boiler (B8) and switch rooms (B7) served their suggested functions when first built. Similarly, all the other rooms have been labelled as stores within the CMP, and the whitewashed walls would support this designation. However, the rooms with fireplaces and those with safes would suggest that originally these basement rooms were manned by staff carrying out civic administration functions, and not just used for storage space alone. In addition, as there is no access to the basement from the court, there is a possibility that these rooms were for the use of the town hall staff alone. The evidence suggested by the architect’s plan of the basement would appear to indicate that little change had taken place if the basement had been built to the indicated plan (Plate 46). Six of the rooms have been annotated as stores, starting with Store No.1 (B1) to the north and Store No.4 (Figure 2, B6) to the south on the west elevation divided by two similarly sized strong rooms (Figure 2, B3 and B4) each accessed from within the storerooms. To the east of Store No.4 and in line with the corridor was the fuel store (now adapted as a switch room, Figure 2, B7) adjoining the heating chamber (Boiler room, Figure 2, B8) and the remaining two Storerooms No. 5 (Figure 2, B9) and No. 6 (Figure 2, B10). A single doorway was noted to each room.

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

The Ground Floor (Figure 3, Plates 8-26 and Plate 45) The ground floor provided access to the Town Hall offices through doorways on the north, west and south elevations. The main entrance to the court is also from a doorway on the north side at ground floor level but it leads directly upwards to the first floor. There were no doorways in the east elevation. The ground floor plan comprised two rectangles, the larger, about two thirds of the available area, was orientated east/west and most of the floorspace likely for the use of the council and the remaining third for the court. However the court offices, although rectangular in shape were built on a northwest/southeast orientation and the rooms that occur on the change of angle are generally of smaller area and housed electrical apparatus and also toilet facilities. It is not known whether these smaller rooms were originally designed for these functions. The main entrance to the town hall ground floor was from the west, via steps leading up from High Street and through the central entrance lobby, decorated with tiled walls and a mosaic floor (see CMP document, p25-26), and through the vestibule which opened to the hall and the internal circulation corridor (Plate 12). Opposite the entrance passage and corridor was the grand staircase to the first floor (Plate 8). The corridor circuit, which served as the primary circulation route and gave access to the offices was partitioned by doorways and followed the perimeter outline of the courtyards (Plates 8, 10, 11, 14, 16 and 17). Side entrances/exits were available on the north and south elevations of the building, accessed from an extension of the corridor to the north and south from the junction of the internal corridor with the main entrance. A dogleg was built into the corridor at the point where the change in angle occurred between the council and court areas. There were eleven likely rooms (G1 to G11) for the use of the council on the ground floor, based on the number of fireplaces observed and also an assumption that there was a single fireplace in each room. The layout of the rooms, based around the corridor, comprised three rooms on the north elevation (G1-G3, Plate 15), four rooms on the west elevation (G4 to G7, Plate 13) and four rooms (G8 to G11, Plates 9, 18 and 19) on the south elevation. All but one of the fireplaces were diagonally offset and back to back, or opposite and back to back, in the centre of the rooms. The exception was a single fireplace in room G1 (Figure 3) on the north side of the corridor. At the time of survey all fireplaces were blocked-up. A possible modern addition was a lift shaft that had been built into room G1. There were no fixtures or fittings in situ to assign a function to these rooms, but it is possible that due to their aspect, the four larger rooms (G4 to G7) including the two with bay windows (G4 and G7), all fronting High Street were allocated to senior council officials. To the east of the perimeter corridor were the offices and rooms of the integral county court building (G12 to G15). The ground floor plan of the court area comprised a large rectangular room to the north (G15), furnished with a range of small prison cells (Plates 25 and 26), two small rooms, one of which was an isolation prison cell (G14, Plate 24) and another small room (G13), a store or perhaps also a prison cell, in the centre and a larger room to the south of the cells/store (G12). The two larger rooms (G12 and G15) and isolation cell (G14) were linked by a short length of passageway on the east side of, and adjacent to, the eastern external wall. The southern room (G12) and the smaller cells (G13 and G14) had been subjected to alterations including the addition of staircase that had been inserted into the wall (Plate 22). At the time of

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

survey the southern room (G12) was an open space with all partitions removed and in the northern room (G15) the flagstone floor had been taken up and any partitions removed. Access to the cells was via a passage from the southern room (Plate 23) or possibly from the corridor doorways that led to a possible administration area within room G15. The ten individual cells, the number indicated by the number of cell doors, and not the surviving five spaces without dividing partitions, were arranged on the west wall and faced the interior of the room. To the south of the cells there may have been an open administration area. It is possible that the room in general may have been quite sparse of fittings, apart from six structural columns supporting the ceiling. Lighting for the cells and room was not evident but conditions were probably gloomy, if they were not supplied by gas or electricity, and had to rely on the small windows within the east and north elevations which were set close to ground level. The small central isolation cell (G14, Plate 24), which measured 3.4m by 2.25m, was accessed from the passage that led to the range of cells, and had a small window with four lights inset into the wall adjacent to the door. The rear of the cell had been partially destroyed by the later addition of a staircase (accessing G12 and F13) but the dividing wall separating the two small rooms (cell G14 and store G13) had been retained. Within this wall, centrally positioned and at a high level, was a blocked light comprised of 22 small glass panels and a V-shaped metal panel, possibly a ventilation measure, set within a metal frame. A similar light was built into the south wall of the slightly larger room (G13), which measured 4.2m by 2.2m. Access to this room was gained from the internal inner perimeter corridor. To the south of the cells was a large open area (G12) accessed from double doors at road level and a single doorway on the south elevation. There were no partition walls or original remaining fittings except for two blocked fireplaces and a single column that supported the ceiling (Plate 21). However, the fireplaces were indicative of an earlier, probably original, layout and it is suggested that there were at least two rooms, each with a fireplace on the west side of this room with doorways that opened to the perimeter corridor, and also to the southeast office of the council offices. Determination of the alignment of the likely east wall to these rooms was not clear but there is a possibility that there was a partition to the east of the single doorway to the south (Plate 20). This alignment would fit neatly with the alignment of the wall that separates the court areas from the council offices and courtyard. If that hypothesis is correct then it seems likely that this room served the cells alone; the passageway to the cells was located in the northeast corner of the room. The greater parts of the internal walls of the building were constructed in brick. Stone was employed in the basement and along the external walls on the east elevation in those areas where the walls were below ground level. However, the walls of the isolation cell (G14) and a short length of wall within the north room (G15) containing the cells were built of stone. As there was no apparent reason for these walls to be of stone, when the internal walls were generally of brick construction, there remains a possibility that the stone built sections of walling were a remnant from an earlier building, now incorporated into the structure; some of the original plans are annotated with old retaining walls (Plate 50). Whilst the rooms allocated for the council officers match well with the present layout (Figure 3), the evidence suggested by the surviving architect’s draft ground floor plan (Plate 47) contrasts starkly with the current floor plan at the rear of the building.

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

From the undated plan, the front of the building and perimeter corridor appears broadly similar to the current layout but with a few minor structural differences. The eleven offices, numbered from one to eleven, in an anticlockwise direction from the north, are allocated to specific council departments and annotated with the suggested departments, which range from the Bailiffs room No.1 with associated strongroom and safe accessed from the room (G1), Rate Collectors rooms Nos. 2-5 (G2-G5), Town Clerk rooms No.6 and No.7 (G6 and G7), Book Keepers rooms No.8 and No.9 (G8 and G9), the Nuisance Inspector No.10 (G10) and the Burial Board in room No.11 (G11). Another undated plan of this part of the building has some of these rooms allocated to a different officer with one of the Town Clerks rooms (No.7) being labelled as the Surveyor’s drawing office, and the Book Keeper’s room (No. 8), has been labelled as the Surveyor’s Book Keeper. There is also an additional room annotated as a Waiting Lobby, where the southern side entrance is presently located. There is a probability that some of these rooms would have been used in accordance with the suggested layout, if it had been built to this design. The plans showing the rear of the building indicate major differences of use, but retain a similar footprint. The plans indicate that the large rectangular room to the north (G15), where the cells are located, was to be a stores and the possible administration area within the room was designed to be a separate room containing a fuel store and boiler. The room to the west of the isolation cell G13 is a branch off the perimeter corridor, and the cell itself (G14) is shown to be either for fire fighting apparatus or a workshop, and was directly linked to the use of the room immediately to its south. This room (G12) was designed to be either a plumber’s workshop or intended to house a fire engine (Plate 48). It is not known whether any of these rooms were actually used for these purposes or whether this plan was scrapped in favour of the lock-up cells. To the east of the workshop/fire engine bay the plans indicated caretaker’s rooms. The plan of the caretaker’s area depicts two bedrooms on the east half of the layout, and a parlour and kitchen on the west side (Plates 47 and 48). Two smaller rooms, a pantry and coals store, are also shown and accessed from within the kitchen. The rooms were accessed from a passage leading from the front door, which was located in the south elevation. Another doorway is shown giving access from the kitchen to the corridor. The surviving fireplaces noted in the survey would fit well with the architect’s design, with one fireplace in the kitchen and the other in the parlour. Similarly, the surviving ornate lights above the doorframe of the front door would suggest that at least part of the caretaker’s room was built in accordance with these plans. Interestingly, in order to overcome the lack of natural light in the bedroom, pantry and kitchen, which were located adjacent to the corridor, an opening supported by columns, was left in the walls of the inner courtyard opposite the cells and part of the dogleg in the corridor (Plates 47 and 48). The explanation for the windows with 22 lights and ventilation panel noted in the isolation cell and adjacent room (G13 and G14) would also fit with the layout seen on the plan, particularly in the case of the bedroom where privacy would be an issue and also as there was no other form of light. Further analysis of the windows in the kitchen and pantry was not possible due to recent alterations.

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

The First Floor (Figure 4, Plates 27-44) Access to the council offices was from the ornate main staircase that led upward to the first floor (Plate 27). The staircase divided into a left and right staircase part way up, and opened onto the corridor and balcony, opposite and on each side, of the Mayor’s parlour. The rooms (Plates 34-36) on the first floor of both the council and court, as might be expected, given that the common supporting walls follow through from the basement and ground level, generally match the pattern of the ground floor rooms (F1 to F13). The common layout of the council offices extended to the number of fireplaces, each one blocked in, of which there was probably at least one in each of the main rooms. Similarly, the layout of the first floor internal perimeter corridor was of the same pattern seen on the ground floor corridor (Plates 28 and 29). The differences that were noted occurred within the rooms that were built over and above the corridor side exits (F4 to the north and F7 to the south). These rooms had a larger floor-space corresponding to the width of the corridor below them and in addition, a room and adjoining anteroom were located over the main entranceway of the west elevation. Two of these rooms are said to have had particular civic functions, one as the original council chamber (F4, Plate 30) and the other the Mayor’s parlour (Plate 32), which led to a balcony from which announcements could be made to the townspeople. At a later date the councillors are thought to have held their meeting in the county court room (F12) possibly because the original chamber became too small for their purposes. The original council chamber was the located on the corner of the north and west elevations and had ornate ceiling decoration (Plate 31, CMP, p32). The small room known as the mayor’s parlour was located in the centre of the west elevation and its exterior balcony was reached through panelled doorways and decorative wooden surrounds incorporating seven lights, some with stained glass. The anteroom to the parlour held a built in secure safe, manufactured by C H Griffiths, Cannon Street, London (Plate 33), on the south side and on the north side, opposite the safe, was a door to the stairway to the attic and clock tower. Apart from the known and named rooms of the council chambers it was not possible to determine the function of the majority of rooms during the current survey. However as the mayor’s room and council chamber are on this floor, it is possible that the more important civic matters were carried out on this floor, and some of the rooms were for the use of court officials. The county court offices were accessed from steps on the north elevation leading up to the first floor perimeter corridor (Plate 37). There were only two large rooms on this floor. The northern room (F13, Plates 38 and 39), accessed from the corridor, possibly served as a hall, whilst the southern room was the county court chamber (F12, Plates 41-43), originally fitted with raised platforms for seating. The courtroom had a half-hipped wooden ceiling with decorative octagonal inlays, and was supported by decorative cast-iron trusses (Plate 44). A similar ceiling with cast iron trusses was noted in the hall (F13, Plate 40). All the other fittings had been removed prior to renovation work. A major alteration to the hall was the addition of a staircase in the southeast corner and possibly the addition of another smaller staircase diagonally opposite the first staircase in the same room. These staircases were probably inserted when the building became a nightclub. There is little difference in the layout of the rooms on the first floor recorded in the survey to that depicted on the surviving 19th century draft plans (Plate 49). There is

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

also no evidence that all of the rooms were used for the purposes shown on these draft plans, however it is likely that some were. All the rooms were accessed from the perimeter corridor and an offshoot to the corridor was noted dividing the hall from the court. The annotations indicated that both the court officials and council officers were to share rooms on the first floor. The fourteen rooms (Plate 49) annotated anticlockwise from the north, include the County Court Collectors office (F1), Deputy Registrar (F2), Registrar (F3), Board Room (F4), Committee Room (F5), Medical Officer (Mayor’s Parlour), Surveyor’s Private Office (F6), Surveyor’s Clerks office (F7), Contractor’s and Pay Lobby (over the ground floor corridor), Surveyor’s Book keeper (F8), Spare office (F9), Solicitor’s Rooms (F10), Female Witnesses (F11) and Judges Retiring Room (F11). A variation in the suggested use of the rooms occurred where a Solicitor’ room has replaced the Spare Office, and General Witnesses were assigned to the Solicitor’s room. Of note is that the Old Council Chamber with the ornate ceiling is designated as a Board Room with an adjacent committee room, and the Mayor’s parlour with the balcony, is assigned to the Medical Officer. The large open room to the north (F13) is annotated as the Vestry Hall and Registrars Court, and the plan shows that there was probably a platform/stage located on its south wall. The Court (F12) was separated from the Hall by a branch off the perimeter corridor. The courtroom is shown to have had the public gallery to the east, a table, benches and two witness boxes in the centre and the Judge’s seat positioned centrally on a platform, forward of the west wall of the courtroom. A doorway through the wall gave access to the Judges Retiring Room (F11). It is clear from the plans that the rooms immediately west of the Judges Retiring Room were to be for the use of the court alone (F9 and F10). By their very nature the town hall and county court were likely to have been extremely busy places and members of the public would need access to various departments but what is not clear is just where public access stopped and where the private matters of the council and the court took place. It is possible that there were locked doors providing a physical barrier to maintain that division. The Courtyard The enclosed courtyard area (Plate 45), of which all the elevations were in yellow brick, was divided into two halves by a two-storey toilet block, whose rooms were accessed from the perimeter corridor. The main function of the open courtyards, apart from allowing natural light to the corridor was likely related to access for drainage and other related services. At the time of survey the toilet block had been removed exposing red coloured brick on the elevations. The lavatory areas appeared to be an original part of the building and that premise is supported by the draft plans (Plates 47-49). The Attic The attic, which gave access to the clock tower (Plate 53), was not included in the survey due to safety restrictions.

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

3.

The Collection of plans and drawings

Numerous plans and drawings recently discovered by staff of Merthyr Central Library show that E A Johnson, the architect, submitted various designs for the building, but not one of these plans was an exact match to the building recorded during the survey. Additionally, there were many smaller plans showing amendments to parts of the building (Plates 46-57). They do however share many, if not the greater part of the characteristics associated with the surveyed structure, and the basic footprint did not change significantly except in the case of the ground floor cells. Copies of the plans, issued by the architect, and sent to and returned by contractors indicating where their services such as heating and ventilation would be placed, show variations in room designations and terminology, and may indicate ongoing negotiations between the architect and council. There is a complete absence of dates on the architect’s plans, and there is only occasional reference to whether the plan is Scheme A or Scheme B. Some dating evidence can however be gained from contractors such as Doulton and Co. and Musgrave and Co. Ltd, Belfast who stamped and dated their copies; the former was dated 22/2/97 and the latter had two stamps, 10th Mar 96 and 19th Mar 96. One plan in the collection (Plate 50) shows where deviations to the foundations have occurred due to unstable ground and also that they uncovered old foundations. Specifically, a cellar and wall is marked on the plan which may be connected to the Bunch of Grapes Inn that is suggested to have previously occupied part of site. Significantly this plan has various dates indicating where and when the deviations to the foundations occurred, and clearly shows that work had begun on the building by January 1896. A further set of undated plans in the collection (Plate 51), clearly superseded by the present design, show a very different footprint to the one that was built. These plans do not show the change of angle that occurred between the council offices and county court at the rear of the building, but that the building design extended further to the south, taking in some of the area presently used as the yard. A number of rooms are also shown arranged around a corridor for the offices of the council and the court at both ground floor and first floor levels, but of note is the suggestion that at ground floor level, there would be a row of six shops fronting High Street, with kitchens and stores in the basement below them. The plan also shows that immediately to the rear of the shops would be the main entrances to the town hall, one on the south and one from the north and that the principal entrance was to be from the access road on the south side of the building (the present library side but on the plan, land belonging to St. David’s School). The suggested county court entrance is from Upper Castle Street on the north side of the building, which is the same entrance side as the present building. There is another entrance from Upper Castle Street shown on this plan, leading to the proposed public hall, which occupies the whole of the rear of the building at first floor level. In addition to the plans, the collection contained differently sized drafting sheets (some almost on no more than scrap paper) and on which were sketches of architectural detail at various scales, and also original watercolours of elevations and furniture and other fittings. A few letters referring to furniture fittings were also found within the collection mostly dating to the late 1890s (Plates 52-57).

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

4. Conclusion A combination of the building survey allied with analysis of the draft plans provided an insight into the buildings beginnings in 1886 and the likely day to day workings and circulation areas of a major town hall. As well as its interaction with the public, who would have had access to some of the departments within the council offices and also to those involved with the court, either as witnesses, onlookers in the public gallery or indeed as the accused in the dock. The lock-up cells are the most surprising aspect of the building as no references could be found in the draft plans, nor could any documentary material, falling within the scope of this report, be found. Due to the state of renovation at the time of survey, it was difficult to estimate the level of potential damage caused to the building when it became a nightclub, but from what was seen it would appear minimal, given the size of the building. The archaeological works were carried out to the professional standards laid out in the Institute for Archaeologist’s Standard and Guidance for Archaeological building investigation and recording Specifications (1996, revised 2001 and 2008).

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Bibliography and sources Newman J, 1995 (Reprinted 2001), The Buildings of Wales, Glamorgan, Penguin Books, University of Wales Press. Sources Austin-Smith:Lord Architects and Conservation Architects 2011, Merthyr Tydfil Old Town Hall, Conservation Management Plan. RCHAMW record C435805. Emergency Recording Collection, Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil; report (including copies of photographs, plans and elevations), received in the course of Emergency Recording case ref no RCS2/1/497, filed in nprn order. RCHAMW record C861181. Investigators' Digital Photography. Digital photographic survey of Merthyr Town Hall. The Collection of maps and plans held at Merthyr Tydfil Public Library is awaiting cataloguing. There is no referencing or numbering system attached to the collection, and as a consequence there is no easy means of isolating individual maps and plans.

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil : archaeological building survey

Area shown enlarged below left

Merthyr Old Town Hall

Contains Ordnance Survey Data with the permission of The Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, © Crown Copyright and database right 2012 Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd, Licence number Al10005976

0

0.50

Figure 1. Map showing location of Merthyr Old Town Hall

16

GRID N

1.00km


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

B1

Fireplace

Fireplace

B2

^

down

7

safe door

B4

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up

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B7

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B6

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N

0 Figure 2. Merthyr Old Town Hall. Basement Plan showing rooms and photograph locations (arrowed red)

17

25.00metres


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

25

^ Cells

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0 Figure 3. Merthyr Old Town Hall. Ground Floor Plan showing rooms and photograph locations (arrowed red)

18

25.00metres


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

37

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0 Figure 4. Merthyr Old Town Hall. First Floor Plan showing rooms and photograph locations (arrowed red)

19

25.00metres


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Appendix I: Plates

Plate 1: Basement Room B10, view to the southeast

Plate 2: Basement Room B8, Boiler room, view to the northeast

Plate 3: Basement corridor, view to the east

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 4: Basement corridor, view to the north

Plate 5: Basement Room B6, view to the west

Plate 6: Basement Room B5, view to the north

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 7: Basement Room B2, view to the west

Plate 8: Main staircase from ground floor, view to the northeast

Plate 9: Ground floor Room G8, view to the east

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 10: Ground floor corridor and side exit, view to the north

Plate 11: Ground floor corridor, view to the east

Plate 12: Main entrance passage, view to the west

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 13: Ground floor Room G5, view to the northwest

Plate 14: Ground floor perimeter corridor, view to the east

Plate 15: Ground floor Room G2, view to the north

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 16: Ground floor perimeter corridor, view to the south

Plate 17: Ground floor corridor dogleg, view to the west

Plate 18: Ground floor Room G11, view to the west

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 19: Ground floor Room G9, view to the southwest

Plate 20: Ground floor windows above doorway Room G12, view to the west

Plate 21: Ground floor Room G12, view to the west

26


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 22: Ground floor Room G12, view to the northwest

Plate 23: Ground floor cell and passage to cells, view to the northwest

Plate 24: Ground floor cell window and doorway Room G14, view to the west

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 25: Ground floor cells Room G15, view to the south

Plate 26: Ground floor cells Room G15, view to the northwest

Plate 27: Main staircase from first floor, view to the south

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 28: First floor perimeter corridor, view to the east

Plate 29: First floor perimeter corridor, view to the east

Plate 30: Old Council Chamber, first floor Room F4, view to the northwest

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 31:Old Council Chamber Ceiling, first floor Room F4, view to the east

Plate 32: First floor Mayor’s Parlour, view to the west

Plate 33: First floor safe in anteroom to Mayor’s Parlour, view to the south

30


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 34: First floor Room F7 and F8, view to the northeast

Plate 35: First floor Room F11, view to the east

Plate 36: First floor Room F11, view to the west

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 37: Entrance to the Court, view to the south

Plate 38: First floor Hall, Room F13, view to the northwest

Plate 39: First floor, dividing wall between Room F13 and Room F12, view to the southeast

32


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 40: Cast iron truss detail, first floor Room F13, view to the north

Plate 41: First floor Court Room. Room F12, view to the west

Plate 42: Courtroom and later council chamber. First floor Room F12, view to the north

33


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 43: Central window in east elevation of Courtroom. First floor Room F12, view to the east

Plate 44: Ceiling of the Courtroom. First floor Room F12, view to the west

Plate 45: The courtyard from the ground floor, view to the west

34


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 46: Architect’s draft plan circa 1890s of the basement layout. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library

35


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 47: Architect’s draft plan circa 1890s of the Ground Floor Plan layout. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 48: Architect’s draft plan stamped 1894 of the Ground Floor layout showing heating details and also the proposed fire engine or plumber’s workshop in the northeast room. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library

37


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 49: Architect’s draft plan of the First Floor layout. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library

38


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 50: Working drawing circa 1896, showing deviations to the foundation design caused by unstable ground conditions and the dates at which they were carried out. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library

39


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 51: Architect’s alternative design for Merthyr Town Hall, which included a row of shops. Copyright Merthyr Tydfil Public Library

40


Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Plate 52: Fireplace design

Plate 53: Clock tower design

Plate 54: Judges’ room design detail

Plate 55: Original letters

Plate 56: Architectural water closet design

Plate 57: Newell post design

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Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey

Appendix II: Conservation Management Plan

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We have prepared this Conservation Management Plan to accompany the second round application of the Heritage Lottery Submission for the restoration of Merthyr Tydfil Old Town Hall. This accompanies the documentation required for the submission but critically it is a document which is considered from the very outset of the whole process of restoring a listed building. The Conservation Management plan is at the core of establishing the significance of the building, and therefore is a point of guidance through the whole design process. The CMP is written in accordance with the guidelines from the HLF, and with the generous help and assistance of the people of Merthyr Tydfil.


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Contents 1.0

Executive Summary

2.0

Merthyr Town Hall

3.0

Description of the Site and Premises

4.0

Understanding the Heritage

5.0

Local Context

6.0

The Wider Heritage Context

7.0

Significance

8.0

Significance Gazetteer

9.0

Conservation & Management

10.0

Current Situation – how the building is managed today

11.0

Risks, Vulnerability and the way forward

12.0

Skills Requirements

13.0

Heritage Design Specification - Aims and Objectives for Conservation

14.0

Policies for Conservation

15.0

Policies for New work

16.0

Access

17.0

Effects on the Environment

18.0

Maintenance

19.0

Management

20.0

Adoption and Review

21.0

Bibliography


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Executive Summary

This Conservation Management Plan for the Merthyr Tydfil Old Town Hall has been written in large part by The Heritage, Creative Industries and Arts Consultant employed by MTHA and by Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association staff. Together with the knowledge and assistance of Colin King at the BRE and also by Austin-Smith:Lord Architects.

The CMP was written by a team of people each giving differing aspects of their knowledge to the document and who have ensured that their expertise is used to its best advantage. The close work that the Heritage, Creative Industries and Arts Consultant has done with the community has benefitted the CMP immeasurably.

The plan is written solely about the building of the Merthyr Tydfil Old Town Hall, which is situated physically and emotionally at the heart of Merthyr Tydfil Town. Many matters could be discussed about the state of the conservation area which surrounds the site and the neglect of the other listed buildings in the area, but this is worthy of another publication. The site is a compact area, surrounded by other buildings and thus this Conservation Management Plan is limited to the immediate areas of the building.

The Building of the Merthyr Tydfil Town Hall is a Grade II* Late Victorian edifice, built and now still representing the triumphs and tribulations of Merthyr Tydfil Town. It is a beautifully crafted piece of bespoke piece of civic Architecture, created in celebration of the Merthyr Tydfil’s new status as a Town. When it was built the Architect employed many of the innovative crafts and industries of the day in its wonderfully rich details and flourishes.

Although Merthyr Tydfil was a haven of work and riches due to the industrial revolution, the building’s conception and construction was created under the shadow of rioting, wage disputes and starvation. The Old Town Hall has survived the highs and lows of the industrial revolution and then later depravations of the town through various job losses, recessions and Miners strikes. Like Town Hall itself, Merthyr Tydfil has seen its ups and downs and the building seems to represent and embodies the spirit of the town in so many ways. As such the people of Merthyr Tydfil and the wider area have a great passion to see their building restored. They wish to see it brought from rack and ruin, back to its former glory.

This document should be read in conjunction with the other plans created to accompany the Merthyr Tydfil Town Hall submission: the access plan, the drawings, the business plan, maintenance plan and the activity plan.


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2.0

Merthyr Town Hall.

2.1

For 33 years from 1865 -1898 formal meetings were held exploring the merit of having a Town Hall in the Merthyr Tydfil. A number of different locations were considered: Market Square and its current location referred to as the ‘Castle Site’– opposite the old Castle Inn. The ‘Old Town Hall’ Merthyr Tydfil is located at the heart of the town. It is built on land previously occupied by a temporary ‘Board of Health’ building, and the Bunch of Grapes Inn, both of which were demolished to accommodate the Old Town Hall. The land had been purchased some years previously with the intent of eventually erecting a Town Hall for the town. To safe guard the land the ‘Board of Health’ built a temporary office building, which was later demolished, making way for the Town Hall.

(The large light building is the ‘Board of Health’ offices. The Bunch of Grapes Inn was located to the rear of this)

‘In a public meeting on 4 October 1833 there was a discussion to consider 'erecting a Town Hall and such other buildings as may be useful'. (A Mr.) Guest put up £1,000 for its construction, but then that was forgotten. Crawshay had land in the Glebeland where it was proposed to build the Town Hall but again there were objections. ‘ Extract from Joe England, Chairman of the Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust. If this is all correct, it would mean that the discussion to have a Town Hall spanned over 63 years. The Old Town Hall was built during the 19th Century, in 1898, when Merthyr Tydfil was the largest town in Wales, Merthyr Tydfil was an important seat of the Industrial Revolution and its economic importance as a producer of coal, iron and steel was global. The Old Town Hall was an important symbol of civic pride, contributing to the town gaining County Borough status, and its ambitious design reflects the aspirations of the age. Construction started in 1896 and was completed two years later in 1898. It originally housed both the council offices and the law courts and police cells. A powerful and colourful late Victorian composition of mixed features, its style is generally described as French Renaissance.


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Reading the Royal Charter at the Town Hall

The last Committee Meeting in the

1905 incorporating Merthyr Tydfil as a borough

Town Hall; Council Chamber, 1989

The building is of great historical importance to the town. Kier Hardie, who was elected to the constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare in 1900 as the first independent labour Member of Parliament, seven years before the founding conference of the Labour Party, delivered a number of notable speeches from its balcony as the fledging party gained ground and eventually won power in 1924. Kier Hardy also campaigned for women’s votes developing a close friendship with Sylvia Pankhurst. The Old Town Hall is therefore symbolic of the importance of Merthyr Tydfil to the history of Wales, the UK and the British Empire, and it also bears witness to the lives and the sufferings of local people in former, harsher times. The historic social and political associations of the building and of the project as a whole cannot and should not be underestimated in considering options for future development. Its loss would undoubtedly tear the heart from the town at a time when other new developments such as out of town retail parks, call centres and the new Welsh Government Offices, though hugely successful and much welcomed, could easily transform Merthyr Tydfil into one of the many faceless town centres which now threaten the intrinsic character of the nation 3.0

Description of the Site and Premises

)Front Elevation (High Street

Rear Elevation (Tramroad Side N)


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3.1

The Old Town Hall is a substantial civic building located in Town Hall Square in the historic centre of Merthyr Tydfil. With a footprint of approximately 1380 m2 (14,854 ft2), the existing premises consist of two integrated but almost discreet areas on two floors with additional basement and attic space. The area at the front of the building (West elevation) is a square structure approximately 30m (100 ft) x 30m which originally housed the town hall whilst a rectangular annexe approximately 30m x 16m (52 ft) at the rear housed the town’s law courts and police cells. The annexe is offset at an angle of approximately 30˚ to the main area. Police Cells North Elevation Access from Church Street

East Elevation No Access from Tramroad Side N West Elevation Main Entrance Access from High Street

Car Park Central Stairwell and Atrium

South Elevation

Ground Floor Plan Existing

3.2

The town hall area consists of a number of rooms arranged around a central atrium and stairwell. Access is gained from the main entrance foyer on the west elevation which fronts the town square and leads to the main shopping area. There is secondary access from the north and south elevations which both lead to a common corridor, effectively separating the main building from the annexe. The east elevation to the rear of the building is partly subterranean as the ground rises increasingly and fairly steeply to the road which skirts the rear of the building. There is no access into the building from this elevation. The basement extends roughly half way across the town hall area from the front (West) entrance, and is bounded by a retaining wall at the rear of the main stairwell, although there is some additional basement space on the south side of the building. This arrangement follows the natural contours of the ground which rises steeply to the north and rear elevations.


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Subterranean conditions at the rear of the site have not been fully investigated, and the extent and condition of foundations to the rear walls remains unclear. The curtilage of the site, which is bounded by the building walls on the north, east and west elevations includes an open area of approximately 1000 m2 (10,750 ft2) adjacent to the south elevation at the rear of the existing town library. This area currently serves as an informal car park for the town library which will continue to have a right of access as a vehicular turning point. It also allows vehicular access to the building’s south elevation. Because of the difficulty of roadside parking and loading at other access points, this area assumes significant importance for potential building works, car parking and commercial loading .

North Elevation (Church Street)

South Elevation (Car Parking Area)

The building remains largely unchanged from when it was first designed and constructed; with only minor alterations such as the construction of partition walls to subdivide large rooms. The building has been vacant for almost 20 years, is deteriorating and is at a critical stage – it is considered to be in poor condition and at risk (see CADW listing report and assessment) 4.0

Understanding the Heritage

4.1

The building was designed by a local architect, E. A. Johnson, whose offices were located in St Mary’s Chambers, Monk Street Abergavenny, which he also designed; Glebeland House, Glebeland Street Merthyr Tydfil and Newport. He contributed significantly to the architectural development in the Town and there is evidence of an architectural trail of his work throughout the borough of Merthyr Tydfil specifically but not exclusively: the infirmary; Dowlais Church; Dowlais Library and the first Masonic Temple in Merthyr Tydfil and adjoining First Club in Merthyr.


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E.A. Johnson

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E.A. Johnson offices, Abergavenny, which he designed.

Dowlais Library


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The plan to build a Town Hall was first discussed, publicly, by Merthyr Tydfil ‘Board of Health’ in 1865. Mr Robert Crawshay paid for Architect E. Robinson from Cardiff to draw up plans for the Town Hall. The suggested materials to realise the design were: ‘Pentrebach Stone’, with external walls cased in red and white brick, main staircase in forest of dean stone; all ornamental work to be in Casterton colite limestone, columns Peterhead; roof granite’. The estimated cost for such a building at that time was £7,864, and the proposed location was Market Square. To gather public opinion, the plans for the Town Hall were placed in a shop window. This proposal was dependant of securing confirmation by the mortgagees of the Court Estate’: C.H. James for Richard Thomas and J.W. Russell, Clerk to the Local Board. The proposal did not move forward until 1886, 21 years later, when a competition was held to design a Town Hall for Merthyr Tydfil; this was won by Mr E.A. Johnson, who was 31 at the time. He received the prize money of 50 guineas, 3 years later in 1889; a clause was included with the prize money stipulating that if the design was constructed then the prize money would have to be refunded. There are minutes of lengthy discussions which took place on 17th November 1899, concerning the refund but they failed to resolve contract clauses from 1897. Mr E.A. Johnson subsequently paid half of the required amount.

Mr. E. A. Johnson’s design for the Town Hall

4.3

The Town Hall design remained a paper exercise until 1895 when the ‘New Urban District Council’ came into being and voted to proceed with the Town Hall, referring to it then as the ‘New Public Offices’. The estimated cost was £11,668. It was not until 16th January 1899, after completion of the building, that the ‘Urban District Council’ made a decision to change the name from ‘New Public Offices’ to the Town Hall. The builder engaged to work with Mr E.A Johnson, in 1896 was Mr Harry Gibbon of Cardiff, who used photographs of the Town Hall in a catalogue of the time promoting his work:


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Mr Harry Gibbon catalogue 1896

Such was the prestige surrounding this building development that in 1896, 31 years after the first formal discussion, there was an important formal ceremony held for laying the foundation stone. Within one of the foundation stones, laid by Mr Daniel William Jones, was placed a time capsule, ‘a sealed bottle containing a copy of the Merthyr Express; Merthyr Almanack, the Standard Time Table, the Merthyr Times, and a copy of the day’s programme, together with a


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small parchment on which was detailed the day’s proceedings’

It is the intention of MTHA to uncover this time capsule and place on display the contents, replacing the time capsule with a new one reflecting current times.

Building the Old Town Hall 1896-1898

Mr. E. A. Johnson saw the old Town Hall as part of a wider concept in urban planning and at a later date produced designs for a library, connected to the old Town Hall by a decorative, enclosed bridge. It echoed the old Town Hall’s grandeur, affording extra space at the rear of it to accommodate the expanding council roles. Had Mr. E. A. Johnson’s vision came to fruition then the combined vista of the old Town Hall, library, St. David’s Church and Lloyds Bank would have been a most impressive sight to behold reflecting aspiration, respect for knowledge and wealth. Unfortunately the plans were rejected, but the intent and vision is clear in Mr. E. A. Johnson’s drawings. 4.4

Of particular interest in construction terms, are the recorded discussions concerning installation of services in the Old Town Hall. In 1897 the council agreed that speaking tubes and telephonic communication; gas mains should be included in the building. The Gas was installed by Merthyr Gas Company, laying main supplies to the council offices, County Court and Registrar’s Office. The decorative features within the building are significant; illustrating that Mr. E.A. Johnson was a man of vision, sympathetic to art movements of that time, particularly Art Nouveau. Minutes from the ‘Urban District Council’ between 1896- 1898 clearly show how Mr E. A. Johnson cut through bureaucracy of the day gaining authorisation for these ambitious decorative features to be executed. Completion of building- No Official Opening: The building was finished in April 1898, and in direct contrast to the pomp and circumstance


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surrounding of the ceremony for laying of the stones in 1896, there was no official opening. In the Merthyr Express, Saturday April 9th 1989, it was reported that: ‘The committee reported that they discussed the advisability of a formal opening and now recommended that the Council take possession of the building when complete and that the question of an formal opening remain in abeyance’ The absence of this formal official opening is more significant than if one had occurred as it reflects the very serious social issues of the time. The completion of the building coincided with the ‘great coal strike’. There was rioting and looting on the streets of Merthyr Tydfil, families were starving. Unemployment was high and the Urban District Council could not collect the rates. This led to a mass demonstration to the poor house with families asking to be taken in as they were starving. Soldiers were enlisted to keep law and order. The ‘Merthyr Guardians’ gave food to the desperate families but later this kind action was challenged leading to the ‘Merthyr Judgment’. 5.0

Local context

5.1

The Town Hall is situated at the heart of the historic town centre of Merthyr, positioned next to the listed library to the South and to Church to the North Referring to the Merthyr Tydfil ‘Town Centre Conservation Area Character Appraisal’, the context of the building is clearly defined in the document, showing the sheer volume of quality buildings in the heart of Merthyr and how vulnerable they are to neglect through the socioeconomic circumstances of Merthyr. ‘’The key characteristics of the Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre Conservation Area are:

A town centre developed from the late 18th century as a result of rapid and massive industrial development and population growth, continuing to function as the district’s main high street shopping area into the 21st century;

The concentration of 23 listed buildings and numerous other locally listed buildings and street frontages, creating an area of high architectural interest;

The concentration of commercial, civic, social and spiritual uses relating to the development of Merthyr Tydfil as an industrial town of international importance between the late 18th and early 20th centuries; Landmark buildings of particular architectural quality, which emphasise each of the above historic functions of the area; Dense urban development of mainly narrow frontages on the backs of pavements, creating varied elevations and a noticeable sense of enclosure;

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A strong linear form created by the long axis of Penydarren Road, Pontmorlais High Street, and High Street, with numerous short side streets providing ready access to and from surrounding areas;

Attractive views along street lines to focal points, landmark buildings and out to mountain scenery;

A variety of architectural styles and materials, with details relating to the late Classical,


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Gothic Revival and Edwardian Baroque movements.’’ 5.2

‘’The town centre serves as the main high street shopping area for the County Borough, as well as preserving spiritual and social functions. The historic importance of this area as the administrative centre of the district has now been diminished as a result of the development of the modern Civic Centre, which lies directly to the west. The majority of buildings in the town centre continue to serve as shops, including a high proportion of locally-owned businesses, with a growing number of cafés. Shops in the Pontmorlais area in the north of the conservation area include a large number of hot-food takeaways which normally remain closed until the early evening, creating a quieter sub-area during the day. In recent years the development of out-of town shopping developments and supermarkets has put considerable pressure on the economy of the town centre. A number of commercial premises in the town centre were vacant at the time of the survey in February 2009. A number of national banks and building societies have premises within the High Street, which continue to form hubs of activity. Churches and chapels are focused on High Street and High Street, Pontmorlais, including St Tydfil’s Anglican Church, the High Street Baptist Chapel, St David’s Roman Catholic Church and the Hope and Market Street United Church, which all continue to host religious services. The former Zoar * ¹ Congregationalist Chapel at High Street, Pontmorlais has been converted into a Welsh Language Cultural Centre.’’ ‘’Preserving the special historic and architectural interest of the area, conserving its character and exploiting opportunities to enhance its character and appearance will all be important factors in considering the suitability of proposals for such new development. Careful planning will be required to ensure that regeneration and conservation work together to ensure the preservation and improvement of the town centre’s abundant but fragile heritage assets.’’ Excerpt from Conservation Area Character Appraisal 1.

Zoar * ¹ Congregationalist Chapel at High Street, Pontmorlais now re-named Soar.


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Merthyr Tydfil High Street Conservation area, with the Town hall shown in red at the heart.


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6.0

The Wider Heritage Context

6.1

In the 19th Century the Industrial revolution was driven and centred around places such as Merthyr Tydfil due to its abundant iron ore and coal seams, this was exploited by the Iron masters notably the Crawshays and the wealth of the processes had an immediate knock on effect to the development of Merthyr Tydfil Town centre.

6.2

Wales was well equipped with raw materials for the developing Industrial Revolution. Abundant supplies are available locally to meet the new demand for iron (particularly for railway lines) and for coal (to fuel the furnaces of iron works, railway engines and steamships). The Welsh supply of coal outlasted the iron, so from the mid-19th century new iron and steel works were established near the harbours of the south coast, round Swansea, Cardiff and Newport. Thus diminishing the power exerted by Merthyr Tydfil. At the coast foreign ore was be imported, while coal to fuel the furnaces was fetched the short distance from the mining valleys which run up into the hills. The mining valleys, with their tight-knit communities centred on the chapel, became the prevailing image of Wales. Yet they are just one specific part of the country, in the south. Elsewhere much of the principality remains entirely agricultural, exporting mainly wool. In the north there is another region of industrial enterprise, quarrying slate to roof new houses for a rapidly expanding national population. Even so, the valleys are in a real sense the heart of modern Wales. They suffer grievously in the depression of the 1930s, and in the subsequent slackening of demand for high-cost British coal. And they play a correspondingly important part in the development of left-wing Welsh politics. Excerpt By Tim Lambert Welsh Labour and nationalism: AD 1900-1999 The Welsh mining town of Merthyr Tydfil plays a significant role in the story of Labour in 20thcentury Britain. The founding father of the Labour party, Keir Hardie, lost his first parliamentary seat (London's West Ham) in the election of 1895. For five years he is out of parliament, campaigning incessantly to establish trades union and Labour solidarity. Then, in 1900, he won Merthyr Tydfil as the candidate of the new Labour Representation Committee. For most of the next six years he is the only Labour member in the commons until a sudden change, in the 1906 election, swells the Labour representation in parliament to twenty-nine.


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A decisive corner has been turned, and the member for Merthyr Tydfil is now at the head of a strongly developing political movement (Hardie retains the Welsh seat until his death in 1915). Excerpt by Tim Lambert 7.0

Significance

7.1

Overview - Statement of Significance: A Historical Perspective Key historical events associated with the Town Hall of both local and wider significance:

The development of Urban Planning – the documented discussion spanning over 40 years regarding the development of the Old Town Hall, illustrates the complexities of developing a town and the battle of power between the developing local government, the people it represents and other power brokers with in the town such as the Iron Masters.

Structural development of local government from ‘Board of Health’ to ‘Urban District Council ‘to current council.

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Development from a small town to Incorporation and County Borough Status.

E. A. Johnson - Architect. There is a substantial architectural trail of his work throughout the borough of Merthyr Tydfil, unique for one architect to have such influence on a town development.

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Laying the foundation stones ceremony and the time capsule contained within one.

1900 Kier Hardy was elected first labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and was one of only two Labour MP’s in Parliament. This is significant as the founding speech for the Labour Party was made from the balcony of the Town Hall. In 1906 he ran and won again, the general election:

Industrial Revolution and it economic importance to the development of the town, reflected in the aspirational building.

The significance of refraining from having an official opening is in direct contrast to the laying of the foundation stones ceremony. The absence of this opening is due to the great coal strike.


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1908: Women’s Vote, Sylvia Pankhurst and the link with Kier Hardy - spending the rest of his life campaigning for votes for women and developing a closer relationship with Sylvia Pankhurst.

In 1905 Elections for the new County Borough Council (Incorporated by Royal Charter) gave the Labour Party a clear victory. Former colliery worker Enoch Morrell became the first Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil. MTHA have properties names after him.

Decorative features: Art Nouveau – reflected in the stained glass and the tiles Tiles – by Doulton before they became Royal Doulton. Identification of the specific Doulton Artist and exploration of the technique used. Stairs Stained Glass from both the perspective of identifying the Artist, technique used and historic significance of the commemorative window to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Mosaic Floor – design and symbolism.

Symbolism used in the decorative features : Dragon Motif and Motto. Angels

Masonic symbols used in both the decoration and architectural design, the use of vines; rope; oak leafs; fleur de lys; cupola; pillars; arches; and octagrams, symbol for Knights Templar. For example:


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The inclusion of these symbols reflects the development of the masons within Merthyr Tydfil.

7.2

Statement of Significance The heritage as a whole is examined in both the prior and following chapters, in this chapter we will state why the building and its features are significant as a whole collection and it’s constituent parts. The building was examined and evaluated as a desk based exercise, on site, in the archives and with the Client team, Conservation Officer and Cadw in order to understand the significance of the asset we find today. We prepared significance drawings to simply show how significant each element was in the context of its listing and its status within the community. These form an easy to see guide of the relative areas of the building, although they are limited to the plan form and therefore the external features are discussed in detail here.


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Significance, Basement level

Significance, Ground floor level

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Significance, First floor level

Significance, Second floor level

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Significance Gazetteer. Further to these drawings we have indicated with an illustration, the significance of individual elements of the building and its features at Merthyr. We have examined each notable feature individually which is indicated here below in a simple gazetteer format.

8.1

Terracotta façade and features

8.1.1. Description Pink/buff terracotta units with some elaborate detail, creating what has been described as a French renaissance façade. The façade as a whole is most impressive and forms an elegant and imposing statement at this corner of the High Street. Finials that were once present are now removed. 8.1.2. Level of preservation The terracotta used on the facades was subject to cleaning with acid in the early 1980’s which has caused some damage, removing the equivalent of the fire skin from the face of the units.


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This is irreparable and has caused porosity which has lead to some severe freeze thaw erosion at high and low levels where most water is present. The areas of spalling and breaking have been filled with cement pointing, exacerbating the problem of water trapping. Some new units would be required to give long term durability to some areas. 8.1.3. Vulnerability The freeze thaw action at high at low level is only likely to get worse if the porous units are retained. 8.1.4. Restoration required The whole faรงade should be removed of cement pointing and repairs, and re pointed in an appropriate hydraulic lime mortar, some areas of matching new terracotta elements should be used to repair the highly porous areas which have failed, coping areas could be checked to see whether a lead DPC would be beneficial to the whole design. 8.2

Wrought iron railings and gates


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8.2.1. Description These are very well made elaborate railings of a typical ornate Art Nouveau style in keeping with the rich symbolism and ornament of the other areas of decorative work. Some areas such as the gates shown here are in good condition as they are in a sheltered area away from the worst of the rain. Although some areas of the wrought iron railings are rusting and the consequent jacking is causing damage to the work it is embedded into, which in the main is the terracotta masonry. 8.2.2. Restoration required The areas of rust need removing through deep cleaning of the iron work until all rust is removed and bright metal is found beneath. The railings can then be re coated with a traditional paint build up to protect them for the long term. Due to the damage done to the terracotta copings, it would be advisable that the rust removal and re shaping of any bent units be done off site in a specialists workshop. 8.3

Glazed Internal Tiles

8.3.1. Description On the 5th August 1896 the architect, Mr. E. A. Johnson, submitted a proposal to the ‘Urban District Council to change the finish in the lobby and hall area from a basic plaster and woodwork specification to a glazed tiles area. There is no doubt that this change was fortuitous as it has ensured that the lobby and the hallway have been preserved and protected from the decimation evident in other areas of the building. Mr E.A. Johnson used rich and highly decorative Art Nouveau tiles, made by Doulton & Co before they became Royal Doulton. The tile patterns echo the ornate organic designs reflected in the wrought iron work of lights, window catches and stained glass. The most noteworthy feature being the four angels constructed from the tiles which adorn either side of the lobby area, watching over people as they enter and exit the building. These angels are symbols with a number of possible interpretations:

It is noted in biblical history that 4 angels protected the ‘Ark of the Covenant ‘, which contained the 10 commandments on tablets of stone. Parallels can be drawn between this and the function of the Town Hall, the seat of local government, enforcing the laws by which the town’s people lived. There is also a further reference here to Masonic symbolism specifically to the ‘Ark of the Covenant’, which signifies: Eternal life; Authority; Religious and Moral Imperatives.

There are 4 main Archangels named as: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel. These in turn represent the four seasons and offering constant protection.

These tiles are of particular interest with regard to style and manufacturing as Doulton &Co stopped tile production in 1905. Their current condition is remarkably good condition although there is visible evidence of chips and cracks.


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Archangels by Doulton & Co

8.4

Mosaic Floor

8.4.1. Description The public Office Committee on 24th August 1897 requested that a crest with a suitable motto be laid in the mosaic work in the entrance hall. This resulted in a Welsh dragon being placed along side the motto: ‘Y DDRAIG GOCH A DDYRY CYCHWYN’ An approximate translation is, "THE RED DRAGON INSPIRES ACTION’ This is a very clever motto as it reflects the very reason for the Town Hall’s existence - a direct reference to the red brick Town Hall building, a public building, the magnitude of the aspirations and the role it would fulfil in society. In 1901 the dragon became the official flag in Wales and in 1953 it was announced that a new Royal Badge containing the motto ‘Y Ddraid goch a ddyry cychwyn’. The mosaic floor is damage, with a large crack slicing through the main image of the dragon. In 1987 this was used in the lyric of a song, written by Godfrey Birtill comparing the crack in the dragon to symbolise the deterioration of Merthyr Tydfil town. Other sections of mosaic floor have been damaged due to carpet grips being nailed into them.


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The mosaic tiles used to create the dragon were by a company called Craven Dunnill Jackfield, who have commenced trading again after the works closed in 1951. Not only did the company produce the red dragon but they produced the mosaic floor which can be found throughout the Old Town Hall. The imprint of the trademark on the back of the tile was found at the ‘New Castle Street’ entrance the trademark depicts chimneys typical of china works of the industrial revolution.

8.5

Windows

8.5.1. Description Further decorative features of note are the windows. There are 131 leaded windows, 77 etched panels, 1 commemorative stained glass window; the windows have deteriorated considerably. The windows form an essential component in the comprehensive restoration of this building, as evidenced in historical photographs, clearly documenting their importance in the over all design


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concept of the building. The commemorative window, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, is situated in a prominent position, directly in front of the main entrance, centrally placed, between a double headed open-plan Victorian grand staircase. It is a beautiful example of painted and stained glass, typical of that time period. The art nouveau design predominately uses organic shapes, echoed in the tiles. The palette used is a muted pastel colour scheme which give beautiful luminescent colours, surrounding the distinctive figure head of Queen Victoria.

Stained Glass Window, central stairwell in good condition 1989

Stained Glass Window, central stairwell in current condition

It is evident from old photographic records that the original front windows, included engraved and etched sections on the lower half of the window, some of which remain, in addition to the leaded top half of the window. Over the years the lower section was removed and replaced by clear glass.


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Town Hall 1899 – note windows

Town Hall 1989 –note windows

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It is unknown who the stained glass Artist is for the windows and particularly the commemorative window, although some of the organic shapes are echoed in the design work of Frank Brangwyn. Sadly due to severe neglect, suffered before MTHA purchased it, many of these windows, including the commemorative window, are now in an exceptionally fragile state. Damage has been caused by a number of factors:

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Vandalism. Pigeons, which were nesting in the building and flew at the windows. Adverse weather conditions.

8.5.2. Vulnerability Most areas are now boarded up to prevent further damage although not all areas. Pigeons do use the leaded openings to get into the building, thus causing some further damage. It is recommended that all windows are protected with either plywood or sturdy mesh to prevent further damage. 8.6

Cupola

8.6.1. Description Another distinctive feature is the Cupola which was situated on top of the Clock Tower. On 5th August 1896 Mr. E.A. Johnson submitted to the Urban District Council’ a sketch showing an enlargement of the turret.

E. A. Johnson’s drawing of the cupola

The amended cupola in the background


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Cupola removed

At some point the cupola was removed due to structural strain on the building: The original clock which adorned the tower was scrapped in 1966 and replaced by a synchronous clock, costing ÂŁ315, converting to electricity. 8.7

Stairs

8.7.1. Description A number of artefacts described in the listing, most notably the central staircase, in addition to the tiled pillars and stained glass windows are in danger of severe damage. On 18th October 1897, the Urban District Council approved drawings by E. A. Johnson for marble standards for lighting, two to be placed at the top of the stairs and two at the bottom. These lights were in working order up to the decommissioning of the building from council use. Now the bases of these lights remain intact but the lights have been ripped from their bases and will have to be re- made from historical photographs.

Central Stairwell, condition 1989

Central

Stairwell,

current

condition


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Lights

8.8.1. Description The original lighting embraced the new innovation at the time Electricity. It was decided on 17th February 1896 to install electric lights in the Town Hall. In February 1897 this decision was changed to install electricity to part of the building and the remaining section to be lit using gas. Once installed there was discussion about the quality of the light omitted. This is of interest as it reflects the developing technologies of the time but also in the visual aspect of design of the lights. Continuity is given as the organic structures reflected in the tiles are also present in the lighting design to the entrance of the building and more angular design sympathetic to the marble pillar structures.

Examples of lighting from Mr. Gibbons Catalogue and archive photographs from 1989

8.9

Masonic Connections and Symbolism. Mr. E.A. Johnson became a Mason in 1881, when he was 26; belonging to a Lodge in Abergavenny called the Philanthropic Lodge, which later was renamed as St John’s Lodge. On the 6th September 1881 it is documented in ‘The History of The Loyal Cambrian Lodge, Merthyr Tydfil 1810- 1914’ that he was also the architect for the first Masonic Lodge in Merthyr Tydfil. The Worshipful Deputy stated to E.A. Johnson: ‘I have great pleasure in returning you the plans of this building, feeling assured that you will carry them out to satisfaction, not only of yourself but of the lodge. I am sorry that I cannot congratulate you as a Brother on this occasion’.


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Three months later, November 1881, Mr. E. A Johnson was initiated as a mason. The ‘Old Town Hall’ is full of both architectural and decorative features such as tiles and windows, which hold Masonic significance: 4 Angels – Ark of Covenant; vines; rope; oak leafs; fleur de lys; cupola; pillars; arches and octagrams (symbol for Knights Templar) which in turn in symbolic of Philanthropic order of which Mr. E. A. Johnson was a member. 8.10

Ceiling and wall paper

The Old Council Chamber Finished with Austrian Oak.

8.10.1. Description The paper or paper maché to the first floor areas is probably a type of Anaglypta or Lincrusta, which are heavily embossed paper glued to the substrate. The ceilings and walls down to the picture rail are finished with these products giving a rich finish to the spaces. Due to the water ingress that the building is currently and has been suffering, the walls and ceilings are starting to deteriorate. There is a continuation of the design theme with a fan embossed in the wallpaper, a shape with is etched in the tiles and windows, this is an organic shape reminiscent of acanthus foliage – a symbol of immortality. 8.10.2. Restoration requirements: The paper has fallen from the ceiling in a few areas and in order to preserve this feature of note, the water ingress needs to be dealt with early in the restoration works.


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Items of council chamber furniture

8.11.1. Description There are in the building some areas of the works which appear to be historic remnants of the old council chamber furniture, in particular sections of the council chamber which were made out of steamed Austrian oak by the contractor Mr. Harry Gibbons in 1898. These have been dismantled years ago and re used as later fixtures and fittings 8.11.2. Vulnerability These areas of furniture are in a mediocre state having been cut up and painted but could be re used again to ensure that they are not simply thrown out. This will have to be considered in the designs and use patterns of the building.


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Panelled doors

The Majors Office with Balcony windows.

8.12.1. Description There are few remaining doors in the whole of the Merthyr Town Hall, most have been lost or discarded through time. Some areas of doors do remain but are in the most part vulnerable to decay and disregard. Two notable doors are those in the main foyer serving as front doors, and the doors to the balcony, these are both Mahogany panelled doors, which although appear to be in a sorry state, could be easily repaired with good quality materials and craftsmanship to give a door that will last for years to come.


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8.12.2. Restoration Requirements: The weather sealing of the areas surrounding the doors is poor, lead work to parapets is leaking, and that ingress is rotting any areas of timber below. The balconies and window parapets have no weather proofing at all and are causing the rot in the floors and collapse of the ceilings below, thus the doors are currently vulnerable to secondary issues which should be addressed during restoration works. 8.13

Decorative features and panelling

Front elevation windows showing plaster architraves.

8.13.1. Description There are several areas of both decorative features and panelling which are grouped together for ease of reference. The decorative features, which include dado rails, picture rails, cornices skirting and architraves are a mixture of softwood and or plaster features, all original to the building when it was first completed. These areas are fundamental to the character to the building as many of the original features still remain and are integral to feel of the place.


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8.13.2. Condition The small area of Mahogany or oak panelling that remains in the Mayors office is a minor part of what constituted the originally lavish scheme to the Mayors office. Much of this has been lost to previous owners or the rot from the lack of maintenance. The desire to restore the panelling in the Mayors room which has been lost is a welcome return to the areas that have been ravaged in the past. 8.13.3. Vulnerability There are many areas of water ingress and these are facilitating the ongoing problem of rot to the building. Dry and wet rots have taken hold and their pernicious nature will continue until the moisture sources have been controlled and the relative humidity is within the limits required by the built fabric. 8.14

Composite trusses

Second floor offices.

8.14.1. Description The cast iron and milled trusses at high level in the roofs to the east wing of the Old Town Hall are a small detail which shows that the building was created in the heart of the Industrial town of Merthyr Tydfil. As the town was founded on the money from the iron and steel industries it would have been very remiss to find that there were no details in the building of cast


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construction. There is further documented evidence, from minutes of the day, of using this material to construct and install a spiral cast in the stair case to fit into the turret. 8.14.2. Condition The trusses are partly cast and subject to verification appear to be partly milled steel forming a simple A frame structure with small but intricate detailing. The bearing ends will require investigation to ensure that the iron work has not undergone excessive corrosion or deformation over the years, but at first glance the trusses appear in good condition and could be appreciated as they were first conceived. 8.15

Change of Street Structure: At a later, unconfirmed date, the buildings situated directly in front of the Town Hall were demolished, opening up the space, creating a better vista to the Town Hall, from Castle Street, making it more imposing.

9.0

Conservation & Management The building is listed Grade II* which means that the building is deemed to be of regional significance to society. The significance of a building can be measured in a number of ways, but the emotional significance that the Old Town Hall has for the public is immeasurable. On standing in front of the building members of the general public will approach members of the design team, either saying that it was a ‘disgrace that the building was left to rack and ruin’, or hoping that the building will be ‘brought back to it’s former glory’. It is these sentiments amongst other things which we bear in mind when considering the policies, together with the more categorical measuring of the buildings significance, the listed building extract, enclosed below.


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Copy of the listed building extract.

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Recent Events The building’s development history in recent years has seen a far less salubrious sequence of events which will certainly have affected the attitudes of local people in relation to its future development and usage. Merthyr Tydfil Council operated from there until 1989. There are many stories from ex employees of Merthyr Tydfil Council, who were based at the old town hall at that time, of lax security at the point of transfer and decommissioning of the ‘Old Town Hall’. Opportunists ripped out the grand fireplaces. These fireplaces were substantial, designed by E. A. Johnson and built out of Austrian Oak by Harry Gibbon. The barbaric removal of these features marked the beginning of the Town Hall desecration. Paintings by Rolf Harris’s grandfather, George Frederick Harris were rescued along with 18th Centenary maps of the town, after being found discarded in skips. Following its demise as the seat of local government in 1989, the building housed the privately owned Zone nightclub for a considerable period, a highly unpopular choice for most of the townspeople reflected in news paper reporting of the time: ‘You are selling your people down the river’(Merthyr Express 27/08/92). The interior was adorned in garish colours: purples, pinks, oranges and turquoise, which jarred with the delicate decoration. No attempt was made during this time to conserve and protect the heritage. The maintenance schedule was non existent, leaving the building to fall rapidly into disrepair. Many of the building’s historic fixtures and fittings were lost or damaged during its tenure and are impossible to replace. It was associated with late night revelry and anti social behaviour reported in headlines such as ‘Man jailed for biting off ear’ Merthyr Express 28/3/00 A private sector consortium which subsequently purchased the property raised expectations in the local community with an ambitious plan for its restoration. However, its failure to deliver any results because of financial difficulties intensified doubts about future development and highlighted the importance of commercial viability over well intentioned but highly fanciful altruism. The financial collapse of the company, which was directly linked to many of the same issues which still face the building, serves as a reminder of the dangers of attempting to renovate large period structures without a financially viable and sustainable plan for their subsequent usage.

10.0

Current Situation – how the building is managed today The freehold interest in the site was acquired by Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association in August 2007 for £650,000 with financial assistance from the Heads of the Valley programme, a 15 year regeneration strategy developed by the Welsh Assembly Government within the context of the Wales Spatial Plan, in partnership with five local authorities, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau-Gwent and Torfaen and other local stakeholders. The building was already in a derelict condition, and its interior has rapidly become a cause for serious concern, with further deterioration inevitable without costly remedial works. Despite a structurally sound external façade, surveys show that the roof of the building and related surface water drainage channels are in immediate need of repair and will require replacement in the foreseeable future. This has led to significant ingress of water resulting in the normal


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associated water damage. Subsequent damage to all floors, ceilings, fixtures and fittings is extensive, and it is highly likely that the recently observed spread of dry rot spores, which have infested both timber fittings and behind brick and stone structures, will accelerate rapidly, rendering essential remedial works extremely difficult. It is suggested that emergency works be undertaken to protect all areas of parapet or balcony as these appear to be the area where water ingress is most severe. It is worth noting in this context that Serpula lacrymans, the fungus which causes dry rot is likely to be at its most active in the summer period, and the potential for severe structural damage by the autumn is therefore significant.

Dry rot in floor structure timbers with fruiting bodies through the plaster.

The building is currently listed as a Grade II* structure under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 which is administered by Cadw, a division of the Welsh Assembly Government. The listing report is attached as Appendix A. Grade II* buildings are those of special architectural or historic interest and may not be demolished, extended or altered without special permission from the local planning authority. The owners of listed buildings may be compelled to repair and maintain them and can face criminal prosecution if they fail to do so or if they perform unauthorised alterations. 11.0

Risks, Vulnerability and the way forward

11.1

The general deterioration of floor and roof timbers may soon lead to the development of an unsafe building structure which has significant implications for health and safety and other legal issues. To date, MTHA have undertaken a number of surveys of the building in order to ascertain the extent of works required.


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Comprehensive Surveys have been completed which include: • Austin- Smith :Lord, Design Access Statement • Full Building Survey and Plans developed (Powell Dobson Architects) – the Design and Access Statement developed for the Planning Application is attached as a separate document Appendix 03. • Structural Survey (HCD) • Bat Survey ( David Clements Ecology Ltd) • Asbestos Survey (PHH Environmental) • Drainage Survey ( Environmental Cleaning Solutions) • Damp & Timber Condition survey (Peter Cox) • Leaded, stained and etched glass (Alan Adams, SMU) • Clock Tower ( J B Joyce) The building was acquired by Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association from the previous owners with existing plans to renovate the external and internal structures, creating a mix of offices and social enterprises, including a cafeteria, crèche and small retail units. However, the preliminary estimates for this project proved to be highly unrealistic, and the Association has been forced to reconsider the plans in the light of more recent estimates of capital cost. These are described below in greater detail. As a result of these factors, a feasibility study was commissioned by the Housing Association, both in relation to options for possible building works and prospective usages. Although these two broad considerations are interlinked, they are essentially different and are not mutually exclusive i.e. some of the potential building options might be adapted for different usages and it is felt crucial that any space created within the building should be flexible enough its design to cater for a range of activities, rather than specifically for one end usage. The project that is to be taken forward is to refurbish and restore the ‘Old Town Hall’ to provide an art and creative industries centre. Essentially the original spaces will remain, however in order to achieve accessibility into and through out the building, proposals include the creation of new, level access entry off Library Lane via a lift, the fabrication and installation of a steel framework to raise floor levels at the rear of the building to enable level access on the First floor. A courtyard café will be created by replacing the toilet block with a modern, eye catching design constructed with a glazed roof, sufficiently sympathetic not to detract from the heritage architectural features, but enhance and maximise their impact and distinctiveness. The management of the building today focuses on security and prevention of any further deterioration of the structure and its features whilst options are being explored for its future restoration and use. This includes weekly inspections by MTHA surveyors.


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Basement Proposed plan

Ground floor Proposed plan

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Second floor Proposed plan

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Currently the ‘Old Town Hall’ is in a very sorry state: the businesses which once surrounded the Old Town Hall, sustaining the town, have disappeared one by one, leaving the derelict ‘Old Town Hall’ surrounded by a sea of transient take-a-ways, encased in cold metal shutters during the day, only coming to life in the evening. As the Local Authority’s 2003 Regeneration Strategy observes, The Old Town Hall is the focal point of four buildings in the town centre - St David’s Church, The Library and Castle Cinema (now demolished) are the other three - which holds the key to maintaining a critical balance between old and new. The strategic plan adopted for its reinstatement as the town centre’s most important building therefore assumes nothing less than a critical role in the future development of Merthyr Tydfil itself. In order to develop a better future we need to focus on what was best from the past - the ‘Old Town Hall’ should be used as a town centre, focal point that can sign post people to other areas / buildings / activities of historical significance within the borough. The objective of this would be to support and encourage heritage and tourism to work in partnership. The wider regeneration initiative is underway, leading from the ‘Old Town Hall’. Reverting the facades, of the premises which are dominated by take- a-ways, to their former glory. The Old Town Hall is central to this as the heart of the regeneration initiative. The local authority is particularly anxious to see the building restored to a usage more in keeping with its original purpose as an important civic resource. Public response to recent press coverage suggests that feelings are running high in the town about the future of the building, and it is likely that much of this sentiment will surface if and when project planning develops. It is the intention of Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association to ensure the views and feelings of the people of Merthyr Tydfil are fully considered and consulted on in the process Considerable apprehension about the current condition of the premises was noted during preliminary investigations around project feasibility, and initial consultations with a wide range of interested parties have revealed widespread concern about the future of the building and other structures in the vicinity.

12.0

Skills Requirements

12.1

When a building such as the Old Town Hall is restored, it can boost the local community in more ways than just through the finished business. Throughout the process the restoration is providing jobs and more importantly skills to the craftsmen of the area. Within a project such as this, the contractor would be asked specifically to recruit any new staff or trainees from the local skills market. Ensuring some of the immediate population have an opportunity to work on the building. Furthermore, with a heritage project, the differing trades can offer training and apprenticeships for the heritage skills sector, the skills required on such a building are being boosted by projects such as this and thus give a more economic labour


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market for projects in the future, thus helping to sustain the heritage sector.

13.0

Heritage design specification - aims and objectives for conservation In accordance with the grant offer from Cadw, we have prepared this outline specification with reference to the conditions set out. The conditions which relate to building fabric are listed below and we have responded to the conditions in the same order for ease of reference:

₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋

Provision of scaffolding to execute the works. Protection work associated with the repairs. Removal of growth to the exterior stonework. Re-pointing of the masonry using lime mortar. The restoration / replacement of the stained glass windows. The overhaul or renewal of the rainwater goods with cast iron. Masonry repairs or renewal. Repairs and timber treatment of roof structure. Repairs / renewal of external joinery Repairs / renewal of roof finish using natural slate.

Specification with reference to:13.1

Provision of scaffolding to execute the works. Scaffolding will not be built into the facade or to be braced onto the facade, otherwise known as putlog scaffold, this would cause too much damage to the facades. To remove all roof slates and re roof, a temporary roof will be required over the whole building. This will need to be weighed down from wind uplift and this may not be anchored off the building. Kentilage will be required. The scaffold will be generally ground bearing, but with protection required to finishes to the ground and the abutments to the walls will not be fixed to provide kentilage, except where a specific condition requires bracing. Normally, bracing is taken through the opened or carefully removed windows, glass will not be broken to use as a bracing position.

13.2

Protection work associated with the repairs. Many of the features are fragile and on repairing some items of structure the rooms and corridors will be heavily trafficked giving rise to the risk of damage. All items which if damaged would reduce the significance of the building will be protected throughout the works, the protection will be robust, but will be required to be removed from time to time to provide access for surveying the item itself.


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Removal of growth to the exterior stonework. Removals of growth from the exterior stonework is essential to ensure the continued infestation does not continue to cause damage to the facades. The inner courtyard, gutters valleys and ledges have all been subject to considerable buddleia growth both historically and currently. Some of the growths are a simple case of removal, while others are pernicious growths which have forced their way into the masonry. Generally the difficult areas will require a cut back and the stump treated with a biocide, after the stump has shrivelled the roots are carefully removed, this sometimes requires partial take down of an area of masonry and re build to the exact replica of the original layout.

13.4

Re-pointing of the masonry using lime mortar. All internal and external mortars will use solely lime based products, the external elevations and the internal walls that they abut are subject to considerable quantities of rain and due to the solid construction of the walls it is essential that evaporation is facilitated through the walls and the facade. The bricks in the facade are in relatively good condition, with little spalling and thus the removal of the pointing must be delicate and the reinstated pointing strength should be less strong than the brick in order to ensure water and salt movement travels through the mortar rather than the brick, thus reducing freeze thaw and other water related problems. Lime mortar using possibly NHL 2.5, which is feebly hydraulic or 3 which is moderately hydraulic would be considered and would be based upon tests undertaken of the existing historic mortars. The aggregate in the current mortar is coal ash or blast furnace slag which would also require testing. The new mortar should replicate the old without some of the risks associated with high pozzolan content or alumina content mixes.

13.5

The restoration / replacement of the stained glass windows. In order to undertake the restoration of the stained glass we would ensure that there was an expert on the team to advise and consider solutions. Simply put the stained glass would be restored to its original form using all the historic glass types that are available to the market today. There are some types of glass in the original schemes that are no longer produced. If some repairs can be undertaken in situ, then this is preferred as this causes the least likelihood of damage to the original forms. Many of the windows require extensive repair and these would be taken to the historic glass repair workshop and dealt with flat on the bench. The lead over time can sag, but this is not universal, so this would only be repaired if required. New lead will be the same gauge as the old to ensure the patterns remain the same. The ferramenta work to each of the lead windows generally will need looking at to ensure a firm background for the windows, the lead will be tied to cross bars with copper wire. The timber casements of the windows would each be looked at to check their condition. Windows, will fall into the categories of beyond economic repair, to be repaired, or new to be replaced with a replica. The type of timber used to repair the windows will depend on what is present in the original windows, these are perhaps a yellow pine thus douglas fir or other equivalent tough softwood would be considered. Cills would be replaced with hardwood such as


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oak when required. No epoxy repairs will be used. 13.6

External Windows, Doors and Louvres. Feature stained glass windows repaired as set out in report from the Architectural Glass Centre, Swansea University, the glass types and lead gauges will be matched as closely as possible within the limits of the glass types that are produced now. All glass that is broken will be salvaged in case it is useable.

13.7

External and Internal Doors Where feasible, existing doors to be repaired and reconditioned, whilst any missing doors to be re-instated with a replica. Where additional doors are within new partitions these should be in keeping with the existing historical context.

13.8

Shutters or louvres Internally will probably be used to shut out light and reduce acoustic break out from the theatre and performance spaces.

₋ ₋

The overhaul and complete renewal of the rainwater goods will be with cast iron.

₋ ₋

Masonry repairs or renewal.

Brick - The brick is in good condition but has been re pointed in cement which is starting to give signs of damage. The pointing will be removed by a stone mason or well qualified person using a Brick and stone saw to give a clean cut to the joints.

Terracotta - The finials that are missing will be reinstated with patterns created from the existing finial found on site ( there are two, one on New Castle Street, one on Tram road street)There will also need to be some repairs to any severely deteriorated blocks. These can be replaced with like for like.

Pointing - The pointing generally will be feebly or moderately hydraulic lime mortar, with slag deposits and coal ash within the mix. This mix will be carefully formulated with analysis of the existing Lime mortar.

Insulation of walls will be achieved using a wood wool board, this specification and thickness will be decided in close consultation with the B.R.E. Sufficient heat will be required to be transferred into the walls in order to control moisture migration to reduce the risk of freeze thaw in the walls.

₋ ₋

Repairs and timber treatment of roof structure and finishes.

All rain water good are to be refurbished or new cast iron, where the goods are currently aluminium, they will be replaced. The outlets will be taken into drains to be created at the base of all rain water pipes, in order that there is no surface run off which can cause dampness in the walls. Stone - the Pennant rustication at the base will be re pointed in a moderate or feebly hydraulic lime mortar, there appears little structurally compromised in the stone. Some areas will be washed with a biocide to inhibit Algal growth.

The timber trusses and sarking will have some rot and this will be removed and re- instated with timber as required. The rot may only be wet rot in parts and thus will only require isolated areas of repair. New ventilation at the eaves and through the new instated cupolas


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will ensure a through draft to the re finished works.

13.9

The existing slates will be carefully removed and set aside and all good slates will be re used in the roof works. New slates will be reclaimed Welsh slate and will need to be sourced from the appropriate quarry to ensure a colour and texture match.

₋ ₋

Repairs / renewal of external joinery.

Railing repair will be done by experts who are still found in the locality, they will be taken from site and straightened, new parts let into the whole, and re bedded into the terracotta coping which will need repair.

Single Ply Membrane – this will be used upon the newly created flat roof area in the courtyard, the decking could be pre cast plank sufficient to take the plant load. The single ply membrane would have a walking route laid out on the areas that would receive foot traffic.

Courtyard Gutter – To the perimeter of the new glass pitched roof would most likely be an insulated aluminium gutter with trace heating in the winter.

Mansafe System – The mansafe system would be required from areas of flat roof and within the walkable gutter to prevent falling through the glass roof.

All new joinery will be created to an exact replica of the parts found on site, and most windows will be retained in situ and any areas of rot, cut into the existing windows.

Internal Finishes Floors

Basement Existing flags to be carefully removed in order to lay an appropriate tanking system (likely to be a lath system with base drain and sump) with a new floor build up and finish to suit room function. Salvaged flags to be re-used elsewhere in the building.

₋ ₋

Ground Floor Entrance Lobbies Main entrance to have re-conditioned existing mosaic to inner lobby, while the external lobby has dragon mosaic to be carefully removed and preserved for display.

New flooring to the external lobby to be natural stone to the top of the new ramp with dragon feature carved into stone. All other secondary lobbies, to have re-conditioned existing clay tile either restored or reinstated where missing. Clay tile has mosaic style patterning and smooth patterning.

Foyer flooring at Ground floor level Re-conditioned existing mosaic at the thresholds between rooms and the terrazzo of the main hall. Re-conditioned existing terrazzo sections, where cracked, remove whole panel and replace with exact replica terrazzo to area.


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Grand Staircase Stone planks with levelling screed repairs to be retained and a new finish laid over to protect.

Courtyard Foyer End grain timber block flooring, laid on new screed finish with under-floor heating M&E to confirm.

Reception/Shop Remove all floor board to access joist areas, fill voids with dense insulation and place isolators on every joist before re-laying. Re-conditioned existing or new in parts (up to 50%) timber floorboards to be re positioned. Floor finish to be new hard wood Parquet laid on top of floor boards, these will require sanded finish in situ, and water stain with wax finish. Salvaged timber floorboards to match where existing needs replacing due to rot damage.

Studio space flooring at Ground floor level Remove all floor board to access joist areas, fill voids with dense insulation and place isolators on every joist before re-laying. Re-conditioned existing or new in parts (up to 50%) timber floorboards to be re positioned. Floor finish to be new hard wood Parquet laid on top of floor boards, these will require sanded finish in situ, and water stain with wax finish. Salvaged timber floorboards to match where existing needs replacing due to rot damage.

Kitchen/Servery and Kitchen support Tiled flooring/rubber sheet flooring on top of re conditioned and acoustic build up tongue and groove timber floorboards.

Cells Existing flags to be carefully removed in order to lay an appropriate tanking system (likely to be a lath system with base drain and sump) with a new floor build up and finish to suit room function. Salvaged flags to be re-used in the cell stalls, and elsewhere in the building.

Library Lane Entrance Existing flags to be re used in this area, floor levels to be altered as there is a step up from road level to ground floor.

₋ ₋ ₋

First Floor The Zone 1 Suspended floor with secondary structure required beneath, plywood performance floor with painted finish. Acoustic treatment required beneath floor finish, dense insulation and isolators required beneath each joist.


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The Zone 2 Suspended floor with secondary structure required beneath, plywood structural subfloor with carpet tile finish.

Studio space flooring at First floor level Remove all floor board to access joist areas, fill voids with dense insulation and place isolators on every joist before re-laying. Re-conditioned existing or new in parts (up to 50%) timber floorboards to be re positioned. Floor finish to be new hard wood Parquet laid on top of floor boards, these will require sanded finish in situ, and water stain with wax finish.

Salvaged timber floorboards to match where existing needs replacing due to rot damage.

Administration areas Carpet tile Linoleum /rubber sheet flooring

Changing room Linoleum /rubber sheet flooring

Toilets Linoleum /rubber sheet flooring

₋ ₋

Second Floor Administration space/ workstations and The Zone 1, balcony Suspended floor with secondary structure required beneath, plywood structural subfloor with carpet tile finish.

Walls

Basement Existing walls to be lined with an appropriate tanking system (likely to be a lath system with base drain and sump) with a new wall build up and finish to suit room function.

₋ ₋

Ground Floor

Foyer at Ground floor level Re-conditioned existing glazed ceramic tiles. Re-conditioned existing timber panelling and mouldings generally.

Courtyard Foyer Existing bricks walls to be treated with a suitable biocide and cleaned and rubbed down with

Entrance Lobbies Re-conditioned existing glazed ceramic tiles and mural, where broken, new tiles to be commissioned and set into the scheme.


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a non abrasive method.

Internal face of the external walls in Studios, Reception and Library Lane Entrance Wood wool Insulation and a lime plaster finish with lime paints to wall areas.

Cells Existing walls to be lined with an appropriate tanking system (likely to be a lath system with base drain and sump) with a new wall build up and finish to suit room function.

Kitchen/Servery Tiled walls, White rock or other similar system to hygiene requirement areas.

First Floor

The Zone 1 Acoustic treatment(absorption and reflection) and blackout, acoustic and blackout shutters to windows and acoustic louver to air vent in ceiling. Wood wool Insulation and a lime plaster finish with lime paints to wall areas.

The Zone 2 Wood wool Insulation and a lime plaster finish with lime paints to wall areas.

Foyer Paper lined walls with high level Lincrusta / embossed border to be re-instated.

Studio F1 Re-instate the timber panelling to lower section of wall. Wood wool Insulation and a lime plaster finish with lime paints to upper wall areas.

Kier Hardy Room F8/F9 Re-instate the timber oak raised and fielded panelling to full height.

Studio’s Wood wool Insulation and a lime plaster finish with lime paints to wall areas.

₋ ₋

Second Floor Administration space/ workstations Wood wool Insulation and a lime plaster finish with lime paints to wall areas.

Ceilings

Basement Music Practice and recording studio, Gypsum plaster acoustic suspended ceiling, specification appropriate to the space requirements.

Ground Floor


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Entrance Lobbies Painted existing plastered ceilings and cornice.

Foyer Re-instate the existing formed Lincrusta / papier-mâché ceiling tiles.

Reception/Shop Painted existing lath and plaster plastered ceilings repaired or reinstated and any missing cornice re cast and fixed in place.

Studio space flooring at Ground floor level Painted existing lath and plaster plastered ceilings repaired or reinstated and any missing cornice re cast and fixed in place.

Kitchen/Servery Painted existing lath and plaster plastered ceilings repaired or reinstated and any missing cornice re cast and fixed in place.

Cells Painted gypsum plasterboard ceiling

Library Lane Entrance Painted gypsum plasterboard ceiling and cornice retained or reinstated and fixed in situ.

₋ ₋

First Floor

Studio F1 Re-instate the ornate vaulted ceiling and embossed papier-mâché ceiling features

Studios Painted existing plastered ceilings and cornice

Corridor and Zone 1 lobby New wood wool board and lime plaster ceiling to underside of flat roof and cornices cut out, set aside and re-instated where existing cornice are to be retained.

The Zone 1 Painted decorative cast iron trusses Timber decorative panels to be re-coated with a Fire Rated surface spread of flame treatment. Suspended acoustic ceiling panels

Foyer Re-instate the existing formed Lincrusta / papier-mâché ceiling tiles


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The Zone 2, teaching spaces Gypsum plaster acoustic suspended ceiling, specification appropriate to the space requirements. Changing room Accessible ceilings tile suitable for humid areas

Toilets Accessible ceilings tile suitable for humid areas

₋ ₋

Second Floor Administration areas Painted decorative cast iron trusses Timber panels to be re-coated with an FR surface spread of flame treatment Acoustic ceiling panels

Underlay Recycled acoustic underlay suitable for carpet tiles Screed

Lime screed with insulation as Structural Engineer’s requirements.

Internal Staircases

Courtyard /Accommodation Stair Steel structure / Timber flooring, end grain timber to match courtyard floor.

Back of house Stair 1no. Precast Concrete units with steel balustrade and handrail. 1no. Timber construction with a timber handrail fixed to enclosure walls

Lifts

16 person passenger lift to BS8300 recommendations

Sanitaryware

₋ ₋ ₋ ₋

Water efficient WCs Wash Hand Basins with sensor/water efficient taps Waterless Urinals with the requisite Air extract Cleaners Sinks to cleaners cupboards, shelves and hooks on walls

Toilet Cubicles

2.1m height laminated cubicles, with colour contrasting posts to door. Furniture Fixtures and Fittings

Reception/Shop counter


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Existing glazed ceramic tiling with a hardwood top

Servery counters Salvaged bricks from demolished Courtyard toilet blocks used in a different format within a metal carrier frame with a recycled glass composite top

Dressing Room furniture Painted timber framework with laminate worktop and lighting to mirrors.

Fire Protection All lath and plaster ceilings, fire paint will be required to upgrade the ceilings. Cast iron columns which are exposed metalwork are to have a fine intumescent paint finish. Whilst all steelwork which is not decorative will be covered in fire rated build-up. Acoustic Encasement

Will be required to all floors and ceilings to ensure a good performance to the structure, the areas above and below the theatre spaces and the recording studios will require a particular level of requirements.

Sundry Insulation

All lofts to be insulated at ceiling level, thus creating a cold roof. In order to create sufficient ventilation for the loft timbers, eaves ventilation will be installed when re fixing the slates to the roofs, and the space will be ventilated at high level through the newly reinstated vent cowls.

Signage

All signage will be designed in accordance with the branding strategy and physical requirements of the building strategy. All designed to BS. 8300 recommendations.

Paint

Organic based low VOC breathable paints, lime based paints where lime plaster is used.

Protective Finishes

Intumescent seals and coatings to all fire doors and to mechanical and electrical penetrations through fire compartments. Lofts will have some fire compartmentation due to the rooms below requiring protection.

Tanking

Cavity draining lath tanking system, will require a sump point and pumped drain at a low level. The walls drain freely and the water is then drained by gravity or by the pump system.


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Policies for Conservation Maintaining and enhancing the quality the economic and social fabric of Merthyr Old Town Hall is vital if it is to be conserved and thereafter passed to future generations. Identifying a sustainable, vibrant use for the heritage asset is always the first step in and conservation proposals. With care and design expertise it should be possible to do this in a manner which retains the form, important detailing, and historic interest of the Old Town Hall. This may not be the most economically advantageous; the aim should be to identify the best viable use that is compatible with the fabric, setting, and character of the site. It is recommended that, as far as is reasonably possible, that the use of the Old Town Hall be to maintain unrestricted public access to the place as it is a significant part of Merthyr Tydfil’s heritage. Policy 1 Identify a sustainable, new use for the building which minimises the level of intervention required and is compatible with the fabric, setting, and character. Policy 2 The proposed use should maintain a substantive degree of public access to the Old Town Hall. The Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association are an appropriately resourced and skilled owner for The Old Town Hall and civic guardianship is an important element of the site’s history, although suitable arm-length single-building preservation trust with charitable status and community representation might also be a viable way forward. Whichever route is selected, it is important to realise that the conservation will be an onerous undertaking which will require significant project-specific staff resourcing and expertise. It is therefore recommended that the Housing Association put in place suitable full-time, qualified member(s) of staff (whether internally or externally) in order to manage the project. These individuals should have a suitable conservation qualification and experience (for example IHBC, AABC, IFA, or similar) and an understanding of listed building fabric, financial/grant funding and business plan issues. Policy 3 Put in place dedicated, suitably skilled staff resources to manage the project and thereafter the running of the Old Town Hall. The Old Town Hall is in a largely structurally secure, wind and watertight, condition although there is evidence of defects and leaks. Nevertheless there are some major concerns about water ingress and rot around window heads and parapets, which are causing dry rot. There is movement around the first floor overhanging bay windows, and concerns about conditions of the windows and lead work. These require to be attended to in the short term in order to avoid potential damage to surviving historic fabric.


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Policy 4 The following sections of the building are a priority and must be addressed in the immediate to short term: •

Water ingress and timber deterioration at window heads and parapets

Structural movement at bay windows to first floor

Remedial works to roof areas

General high level maintenance/repairs and improve ventilation to the whole place

Cover any vulnerable lead window work from vandalisation

Some of the previous repairs employ techniques which are not appropriate for historic buildings and in the medium to long term will require replacement; examples include the dense cement scratch coats internally to external walls, which will trap moisture within the building and is already failing in areas. Policy 5 As soon as practicable, and certainly within the next 5 years, remove and replace poor quality modern repairs including impervious cement based render coatings. The dilapidated and incomplete condition of the historic rooms to the West face of the building has a severe impact on the character of the historic property and should be repaired; the rooms on the West are of particular historical and architectural importance, previously serving as the principal council rooms, and should be fully restored. There may be scope for a more flexible approach to the East, where rooms are of less interest. Policy 6 Historic finishes should be restored or reinstated as part of any wider programme of repair and re-use. Any new build elements proposed for the scheme should be designed to be physically sympathetic to the building, whilst enhancing its character and use. New build elements can be designed in a number of ways but he most successful are simple structures with features that unify the existing building. 15.0

Policies for New work Policy 7 Any proposals of new build elements should be simple structures and sympathetic to the building, enhancing the existing qualities of the building as it stands. A more strategic approach is required to landscaping in and around the Old Town Hall and its entrances. Problems include the dilapidated buildings and neglect of historic properties in the high street area of Merthyr Town centre which has a significant conservation area. The Old town Hall entrance could be greatly enhanced by traffic management, slowing of traffic, improving the approach to the entrance fro pedestrians. Policy 8 Consideration should be given to upgrading of the surrounding townscape as part of a linked, overall redevelopment strategy. A Townscape Heritage Initiative would be appropriate as the building is at the heart of a large Conservation area. THI’s have been seen to be successful in other areas of significant heritage assets which now fall into areas of


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deprivation. 16.0

Access We want to create an Arts Centre in the Town Hall which everyone can enjoy. It follows therefore, that all key parts of the building must have level access, or be accessible by lift. The implications are assessed this aspiration in terms of external approach, and internal configuration, below. Austin- Smith:Lord have award winning experience from projects with similar constraints. At Leeds City Museum the rise at the front steps and the forecourt needed to be addressed with great sensitivity with a considered ramp design. At the Llanyrafon Manor Rural Heritage Centre, a disabled lift was inserted in the House as the floor through which it is breaking is the one new floor within the House. The Town Hall was originally designed to be a building which you could enter from various points, making it a thoroughly permeable building. In current times, where accessibility for all is so much better, we would like to retain that ‘permeability’ which the architect envisaged, albeit with far better provision for all users to access each entrance. At the Town Hall, the building is built into a steep hillside, with steep gradients along Newcastle Street and Library Lane. It is impractical to look to modify these gradients for visitors, nor might such modifications significantly improve internal accessibility in fact. However, each entrance should be made accessible, which would require modifications to three entrances. It is our view that where steps exist or are installed at an entrance lower than the floor that it serves, it is an essential part of fulfilling the above aim to provide access to the accommodation floor by lift. In this respect, our views differ from the design proposal submitted for planning approval. The Main Entrance in its current form is a significant impediment to this aim, with ten steps up to the main Ground Floor level. Lowering the floor level across the building at this level is impractical, and a simpler alternative would be modify the Main Entrance to provide a ramped access up to the external doorway, with a new through-car passenger lift inserted adjacent to the reconfigured stair within the main entrance vestibule. The same applies to the south west entrance from Library Lane, and the eastern entrance from Newcastle Street only, as the two remaining entrances are level with external grade. All main entrances will have sensor activated, power-assisted doors with large vision panels, or be made in glass. The reception will have induction-loops, as will each of the venues. In the case of the Town Hall, it is fortunate that the majority of publicly accessible accommodation is on a single floor (Ground Floor), meaning that with minor adjustments made at some entrances a barrier-free design can be executed bringing the building up to current standards. The proposal to level floors to the ‘venues’ within the Court House is the final aspect of the internal reconfiguration of the building. Whilst an involved and somewhat costly operation, it is necessary to carry out this alteration to ensure that all parts of the Arts Centre are completely


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accessible for all. In terms of internal layouts, legibility of the centre can be improved through using sensitive finishes and clear way-finding. Contrasting colours between walls and floors are desirable. In terms of meeting this requirement within the context of a Listed Building, it is useful to assess finishes in terms of understanding colour choices which were prevalent in the late Victorian period. Although paint technology continued to develop during the Victorian period, there was still considerably less choice of paint finish than is available today. The finishes remained basically oil-based paints and water-based distempers, with the former being used on woodwork and some plaster surfaces, and the latter almost totally restricted to plaster surfaces such as ceilings. Resinbased varnishes were also often applied to timber, or as a protective coat over painted imitations of marble or woodgrain. Signage will be clear, well positioned, and made in contrasting colours and with raised Braille surfaces, to aide visitors to the different activities on offer within the building. Signage could take many forms, and will be part of an overall wayfinding aesthetic. Although not strictly from the Victorian period, a good well-known, sans-serif typeface is Eric Gill’s Gill Sans, which is often associated with the London Underground, and might strike a nice balance if trying to portray a contemporary feel for the new insertions within a historic context.

16.1

Access to the Development

16.1.1.Public Transport The Merthyr Tydfil bus station is situated less than 300m to the south west of the Town Hall, off Castle Street. Buses depart regularly from the bus station to outlying areas and major towns and Cities including Swansea, Cardiff and Newport. The main train station is situated less than 400m to the south of the Town Hall, between High Street and Tramroad Side North. Trains depart to Cardiff Central Station every 30 minutes between the hours of 06.38 and 22.38 on Monday to Saturday, or every 2 hours between the hours of 09.38 and 21.38 on Sundays. 16.1.2.Private Transport The Town Hall is easily accessible and is situated in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil, approximately 19 miles or 30 minutes north of Cardiff and Junction 32 of the M4 motorway. Access to the Town Hall is via High Street from the north or Castle Street from the west. There are a number of public car parks serving the town centre, including Castle Car Park, Abermorlais Car Park (only available on Saturdays), Tramroad Car Park and Swan Street Car


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Park which are all within 400 metres of the Town Hall. The car parks all offer accessible parking bays. The site is within 300 m of two access points to the National Cycle Network route NCR 8 which runs through the heart of Wales, connecting Cardiff in the south with Holyhead in the north. The cycle route follows the River Taff running north to south and is predominantly traffic free and offers an excellent leisure route. 16.1.3.Car Parking on Site There is limited external space for car parking on the site. Staff and visitor parking is located in the existing car park to the south east of the building, adjacent to the workshop entrance. The car park is accessed using the shared lane between the Town Hall and the Library and will be clearly signposted from the main road. There is provision for the following car parking: 8 no. staff/visitor parking bays; 2 no. designated disabled visitor parking bays. Accessible bays are clearly visible upon entering the car park and will be clearly identified using pictogram road markings and signage. All accessible bays are designed in compliance with Approved Document Part M (2004). Car park security barriers will be used to secure the car park outside of normal working hours. During normal working hours the barrier will be open. 16.1.4.Cycle Storage on Site There is a provision for 5 no. Sheffield type cycle stands, accommodating secure storage for 10 no. cycles. Shower, locker and changing facilities have also been provided in the building. 16.1.5.Pedestrian Approach Level changes across the site are not significant therefore all new external pedestrian routes are predominantly level or have shallow gradients (less than 1:20) with firm, durable, smooth and even surface finishes. The exception to this is the approach along New Castle Street which has a steep gradient exceeding 1 in 6 in places, making it unsuitable for wheelchair access. Pedestrian footpaths around the building are generally owned and maintained by the Local Authority. All pedestrian routes are wide enough to allow wheelchair users to pass each other travelling in an opposite direction. Where pedestrian routes cross vehicular areas they have clearly defined edges with dropped kerbs and tactile warnings where appropriate. Materials with different colour are used to distinguish vehicular and pedestrian routes. External lighting along public footpaths and access routes is owned and maintained by the Local


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Authority. External lighting in the car park will be designed and maintained to meet the standards set out in BS. 5489 to ensure good access and to reduce crime risk. 16.1.6.Signage A signage strategy for the building will be developed in conjunction with the Local Authority and will take the historic interest of the building and its setting, multicultural and multi-lingual considerations into account. Symbols or pictograms will be used to supplement written information wherever possible. 16.1.7.Access for emergency services and utilities Access for emergency services and utilities to the site can be achieved along all four elevations. 16.1.8.Access Audit of the Proposals Planning Policy Wales: Technical Advice Note 12: Design states that “Consideration should be given to the volume and relative ease of pedestrian movements, including people with mobility or sensory impairments”. 16.1.9.Assessment of users of the building The Target Audience includes:

Market research will have to be under taken to establish the exact usage, expressions of interest and diverse needs. Some examples are: ‘Little Look / Small Sounds’ (ages 1-4). Creative activities for young children which will engage families with creative projects; 50+ known as the ‘Sandwich Generation’; Elderly – dealing with social isolation; There are community groups who are already formed but need spaces to grow and develop; Also, there are groups who need to refocus their skills, such as NEET; recently redundant and long term unemployed; Artist, designers, and performers who are starting out and need mentoring. Specialist spaces also available to the more established of these groups. Creative Businesses. 16.2

Assessment of the physical impediments to access and Assessment of the circulation Refer to the following ‘Current and Proposed Access Provisions to All Floors’. Once inside the building, the ground floor is mainly all at one level. Currently there is a 490 mm level rise to the gaol area (where the cells are) in the north east corner of the building and


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there is a nominal drop of 40 mm to the zone in the south east corner. For the 490 mm rise to the north east corner, a new ramp will be incorporated at 1 in 15, with a half landing at a change in direction. For the 40 mm change in level to the south east corner, this will be made up in the floor build-up. Also one currently has to step down one step to access the courtyard. The proposals ensure that the new internal courtyard area is the same level as the remainder of the ground floor. The existing corridor around the building, circumventing the courtyard, provides excellent, legible access to the whole of the ground floor. This is being fully retained. All of the basement area is at the same floor level. On the first floor, there is a change in level at the toilet block, however this is proposed for demolition. To the eastern section (the old County Court area) of the building, there is a general 610 mm level drop, with a variety of levels within the space. It is proposed that the floor level within this whole County Court area is raised to meet the level of the rest of the first floor, thereby provided a completely level first floor. Once again, the existing corridor around the building, circumventing the courtyard, provides excellent, legible access to the whole of the ground floor. This is being fully retained. The second floor level, which only exists in the north east corner of the building, is all at one level. This will remain as it is. Currently there is one lift in the north east section of the building which provides access between the ground, first and second floors. It is proposed that this lift is brought back into use. The existing shaft will determine the size of this lift. It is proposed that a new lift is provided within the front (western) end of the building. This will access basement, lower entrance, ground, first and roof void level (the latter is identified simply for storage). This will be a 16 no. person sized lift. There are three existing staircase in the building. The proposals retain the primary staircase in the entrance foyer and reconfigure the two modern staircases within the eastern section of the site. A fourth staircase is proposed in the middle of the south section of the building primarily to provide for emergency escape, however also offering accommodating provision. Essentially, therefore, the building will be as accessible as it can possibly be. All four floors will


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be either completely level, or, in the case of the ground floor, incorporate a ramp to overcome a 610 mm change in level. Two lifts will link the floors, one linking all four, the other linking three. 16.3

Accessible entrances at the Old Town Hall

16.3.1.Existing Entrances The following summarises the situation at each available entrance to the building, addressing the number of steps up to the door and the slope of the ground / pavement outside the door / steps. The slopes are calculated from survey information. The approach is taken as travelling along the pavement; the cross fall perpendicular to approach. High Street main entrance and Grand building entrance: 10 steps up from pavement to ground floor level with two intermediate landings; 1:51 approach from North, 1:29 approach from South; 1:53 cross fall on pavement. New Castle Street (near High Street): near level threshold with pavement to ground floor level; 1:8 approach from West, 1:10 approach from East; 1:12 cross fall on pavement. New Castle Street (near Tramroad Side North):

11 steps up from pavement to first floor level (level at rear is lower than level at front, High Street side) with two intermediate landings; 1:8 approach from West, 1:9 approach from East; 1:16 cross fall on pavement. Library Lane (near High Street): 8 steps up from pavement to ground floor level with one intermediate landing; 1:22 approach from West and East; 1:21 cross fall on pavement. Car park (single door): 2 steps up from pavement; 1:28 approach from from West, 1:27 approach from East; varies 1:8 to 1:12 cross fall on pavement. Car park (double door): near level threshold on exterior, single step on interior; 1:27 approach from West, no approach from East; 1:45 cross fall (perpendicular to door).


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Possible methods of access There are two possible access methods – arrival as pedestrian on pavement or by vehicle to car park adjacent to and serving only the development. Pedestrian entrances suited for accessibility are limited by slopes of the existing pavement. Only two entrances come close to meeting the criteria set out in AD M, the grand entrance on High Street and the Library Lane entrance closest to High Street. Both entrances have steps that will need to be overcome to reach the ground floor level. Pedestrians will not utilise the car park entrance because of the excessive distance from High Street, the steepness of slope and lack of resting places along the way. Arrival by vehicle to the car park with two dedicated disabled parking bays. (Parking provision is for staff or visitors by pre-arrangement; no open public parking.) Car park falls are gentle, but at least one step needs to be overcome to gain access to the ground floor via the double door entrance. There is adequate space to make both car park entrances accessible by both ramp and stair.

16.5

Possible proposals considered

16.5.1.High Street grand entrance External ramp to intermediate landing level or to ground floor level is not possible from the south as the ramp works against the slope of the ground and becomes excessively long. From the north it is possible to provide an AD M compliant ramp to the first landing level, but not the ground floor level. Due to the generous pavement in this area there is ample width for a ramp or inclined approach from the north. In addition to the external ramp the three intermediate steps would need to be “pushed” into the building to create a single flight from the first landing level to the ground floor level. New internal lift access would be provided from the first landing level to all levels of the building. Access to the lift will require creating a new door into a side wall of the exterior lobby. The existing wall is finished in glazed tile, which will be removed and reused for repairs elsewhere. The floor level in this area is dropped so it is possible to create a door well below the tile murals which exist on both sides of the entry. See L(00)210 – Proposed Ground Floor Plan and A(90)901 – Ramp Study for additional information. 16.5.2.Library Lane (near High Street) External AD M compliant ramp to the intermediate landing level or ground floor level is not


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possible. The available pavement width is approximately 2150 mm. Allowing 1500 mm for the ramp width and 50 mm to set the ramp off the building leaves 600 mm clear pavement to access the starting point of the ramp. Similarly splitting the pavement width evenly results in a ramp clear width of approximately 825 mm between curbs and a pavement width of 1075 mm. Stairs to reach the same level as the top of ramp will be the same width as the ramp. If at this entrance the ramp width could be addressed, ramping to the West works against the slope and there is not enough length along side of the building for an AD M compliant ramp. Conversely ramping to the East works with the slope and offers a possible solution to access the intermediate landing level but not the ground floor level. A new internal lift would still be required to access the ground floor and other levels of the building. In all cases the external ramp would result in a congested or compromised entrance which would not be suitable for a building of this stature. A possible alternative is to modify the building fabric by “pushing in� the external stairs to allow a level threshold to the pavement. Access to the ground floor and other internal levels would again be via a new lift or new flight of stairs inside the building. However as the existing pavement fall across the existing steps, to create a level threshold the pavement would have to be lifted and laid flat at the threshold. The pavement to the uphill side would also have to be lifted and re-laid to a steeper fall to makeup the lower level to the level threshold. Access to the lift will require creating a new door into a side wall of the existing stairwell. See current planning application drawing G2 416 (05) 212 rev F for a representative layout of this solution. This layout would have to be revised to accommodate the current client brief as manifested in the current Propose Ground Floor Plan, L(00)210.

16.5.3.Car park External AD M compliant ramp and stairs to gain access from the car park and adjacent pavement to ground floor level. This provision will be in addition to the main accessible entrance. There is currently a step up inside from the double door threshold level to the ground floor level. It will be necessary to cut a strip off the bottom of the doors and adjust any ironmongery to suit. See L(90)200 – Proposed Site Plan for additional information. 16.5.4.Mechanical Devices External mechanical devices were disregarded due to their size and obvious visual impact on


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the formality of the architecture. Mechanical lifting devices of this sort have a reputation for high maintenance requirements and reliance on them could leave the whole of the building inaccessible should there be a failure. Due to the time it takes to operate one of these devices and their limited capacity, they could quite easily become a bottle neck during peak periods. One concealed option was assessed for use at the High Street entrance, produced by Sesame Access. This product is clad to look like the existing stairs and conceals a lift beneath retracting stair treads. While this would overcome the level change, it is limited in size and not suitable for all users as it does not have full height guarding around the lift platform. Also, if used as the only solution with the existing stairs, three separate lifts would be required as there are as many flights to reach the ground floor level. Lastly, even if used with the inclined approach and pushing the middle flight into the building, there is not enough space at the top of the existing stairs to safely alight from the lift and open the main doors. These doors would have to be pushed further back into the building to accommodate this. 16.5.5.Chosen proposed The High Street grand entrance is proposed as both the main and accessible entrance. This would allow all building users to approach and access the building, the feature main staircase and stained glass windows behind as historically intended. As noted in Overcoming the Barriers: Providing Physical Access to Historic Buildings (Cadw) “… the main entrance of certain types of structure, such as grand mansions or imperial public buildings, may have been designed to be dramatic and to overwhelm the visitor on entry.” This is relevant to the MT OTH as it possesses an “…exceptionally fine imperial staircase…” as noted in the Cadw listing. This choice also provides a positive and inclusive approach to building access maintaining the use of the historic main entrance for all. It maintains the original relationship of the internal and external entry procession. The Welsh Government supports inclusive design, where Planning Policy Wales states “Good design is also inclusive design. The principles of inclusive design are that it places people at the heart of the design process, acknowledges diversity and difference, offers choice where a single design solution cannot accommodate all users, provides for flexibility in use, and, provides buildings and environments that are convenient and enjoyable to use for everyone.”

17.0

Effects on the environment

17.1

The Old Town Hall as a landmark building of immense historical value to Merthyr Tydfil has a key opportunity to demonstrate the manner in which an existing building can minimise its affect on the environment. The approach to minimising those affects will need to consider the definition of “environment” from two perspectives, the first of these being the environment of the ‘building ‘its self and secondly the environment in a wider context, as in its affect on the wider local and global community, to do this the approach will need to consider the fundamental performance characteristics of the building “as designed” and “as refurbished” to ensure stability of indoor environment and the operational and embodied energy consumption


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of the building in the refurbishment phase and subsequent operational use. To enable the project team to undertake this in a measurable way it is intended that the following process will be used to assess the wider impacts of the building and any measures introduced to improve its footprint.

17.2

Building Environment As far as possible and practicable it is the intention of the project to mimic the performance parameters of the building as designed, which in essence relies on natural ventilation, breathing structure, natural daylight and constant or controllable indoor relative humidity. This will be balanced against the need to drive down the carbon footprint and energy usage of the building in operation. The sustainability of the developed concepts and technological solutions will be assessed considering the following aspects:

₋ ₋ ₋ ₋

building performance, service life, environmental impacts and life-cycle costs.

The starting point for this task is that achieving and maintaining the desired building performance while minimising the negative impacts in terms of environmental and economic impacts are all essential elements of sustainable building. Though environmental impacts and LC costs indicate aspects of sustainability, the quantifying and comparing cannot be done


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without a common reference. When comparing different concepts and design options, performance aspects are the underlying factor. Although there is no formal requirement to assess the sustainability impact of the Town Hall it has been decided that the building must be as sustainable as possible both in works carried out and in operation, therefore the following list presents the chosen outline for the overall performance assessment of external walls in the Merthyr Town Hall project: 1)

Durability (with reference to required service life (50 / 100 a)) (considering relevant deterioration mechanisms)

2)

Need for care and maintenance

3)

Impact on energy demand for heating

4)

Impact on energy demand for cooling

5)

Impact on renewable energy use potential (use of solar panels etc.)

6)

Aesthetic quality

7)

Environmental impact of manufacture and maintenance

8)

Life cycle costs

9)

Effect on cultural heritage

10)

Structural stability

11)

Fire safety

12)

Buildability

13)

Disturbance to the tenants and to the site

14)

Impact on daylight

The basic environmental data will be collected and presented in such a way that the focus will be on the following environmental aspects:

₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋ ₋

use of renewable energy use of non-renewable energy use of renewable natural raw materials use of non-renewable natural raw materials green house gas emissions wastes (problem wastes, other wastes).


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Carbon footprint assessed on life cycle bases in terms of green house gases will be the main environmental assessment criteria, and a bespoke tool created by the BRE will be used to measure the LCA impact of any measures undertaken, created for the Susref project which is the Sustainable Refurbishment Project funded under the FP7 EU call.


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When assessing the total green house gases the factors presented in IPCC 4th Assessment Report1, Chapter 2 and Table 2.14 (Lifetimes, radiative efficiencies and direct (except for CH4) Global Warming Potentials relative to CO2) will be used. According to this Table the global warming potentials for 100 years' time horizon for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are 1, 25 and 298 in the corresponding order. To ensure that the performance and stability of the wall of the Town Hall is not compromised by any improvement it will be necessary to understand the current relative humidity, porosity of the structure, this will ensure that any risk for interstitial condensation, mould growth or other factor is considered in the improvement options. to do this the BRE has undertaken steady state modelling of the current wall constructions using WUFI 2d. In the calculation of heat transport, WUFI takes into account:

₋ ₋ ₋ ₋

thermal conduction enthalpy flows through moisture movement with phase change short-wave solar radiation night-time long-wave radiation cooling (optional, and with TRY or DAT weather data only).

Convective heat transport by air flows has been disregarded, since it is usually difficult to quantify. The vapour transport mechanisms included in WUFI are:

₋ ₋

vapour diffusion solution diffusion

Again, convective vapour transport by air flows has been ignored. The liquid transport mechanisms taken into account are:

₋ ₋

1

capillary conduction surface diffusion.

http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter2.pdf


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Figure 1 – whole wall modelling and internal transfer of moisture through the fabric Merthyr Town Hall.

The image below demonstrates the modelling which has been undertaken by the BRE to ascertain the current state of the walls after on site readings were taken for measurement purposes.


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On completion of the base line modelling a range of insulation materials will be assessed for their impact on the breath ability and performance of the external walls, and using the criteria set out in the LCA and Sustainability Assessment the most appropriate material will be selected for the works. 17.4

Environmental Impact The following equation and methodology will be used to calculate the impact on the environment for any replacement heat and or power systems to demonstrate the considerations undertaken by the design team in their final selection, this will be undertaken in conjunction by the BRE with the M&E Consultants.

Felectricity = Ee / (Ee + Eh) * F

Fheat = Eh/ (Ee + Eh) * F

Fuels and emissions for electricity

Losses

Electricity

Fuels and emissions for heat Heat

Figure 3. Allocation procedure in heat and power co-generation. Note: Ee = produced power, Eh = produced heat, F = energy from fuel type, Fe= fuels for electricity production and, Fh fuels for heat production. In addition at this stage the consideration of any new forms of heat and power, lighting, or renewable technologies will be evaluated using the Susref tool and the parameters set out in the LCA process, this will ensure that the balance of improved performance will be a measured approach of all of the three pillars of sustainability (Environmental, Social and Financial). The principles of Whole Life Costing will be used to assess the suitability of any measure to be considered as discussed in the section of this report which looks at maintaining any Long term benefit.


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18.1

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Maintenance

Tell us what you need to do to maintain the heritage, who will do it, when and what resources are needed.

Tell us what you need to do to maintain any new work funded by HLF including new facilities, new buildings or new interpretation material, who will do it, when and with what resources.

Future Management & Maintenance of the Old Town Hall to ensure maintenance of the benefits for the long term MTHA believes that any proposals for the refurbishment it is essential that a framework for ensuring long term benefits its in place.. For this to take place there must be a well measured and robust maintenance plan. As part of this process it is vital that any works undertaken are fully assessed using Whole Life Costing principles to ensure that the full impact of any decisions made is fully understood and appreciated.

18.2

Whole Life Costing (WLC) WLC is the estimation of the monetary costs for the construction, operation, maintenance and repair (and sometimes demolition) of a built asset over a chosen study period. The purpose of a WLC model is to improve the decisions being made by practitioners. Forecasts may be used to improve design, specification and through life maintenance and operation of an asset which will have various economic benefits. It may be applied to either new designs or to existing structures, enabling residual life and value to be estimated. As various activities take place at different times to maintain the asset the incremental costs have to be converted to present day value using a discounted cash flow technique. WLC relies on predicting when elements of the asset will deteriorate to a condition at which intervention is needed and what the discounted cost will be for each activity. WLC calculations depend on numerous assumptions, all of which are subject to a degree of uncertainty. Whole Life Costing is defined in the International Standard ISO 15686 as: “economic assessment considering all agreed projected significant and relevant cost flows over a period of analysis expressed in monetary value. The projected costs are those needed to achieve defined levels of performance, including reliability, safety and availability”. Although this definition captures a number of the essential issues in whole life costing it is not particularly easy as an introduction, and it may be easier to consider the Crisp definition which is: “the systematic consideration of all relevant costs and revenues associated with the ownership of an asset”. Whole Life Costing (WLC) is a tool, to assist in making decisions between different options with different cash flows over a period of time. In this respect it is a form of investment analysis.


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Typical decisions informed by WLC analysis include: a) choices between alternative components, all of which have acceptable performance (component level WLC analysis); b) choices between alternative designs for the whole, or part, of a constructed asset (assembly or whole asset level WLC analysis); c) evaluation of different investment scenarios (e.g. to adapt and redevelop an existing facility, or to provide a totally new facility); d) estimation of future costs for budgets or the evaluation of the acceptability of an investment on the basis of cost of ownership; e) comparison and/or benchmarking analysis of previous investment decisions which may be at the level of individual cost headings (e.g. energy costs, cleaning costs) or at a strategic level (e.g. open plan versus cellular office accommodation). Such decisions, especially those placed in a strategic (organisational) framework, can create added value for the asset and the operations that occur within as maintenance is being performed in the most cost effective manner. Whole life costing is relevant when considering whole estates, individual buildings or structures and when comparing alternative investment scenarios such as:

₋ ₋

Whether to accept or reject a project

Optimise component selection, for example choosing between alternative specifications (such as between timber and metal windows).

Optimise capital investment, for example between alternative designs framed and load-bearing structures

(such as between

It is often, but not necessarily the case, that this technique can help identify investment opportunities that promote increased capital investment in order to lowers future operating costs and increase the benefits generated from the investment. For a built asset the potential savings may be significant given that for a built asset the initial purchase price may only be a small proportion of ongoing costs, such as maintenance, repair and energy costs for a building. There fore it is intended that a fully evaluated process for new works will be used bearing in mind the principles of WLC to minimise future maintenance costs, and that all existing features will be assessed for maintenance cycles in the future. The plan will identify all areas of potential works, considering the implications of ;-

₋ ₋ ₋

Planned maintenance Cyclical maintenance Routine maintenance


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₋ The plan will identify all key components and the creation of a building log book will ensure that all cyclical maintenance and surveys are taken at the appropriate time. 19.0

Management The management of the building at Merthyr Tydfil is developed in two ways, firstly the use of the building is such that the people who are both managing and using the building are of an appropriate use class in order that the building is used and kept as a sustainable business for the foreseeable future. And secondly the building is being design and materials specified that will ensure the heritage is preserved and allows for the normal wear and tear associated with the planned future uses of the building. The building is not being promoted as a ‘visitor attraction’, this will be a public building used for socializing, education, creative industries and art activities. Visitors will access and experience the ‘Old Town hall’ in a number of different ways, directly and indirectly, which will require clear management

Indirectly:

₋ ₋

Through taking up tenancy positions within the Old town Hall Participating in activities provided by tenants.

Each lease issued to a tenant will contain a clause which will ensure that they have to observe certain behaviors to guarantee heritage is respected and not damaged.

Directly:

Through participating in organized heritage activities

Each activity will be designed to develop understanding and respect for the ‘Old Town Hall’ as a vital part of the heritage of Merthyr Tydfil. Codes of behavior when working within the building will be an integral part of the ‘Old Town Hall’ experience.

The visitor activities will inevitably have an effect on the heritage asset over the years but the way that the team are looking at lifetime costs and robustness is balancing that for a good long term maintenance strategy. There should be no exceptional adverse impact on the building / heritage over and above normal wear and tear associated with a public building of this type. The design team are ensuring that materials specified, and the design, address the future use and management and maintenance of the building to ensure the heritage is preserved. This is functional building which was designed over 115 years ago in a robust way. The design team will ensure that not only will it be returned to its former glory but that the restoration work will once again make it robust and reinforce longevity.


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The staff, volunteers will have the appropriate skills through appropriate recruitment and selection – development of job and persons specifications; advertisement and selection documentation; through interview and practical assessment and by taking up references and reviewing examples of work. Comprehensive education and training programmes will be developed at appropriate diverse levels to inform and enhance the heritage knowledge and skills of volunteers, and staff involved with the ‘Old Town Hall’. The potential heritage conflict can be identified as one of the prospective long term leases to Merthyr Tydfil College. A balance will need to be in place to ensure that the spaces let to the college maintain a heritage focus whilst also providing an appropriate learning environment. Formal meetings are taking place between the design team and Merthyr Tydfil College to ensure this is achieved. A good example of this is the use of the old cells developed in to editing booths. To embed heritage preservation, further clauses will be included in the lease agreement to ensure the spaces are used and respected in an appropriate way. The way that the Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association will manage and maintain the building in the foreseeable future is with a very carefully developed strategy and plan. The association has developed a 30 year management and maintenance plan for this building incorporating sustainability measures and whole life costing principles. This will be reviewed and evaluated yearly to ensure targets identified in the plans are met and any new concerns included and addressed. Managing information about your heritage The decisions made to restore and manage the building are from the detailed information about the heritage gleaned through the research that has already been completed into the original plans, development brief, materials that informed the development of the building when it was first built. Through the research we have uncovered detailed minutes from council meetings held with the architect 115 years ago. These notes discuss development of design and construction of the ‘Old Town Hall’. This research coupled with the expertise of appointed structural engineer ensures that decisions made are informed, accurate and sympathetic. The research about the buildings has been undertaken by Jane Barnes, a consultant employed for this purpose; in partnership with Merthyr Tydfil Librarian, Carolyn Jacobs and AustinSmith:Lord Architects and Conservation Architects. This research is then available to inform the design process and management plans. The consultant and Austin-Smith:Lord have worked extensively with Carolyn Jacobs, Merthyr Tydfil Librarian, gathering information through archived newspapers; photographs; council minutes from 115 years ago and also through interacting with the public not only to inform but to present opportunity for the community to share their memories of the ‘Old Town Hall’. The consultant has also gathered further information from the Masonic Museum in London; Doulton; and Craven Dunnill and Jackfield with regards to tiles and Abergavenny Library in addition to


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gathering information from the community of Merthyr Tydfil. The storage of heritage information is important for future generations to ensure the research and management principles are established and brought forward into future decision making. The CMP and other management documents are to be stored in electronic format, in fact work undertaken by MTHA is being converted to electronic documents by MTHA for the Library. Heritage information will be stored in a number of ways:

Electronically in themes, aimed at different levels from ranging from formal education incorporating curriculum demands for National Curriculum and Welsh Baccalaureate to informal research needs.

Pertinent hard copies of information will be available at an information research point to facilitate further knowledge acquisition.

Images and memorabilia will be displayed at relevant points, in a secure manner, throughout the building and heritage space, again to enhance the heritage experience.

Collections of memories from the community will be in audio, video and written formats, displayed through extended labeling and also captured electronically.

Electronically the screens will be interactive enabling the participant to select the theme they wish to explore further.

Space is of a premium at the ‘Old Town Hall’, exhibits will be carefully themed on a rotational programme to ensure the heritage is kept fresh, avoiding information saturation.

To ensure volunteers, staff and contractors have access to information about the heritage, the raft of information that has been created for the design and submission process can be passed on to staff and users through induction and training. We will inform the public, visitors and others about our heritage and how we are looking after it, through meetings, events and press releases. There is a long term outreach strategy to continue this work, which is documented in a programme which has been published, outlining the consultation and information events that have been and will continue to take place. This will be achieved in a number of different ways in both outreach and in-house capacity, commencing prior to the Old Town Hall being completed:

Outreach: using heritage themes specific to the Old Town Hall. Targeting groups in unconventional places, such as Supermarkets, Town Centre and established groups, Older Peoples forum, Town Centre Partnership, Youth Groups; and schools. These session will be interactive in three ways:

₋ ₋ ₋

Disseminating information And also gathering information/ memories. The delivery of heritage within formal education establishments such as schools will link in with curriculum delivery with the National Curriculum and Welsh Baccalaureate.


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Web site: development will inform people remotely about the heritage of the Old Town Hall, engaging through interaction. This will also have information which will be updated on the development of the Old Town Hall and information about the renovations of the building.

₋ ₋ ₋

In- House: Heritage activities will take place in a number of different formats:

2hr heritage workshops working with identified heritage themes such as ‘secrets symbolism in architecture’.

4hr heritage workshop and studio session where heritage themes are explored further in a studio situation.

Heritage Symposiums.

Through information and interpretation panels Heritage trail through the building either with audio tour or interactive sessions identifying the main features.


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Activities plan attached below.

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Adoption and review The Conservation management plan was issued in draft for comment and inclusion of any comment or correction and the final draft was adopted on ( date ) by Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association

21.0

Bibliography Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre Conservation Area Character Appraisal June 2009

A. N. DAVIES Head of Town Planning

Localhistories.org A brief history of Wales. Life in the 19th Century.

Tim Lambert Tim Lambert

People and Protest; Wales 1815–1880.

Ieuan Gwynedd Jones


Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd (Projects Division) QUALITY CONTROL Report Title: Merthyr Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil: archaeological building survey Report Date: November 2012 Report Number: 2012/061

Report prepared by:

Martin Tuck

Position:

Project Officer

Date:

08/11/12

Illustrations prepared by:

Paul Jones

Position:

Senior Illustrator

Date:

08/11/12

Illustrations checked and authorised by: Paul Jones Position: Date:

Senior Illustrator

08/11/12

Report checked by:

Rob Dunning

Position:

Project Officer

Date:

08/11/12

Report checked and authorised by: Richard Lewis Position: Date:

Head of Projects

08/11/12

As part of our desire to provide a quality service we would welcome any comments you may wish to make on the content or presentation of this report.

Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd. Heathfield House, Heathfield, Swansea, SA1 6LE Tel. 01792 655208; Fax. 01792 474469 Registered Charity no. 505609 Web: www.ggat.org.uk e-mail: projects@ggat.org.uk

Profile for The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd

Merthyr Tydfil Town Hall Building Survey  

GGAT Projects were commissioned by Austin-Smith:Lord LLP to undertake a Level 3 Building Survey of Merthyr Tydfil Old Town Hall, a Grade II*...

Merthyr Tydfil Town Hall Building Survey  

GGAT Projects were commissioned by Austin-Smith:Lord LLP to undertake a Level 3 Building Survey of Merthyr Tydfil Old Town Hall, a Grade II*...

Profile for ggat
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