Visit to Settle Town Hall and talk on Conscientious Objectors

Jeremy Taylor and John Asher —' 13 December 2015
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

A large group met at Settle Town Hall to be shown around the premises by the new owner Jeremy Taylor. The building has needed much renovation work and is not yet finished. So far new shops have been created at ground and cellar levels, the middle floor is being occupied by new businesses and the top floor is a set of flats in progress of modernization.

Jeremy began by relating some of the history of the building which dates from 1832. He then spoke of the necessary renovation work. The old inefficient central heating system with its basement boiler and large iron pipes embedded in the walls has been removed and new boilers installed on each floor. Insulation has been added with secondary double glazing to preserve outwards appearance, and decorative plasterwork has been renewed sensitively. The bill for heating has been greatly reduced. Modern LED lighting with time-delay switches contributes to energy saving. The old council chamber has been reduced in size; the new room at one end has large ceiling air vents, possibly meant for gentlemen’s smoke removal in days gone by! The Council Chairman’s chair has been saved and is kept in the entrance lobby. The large old map of the Settle Rural District Council area is now in safe keeping with the North Yorkshire County Record Office in Northallerton.

The cellar level is now used for shops and showrooms. At one corner of the building water was found to be coming through the walls, and it was discovered that an old slate-lined drainage system had been upset by works done in the past. New drains have been fitted to take water to the original central sump in the room. The water level in this sump seemed to be little affected by attempts to pump water out, so it is presumed that water is flowing along some underground system. The rubble walls have been insulated, water-proofed and plastered.

At ground level it is seen that the new dress shop on the south side is floored with stone slabs, two of which are numbered (to mark out stall positions?). Originally this shop frontage was open as an arcade up a set of steps; this can just be seen on one old photograph.

Restoration of the clock is on the agenda which will be a fitting finale to the restoration project.

After thanking Jeremy for a most interesting and informative visit we met in the Friends Meeting House to hear John Asher speak about Settle conscientious objectors, and their positive contributions during World War I. Finally, mince pies and drinks to round off a most satisfactory event.