Friday, 22 October 2010

Yarm Town Hall - 300th Anniversary

© Ian Britton - - Creative Commons Licence

The Town Hall in the middle of Yarm High Street was erected in 1710 by the Lord of the Manor as a Court House in place of a ruinous Tollbooth. Later used by local magistrates for petty sessions it is now the meeting place of the parish council.

The Dutch style brick building is square in plan and two stories high, with a pyramidical, red-tiled roof surmounted by a wooden clock-and-bell turret covered by a leaded cupola carrying a weather vane.

Originally it had two open arches on each side of the ground floor and stairs leading to the room above, now used by the parish council. Two arches were bricked up in 1888 when a room was made to house the town weighing machine.

On the south face marked stones show the heights reached by the floods of 1771 and 1881; plaques commemorate the local members of the first railway committee and the Yarm men in the Boer War.

Bottom plague shows height of floods

To commemorate the anniversary pictures of historic Yarm have been added to the ‘alcoves’ and end walls of the building. These pictures include Yarm Fair from earlier years, True Lovers Walk and the railway viaduct. On the north side the centre of the picture is hidden by a letter box. Yorkshire’s white rose flag flutters from the pole at the right even although strictly the town is not in Yorkshire any more.

The alarum bell which once hung above the clock used to be rung to warn of fires and floods. Dated 1690 it is inscribed:

"Si Deus pro nobis ouis contra nos." (If God is for Us, who is against us?)


Rachel said...

V. interesting article. It's such a beautiful old building (older than the country I now live in!!), and your photos do it justice. I don't remember the flag though--has it always been there?

Bob Scotney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Scotney said...

The White Rose flag sort of crept up on me; I believe it's been there a few weeks. I'll have to find out when and why it's suddenly gone up.
When we first came to Yarm in the 1970s the locals used to say, "You're in Yorkshire now lad. None of this Teesside or Cleveland rubbish. It's Yorkshire and don't you forget it."

Bob Scotney said...

I've checked out the idea behind the White Rose flag.

Before they started mucking about with boundary changes the border between Yorkshire and Durham was the River Tees through Yarm. The local council have asked whether they can go back to being in Yorkshire - apparently the answer's 'no.'
It had become practice to fly the Union Jack from the Town Hall flag post. But flying this every day defeats the purpose of it being flown on special occasions (Queen's Birthday, Remembrance Day etc) In addition if the Queen every comes to Yarm she would be met by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire; on the north side of the river it would be the Lord Lieutenant of Durham. This has lead to the decision to fly the White Rose of Yorkshire; with The Union Jack only on those special occasions.