There will be an opportunity to step behind the distinctive blue doors and take a look around the unique heritage listed buildings of The Old Shire Hall on Warwick’s Northgate Street this Sunday (16th September).
The Grade I listed The Great Hall and Grade II listed Judges’ House will be open between 10am and 3pm for one day only on Sunday 16th, as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days.
Visitors will be able to take a look around the spectacular The Great Hall, with its stone columns, beautiful ceiling and period chandeliers; the Regency decorated Judges’ House with its historical portrait collection; and the octagonal courtrooms, in use by Her Majesty’s Court Service until 2010.
This is the first time that The Old Shire Hall has been open to the public as part of the Heritage Open Days events.
The Old Shire Hall’s history dates back to the 15th century when it was home to Warwick Assizes.
Following the Great Fire of Warwick, which tore through the town in 1694, The Old Shire Hall was completely rebuilt in the 1750s to include a Gaol and Military Barracks.
Judges’ House was built between 1814 and 1816, and includes the Regency decorated Judges’ Dining Room, the Judges’ Drawing Room, entered via a sweeping staircase, and the High Sheriff’s Room.
The two octagonal courtrooms, with their elaborately decorated high-domed ceilings and Corinthian columns, served as Crown and County courts following the Court Act of 1971, with Crown court sessions held there as recently as 2010.
Tiered seating surrounds the canopied judge’s chair which still displays the hook upon which the black cap, traditionally worn when passing the death sentence, would hang.
The Old Shire Hall and Judges’ House are now available for use for weddings, business conferences, meetings, fine dining, ceremonies and other events.
Visitors can turn up on the day between 10am and 3pm on Sunday 16th September.
The Heritage Open Days event in Warwick district is part of England’s biggest and best heritage festival, with 50 venues across the district taking part.
For more information on other venues open this weekend, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk or pick up a guide from Warwick Visitor Centre.