County Council Meeting, Stafford,

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Description:The County Buildings opened in Martin Street on 29 October 1895. Previously councillors had used the facilities in the Borough Hall and the Shire Hall.

A competition was organised to find an architect, in which the Council requested 'good, thoroughly businesslike offices'. The winning design was by Henry Thomas Hare, who was awarded £150. The building itself was constructed by Henry Lovatt of Wolverhampton and took two years to build.

In the Council Chamber semi-circular seating was designed to avoid party conflict, and press reporters were granted a table in the centre, so they could better hear the proceedings. The press table itself was presented by the 3rd Lord Harrowby, the first Council Chairman. The original layout is retained to this day.

The Council Chamber also featured an early air conditioning system, still in working order. The domed roof was designed for acoustics and ventilation.

Around the chamber are four relief panels by Frederick Schenck. These depict the main Staffordshire industries of the time - pottery, ironwork, mining and agriculture.

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Donor ref:SAMS Acc. No., P99.6.64, img: 1618 (16/2068)

Source: Staffordshire Arts & Museum Service

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