Mayor’s Parlour

Note that this page is also on the Planning section, as it involves work on this attraction!

24 January 2020 – They’ve Started!

I was surprised, and very pleased, to see that they have finally begun this important restoration.

Click for a larger image

They certainly need a head for heights! See the short gallery below.

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An Update – April 2019

I had forgotten about this until a few weeks ago, when I went to have a look. It seems that nothing has changed, and I have been unable to find the planning application or any newspaper article. Anyway, at least the bird enjoys perching on it!

Click for a larger version

The Background

Also known as the Old Town Hall, it was known even before that as the Market Hall. The Town Hall covered most of what is now Saxon Square, and all of the Council offices were there, until they were relocated to Bridge Street in 1980. All except the Mayor’s Parlour was demolished – the buildings actually stretched as far as the Cross in Saxon Square (below).

Saxon Square, Christchurch - Cross & Mayor's Parlour

In each case click on the picture for a larger version.

On January 7th 2018 The Bournemouth Echo reported that the cupola and weather vane are to be replaced. It had last been replaced in 1988, but though the present structure is safe, there has been water ingress. The new cupola will be built off-site and then the High Street will be closed for a day, to enable a crane to be used to swap it with the old one.

Christchurch - the deteriorating cupola

This building is a replica of the Town Hall of 1756, which was further down the High Street,  at the junction near The Priory. Built in 1859, the Mayor’s Parlour continues to be an important part of the High Street. It started as a market cross, to which a roof was later added to keep firefighting equipment – thatch rakes, brooms and buckets! Then an upstairs was added, to give protection to some of the stalls and provide a civic meeting room. The stairs to the Mayor’s Parlour (first floor) are enclosed here, and the area beneath was known as the blind house, as it had no windows. The small room served as a short-term gaol for disruptive and noisy drunks!

Processions begin there – the Councillors and Mayor dress in their processional robes inside. As you can see below, the building is even now a distinctive feature of the High Street.

Christchurch Market Day - Mayor's Parlour

February 2018

It is expected that this, on top of the Grade II listed building, will receive the go-ahead. None of the historical fabric will be damaged. For the relevant Echo article click the picture.

Mayor's Parlour Christchurch
The Cupola (left) from Saxon Square.
Click the picture for the Echo article

A Long Look Back – February 2018

Christchurch cupola
Workmen watch as the roof lifts off the cupola on the top of Christchurch Town Hall. The roof was removed so that the rotted supporting timbers could be replaced, September 1988. No larger version of this picture.