The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History
EVELEGH GUILDHALL, 1800
The earliest description  of the Guildhall erected to the designs of Mr Evelegh (or Eveleigh), a discharged Borough Surveyor from Bath in Somerset , was published in 1812:
The reason why the Corporation came in for such criticism was that the new Guildhall was erected on the site of the Jacobean Guildhall, and the shape of the triangular site was not really suitable for such a prestigious building. Presumably the authors were inferring that if a different, larger site had been selected by the Corporation then Mr Evelegh just might have come up with a better design.
Following the demolition of the Jacobean Guildhall, the foundation stone of the new one was laid on May 8th 1799 and the Guildhall was opened the following year. 
Mr Evelegh's triangular-shaped Guildhall,
Built at a cost of £7,000, it was constructed mainly of limestone but with granite pinnacles taken from the previous building. Beneath the illuminated clock was the main entrance which led up to the great hall. On either side of the doorway were the police offices and cells. The latter were said to be totally inadequate by 1810 although it was to be forty years before they were replaced by the new Borough Prison. The building also included the Council Chamber, the Town Clerk's office, a library, the magistrate's room and waiting rooms for witnesses.
A Mr Isable was the mason responsible for the construction work, while others in the team were Mr Alger, painter and glazier, and Mr Drew, the carpenter. The only accident during the construction was to Mr Drew's son, who fell from the roof and broke his thigh. [2 ?]
The building was very quickly condemned as: 'inconvenient as a guildhall, unsuited as a mayoralty house, inadequate as a prison and absurd as a market'. 
In the 1860s the Borough's scarlet fire engine could be seen in the open archway at the eastern end of the building. It had a steam pump, brass boiler and a copper funnel. The horses stood close by with their harnesses suspended above them so they could be lowered quickly into position. 
A painting of King William IV in the uniform of Lord High Admiral adorned the Council Chamber. It had been purchased privately by the Mayor, Mr J Burnell, and at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday May 2nd, he presented it to the Council specifically for the Council Chamber. 
The clock on the Guildhall was given a new face in March 1849. It had previously only shown the hour but the new face had three hands - hour, minute and "railway time" and it could read at night time as well so it was presumably illuminated. 
When the present Guildhall was opened in 1873, this building lay idle until 1876, when it was opened as the new Free Library and Reading Rooms. The conversion was carried out by Mr Robert Stanlake, a Plymouth builder .
From 1910 onwards, when the present Library building at Drake Circus was opened, the old Guildhall was used by the City Treasury and Stores Officer. Consequently, when it was bombed during the raids of 1941 the City lost all its stores records and Rate Valuation lists.
By February 1945 the building had been demolished, 146 years after it had been built.
|© Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK|
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