Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bryan Browning II Bourne Town Hall

It's a long time, (nearly two years) since my last post on that very interesting provincial Georgian architect Bryan Browning.  Here is the remarkable town hall he designed in Bourne, dating from 1821, from the very end of the Georgian tradition.  Alas it's setting wich is unduly scruffy, does it no favours.  However, as you can see, it is a powerful composition with a Baroque feeling of movement.  Like the 'House of Correction' in Folkingham the influences are the English Baroque of Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor and (rather French) Neo-classicism.  And like the House of Correction it is a nationally important building.  A very sophisticated, and original, effort all round.  The masonry is excellent. Originally the ground floor was open on both sides - the present window and door in the left hand arch date, I think, from the 1980s - and there was a cupola behind the pediment, but this burnt down in the 1920s and was not replaced.  On the first floor was the council chamber and the magistrates court.  Presently the building is unoccupied and its future uncertain.

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