1867 – New Public buildings at Penzance, Cornwall

Architect: John Matthews


According to Polsue, Joseph. A complete parochial history of the county of Cornwall; William Lake, Truro & John Camden Hotten, London: 1867–72., “The chief attractive feature of Penzance, and the just pride of its polished inhabitants, are the S. John’s Public Buildings; these were erected in 1867-8, from the designs of Mr. John Matthews, the borough surveyor, and at a cost of about £12000. This elegant structure, built in the Italian style, comprises a main body and side wings; to the former, which embodies the chief entrance, there is access by a noble flight of granite steps. The frontage is wholly built of fine granite ashlar of the best description, and protected by handsome and substantial iron railing. The internal arrangement is admirably adapted for the several purposes for which the buildings were intended;—S. John’s Hall, for general purposes; a Guildhall; a County Court hall; local Board-room; lecture and music hall; a Masonic hall; a natural history Museum; the public Library, which comprises about 12000 volumes; news room; chess club; Jury and Council rooms; and police and other offices. The west wing is appropriated to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, its museum, laboratories, and library.”

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