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Fancy a bargain? Council to sell off contents of historic town hall before it’s sold

PUBLISHED: 19:02 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 20:07 12 March 2020

Sheringham deputy mayor Liz Withington in the council chamber. The contents of the historic town hall are up for grabs ahead of the building going on the market. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham deputy mayor Liz Withington in the council chamber. The contents of the historic town hall are up for grabs ahead of the building going on the market. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Archant

Bargain hunters in a seaside town will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a piece of history when the contents of their landmark town hall go up for grabs ahead of the sale of the historic building.

Sheringham's historic town hall, which is now on the market. Pic: ARCHANTSheringham's historic town hall, which is now on the market. Pic: ARCHANT

Built in 1901, Sheringham town hall shut its doors to the public last year when, following public consultation, councillors agreed to relocate to the town community centre in order to cut costs and improve accessibility.

Deputy mayor Liz Withington, who has been sorting through letters and documents dating back decades, said Sheringham 'heirlooms' previously kept in the building, including 1940s and 1950s paintings and advertising posters by renowned local artist Tom Armes, had been donated to Sheringham Museum, which would also be digitising a photographic record of town councillors.

One of the Tom Armes paintings of Sheringham seafront donated to Sheringham Museum by the town council.
Photo: contributedOne of the Tom Armes paintings of Sheringham seafront donated to Sheringham Museum by the town council. Photo: contributed

'Looking through the old letters, it's interesting that people were writing to the council about the same issues as they are today,' Mrs Withington said.

'It's the state of the public toilets, anti-social driving, and even 'too many illuminated lights' at the Wimpy bar.

Pictured siting at the chairman's platform in 1998 during the signing of the twinning charter are then Sheringham town council chairman Mac McGinn and Otterndorf burgermeister Hermann Gerken. The platform is to be sold, along with other items from the council chamber.
Photo: Archant LibraryPictured siting at the chairman's platform in 1998 during the signing of the twinning charter are then Sheringham town council chairman Mac McGinn and Otterndorf burgermeister Hermann Gerken. The platform is to be sold, along with other items from the council chamber. Photo: Archant Library

'I think it's a reflection that it's the small things that people care about as that is what impacts on their lives,' she added.

'And that's what makes the town council so important as, because we are based in the community, we can make sure these issues are addressed, even if we are not responsible for them.'

A 1950s British Railways poster advertising Sheringham created by local artist Tom Armes. The original artwork has been donated to Sheringham museum by the town council.
Photo: contributedA 1950s British Railways poster advertising Sheringham created by local artist Tom Armes. The original artwork has been donated to Sheringham museum by the town council. Photo: contributed

Members of the public will have a chance to view, and buy, the contents of the town hall on March 28 between 10am and 2pm, with items on offer ranging from two sets of ornately carved councillors' oak chairs, a pair of hat stands, two console tables, an impressive chairman's platform, and a huge, 16-seater horseshoe-shaped councillors' conference table with carved legs.

'We wanted local people to have first refusal so, as long as it is within the valuation, we won't refuse any reasonable offer,' Mrs Withington said.

The four-storey building, which comprises a top floor attic; a first floor with council chamber, toilet and two offices; a ground floor with four offices and a kitchen, and a basement, will go on sale in a few weeks' time.

Town mayor Madeleine Ashcroft said: 'It is the end of an era, but it's also the beginning of a new style of council, with a much more accessible, modern, and efficient way of working.'

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