Peterborough Council Chamber

Council Chamber on the day what we now call Peterborough Town Hall was opened. This photo was taken from the Spectators Gallery which is currently closed. Elected councillors are (I think) sitting at the long tables with some very strange headwear at rest on them. None of them is female, although there are a few women sitting behind them, one with a dark cloche hat and most of the others sporting dark berets. Headwear is not flashy. The gallery (behind the photographer) is probably full to bursting. Guests and public are seated around the councillors very tightly, leaving “the floor” clear. Slender tables are unencumbered with lights and mics. The room is shown at its best: lit by daylight. The Mayor’s parlour is packed with what could be a choir in uniform (door to the right) and so is the balcony of the foyer (door to the left). The principal uniform is the man’s suit, worn with greater or less formality. One or two of the men may be wearing gowns and one on the left side may be wearing a chain of office. High table is court like. The chair’s chair is a proper throne and whoever sat on it would have a commanding view of the entire room, including the whole of the Spectators Gallery. (The current layout – I’m not sure when or why the room was turned around –  is not at all as clever from the point of view of the chair.) Still familiar today: the person in clerical garb. The architecture is happily and joyfully calling on medieval precedent within a confident classically formatted & commercially alive building (rented shops were built below this room, the income to the council intended to keep rates as low as possible). This photo is on public display in Peterborough Town Hall.