Major cracks exposed

Steel props
Steel props support the dropped wall until permanent supports are put in place

The stripping back has also exposed a structural problem which, had it not been discovered now, could have been an issue at some time in the future. Initial plans were to conserve the original lathe and plaster ceiling in the ground floor but its poor condition made its removal necessary. On taking down the ceiling however, the contractor has uncovered four cracked beams.

The cracking appears to have occurred quite some time ago and was caused by the weight of the dividing wall between the main council chamber and committee room upstairs.

Bridport Town Council Surveyor, Daryl Chambers said, “When you are working on a two hundred year old Grade 1 building like the Town Hall it is very always possible that you will come across things that you did not expect to find. By sympathetically refurbishing and modernising this important building, it is pleasing that we have uncovered this issue and are able to put it right as part of the project. Whilst there was no immediate danger, it is certainly something that at some time in the future may have been a problem but we now have an opportunity to put it right. As with all the work on the building, it is being done in consultation with our structural engineers and English Heritage.””