Order in the Court
After extensive renovation including wood floor restoration, the Victorian era court room in Monmouthshire, situated in Usk Sessions House, has been reopened to the public. The court room, which cost £200,000 to restore to its former lustre, will be used as a base for the local council and will also be available to be licensed out as a venue in which to hold wedding ceremonies. It took 12 years to raise enough money – through grants and various fundraising activities – to have the court room restored to its old self after having been purchased by Usk Town Council from Monmouthshire Town Council back in 1998.
The Sessions House, which was the brainchild of Victorian designer Thomas Wyatt, opened in 1877 and served as a court room until its closure over a century later in 1995. Aside from electric lighting, the new, restored court house is essentially exactly the same as it was when it first opened in the Victorian era, with woodwork polished and restored and extensive work carried out on wood floor repairs.
“The walls of the court room were painted cream, we researched how the court room would have looked in Victorian times and the walls have now been repainted a beautiful rich shade of red” says the manager of the renovation project, Jenny Mee, who is also the Town Clerk. “It compliments the portraits of the former Quarter Sessions judges which hang on the walls.”
The Sessions House is thought to be one of only a very few Victorian era court rooms still existing in the United Kingdom.