Guildhall architect: ‘The idea of it being lost makes me shudder’

Local architect Neil Taylor opens the Guildhall on 7th July 1966 with Sir Roger Stevens, Chair of Yorkshire and Humberside Economic Planning Council
Local architect Neil Taylor opens the Guildhall on 7th July 1966 with Sir Roger Stevens, Chair of Yorkshire and Humberside Economic Planning Council

THE GAINSBOROUGH architect who designed the former Guildhall has spoken of his sadness at the decision to knock it down.

Neil Taylor, 83, worked for local firm Fisher, Hollingsworth and Partners when they were commissioned to design the building.

It was to be the civic offices of Gainsborough Urban District Council, which later formed West Lindsey District Council, and accommodated all council services.

The council took out a loan for £150,000 to complete the project.

Mr Taylor has fond memories of working on the project, and of the prestigious opening ceremony on 7th July 1966.

“Obviously I was honoured to be asked to do it,” said Mr Taylor, who lives in Lea.

“I was given a very good brief and told that it had to be a building worthy of the town. I and my colleagues sat down and did just that.”

“I’m proud of the building as it stands. But the idea of it being lost makes me shudder because of the loss to the town of a significant piece of civic architecture.”

English Heritage were asked by WLDC to survey the Guildhall to decide whether it merited listed status.

The report concluded it did not have ‘sufficient special architectural interest’ to justify listing.

Mr Taylor said: “I would have clapped my hands to see it listed. Not only from a personal prestige point of view but putting some restrictions on what could be done with it in the future.”

“The real think that irks is the fact it was a quality building. I was told it had to last a long time, much longer than 50 years.”