Construction in yellow brick began in April 1769 and was completed in April 1771. The new building had a top-lit domed rotunda, and provided a hall, two court rooms, a jury room, and a covered market at the rear. James Adam is not known to have provided any designs for the interior of the building. By the twentieth century the building was in disrepair, and had received some unfortunate nineteenth-century alterations. During the 1980s the building was renovated, and it was reopened as the Shire Hall in 1990.
There are fourteen drawings from the Adam office for the Hertford courts of justice in the Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies. Drawings DE/P/P11/11-14 in the Hertfordshire Record Office represent two similar single-storey designs, one of which appears to correspond with Adam volumes 38/36-37 in the Soane Museum, and drawings DE/P/P11/4-10 appear to correspond with Adam volumes 38/32-35 in the Soane Museum. Drawings DE/P/P11/1-3 do not correspond with any of the drawings at the Soane Museum. I am grateful to Tim Shepherd of Hertfordshire County Council Archive for his assistance.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 17; N. Pevsner, and B. Cherry, The buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 1977, p. 186; R. Moye, The restoration of the Shire Hall, Hertfordshire, 1990, pp. 1-24; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, pp. 32, 38-39, Volume II, p. 56
Frances Sands, 2012
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).
Contents of Hertford courts of justice and corn market (now the Shire Hall), Fore Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire: alternative schemes for the building, 1767-68 (9)
- Designs for the first scheme for the building, 1767-68, unexecuted (3)
- Designs and a finished drawing for the second scheme for the building, 1767-68, unexecuted (4)
- Designs for the third scheme for the building, 1767-68, unexecuted (2)