Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Twinning Dinner in the Town Hall.

Devizes Town Hall built ca 1820
Some words here about last week's twinning dinner in Devizes Town Hall,  beautifully  built in the early 1800's using Bath stone which became readily available as a building material when the Kennet & Avon Canal opened in 1810.  The canal runs from Bristol's River Avon to Bath in the west and on to Newbury, where it links up with the canalised River Kennet.  Devizes businessmen fought long and hard for the canal to come through the town, as its original course would have taken it around Caen Hill.  John Rennie, the canal engineer, intended building a contour canal, one that avoided building expensive locks the take a canal  up hill, and as Devizes stands on the top of Caen Hill, many locks would be needed.  The Devizes businessmen achieved their wish, and Rennie was faced with the prospect of building a flight of 29 locks to  bring  the canal up Caen Hill. 

I like to think of John Rennie, sitting on his horse at the bottom of Caen Hill, looking upwards and thinking, "Oh dear, must I really take this expensive route?"  Luckily clay for the thousands of bricks needed to build the locks was readily available at the bottom of the hill.    I digress!    The top photo shows the facade of the Town Hall, and our dinner was held in the grand reception room on the first floor.
The Twinning group dining under the painted ceiling in the grand reception room.
Devizes is twinned with the German town of Waiblingen, Mayenne in France and with Tornio, a town in Finland. Last week the members of the German and French twinning associations enjoyed their annual dinner and get together. I am a member of the Devizes/Waiblingen group and sat down to a two course meal, sitting around a table of 10, chatting and generally having a good time. The Town Council website gives more general information and photos of Devizes.      www.devizes-tc.gov.uk/
A portrait of the Hanoverian King George 1V graces the wall, with a similar large painting of his wife,
Queen Caroline of Brunswick,  whose tomb I have visited in Braunschweig Cathedral.
                        History of the Monarchy > The Hanoverians > George IV
The painted ceiling, supposedly a copy of the ceiling in Bath Town Hall and complete with chandeliers.  This ceiling was restored a few years ago, after it had become completely stained brown by cigarettes and cigars smoked during civil occasions.  Thank goodness smokers now have to seek a puff somewhere else.


No comments:

Post a Comment