Old Court House

The Old Court House

A brief history

This Grade 2 listed building dates back to the mid 18th Century and has been much altered over the years. Two wings were added to the original building at a later date. It has some interesting Gargoyles on the façade, the history of which is not known.  The building has had many uses. The large room on the first floor was used as a Promenade room for exercise and for entertainment during bad weather before the Pavilion Gardens were built. 

It later served as a theatre, a concert hall, a meeting place for The Local Board (precursor to the Town Council), the Mechanics and Literary Institute and a number of religious groups as diverse as Roman Catholics and Plymouth Brethren. The Devonshire Buxton Estate Offices were based in the building for many years where the Dukes’ various agents held sway over the estate’s tenants. In the 20th Century the vaulted rooms below the large room became a car showroom which extended into the right hand wing. 

The ground floor was then was divided up again into a series of small shops. Since 1957 the Old Court House has been the home of the Phoenix Lodge of St Ann who occupy the large room on the first floor as their Masonic Hall . 

What it is used for now?

Apart from the Masonic Hall, the rest of the building is now occupied by restaurants and bars providing a wide variety of food and drink. A few small offices, known as Court House Chambers, remain on the first floor adjacent to the Masonic Hall

Did you know?

Although the building is called the Old Court House it was never in use as a regular Court although the occasional Inquest was held there.