The seat of power (2)
The Council Chamber
I have always thought that the Edwardian Town Hall in South Shields is one of the finest public buildings in the north of England, and my opinions were strengthened on becoming a borough councillor in 1980.
Here we see the Council Chamber where decisions are taken by the 54 elected councillors representing the Metropolitan District Borough of South Tyneside. The Mayor Cllr. Tracey Dixon occupies the tallest of the five chairs located behind the Ceremonial Mace near the centre of the rear wall. Above The Mayor’s head is the magnificent hand carved coat of arms of South Shields featuring Wouldhave’s lifeboat “The Tyne” and our motto “Always Ready”, above that is the electronic “scoreboard” which shows the voting record after debates.
All of the benches, tables, and panels are of hand carved and engraved English oak, and the upholstery is of the finest leather, behind the opened door on the left is the Members’ lounge and beyond that The Mayor’s Parlour. The Majority party occupy the benches to our left and the Opposition parties occupy the benches on the far side of this horse-shoe shaped debating chamber. The public gallery is located behind my back.
The Town Hall was opened in 1910 by the then Mayor Alderman George Gray, who was the grandfather of Cllr. Arthur Gray, the former Conservative Leader of Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council.
My lens on my Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 is not small enough to provide a wide enough angle for this type of shot, therefore I turned the camera to the upright vertical position (portrait) mounted it on a tripod, and exposed three shots all 1/10 second at f4 and stitched them together in Photoshop to make this panoramic view. I committed the cardinal sin of exposing the left hand frame first, instead of the centre, which makes the stitch a little more difficult to achieve with three frames. However, I’m satisfied with the result.
You can see a larger image by clicking on the picture.
Photography is not normally permitted within the Council Chamber and I was only able to gain access for these shots after being invited to the Town Hall by the Mayor of South Tyneside.