The Guildhall was built in 1848 as a response to a public order crisis in the town caused by a booming population of miners and other unruly workers.
The previous criminal justice facilities had proven inadequate and so the Duke of Bedford spent £4,000 on the new building, which housed a state-of-the-art courtroom, police station, jail cells and fire station. It is believed to be England’s first purpose-built combined court and police station.
The work on this £1.8-million project involves turning Tavistock’s historic Guildhall complex into a mining heritage centre and museum which will explain the impact that mining had on the development of the town and what life was like as a miner in the 19th century.
The Guildhall Gateway Project is expected to open in the summer of 2020.
The building is constructed of mostly Hurdwick Stone with granite dressings and an embattled parapet above a moulded cornice.
Crocketted pinnacles to the parapets. The rooves are slate. The window openings consist of largely square-headed frames with hood moulds and arched head lights.
The complex is Grade 2 II Listed, reflecting its historic and aesthetic interest. The DOFF cleaning system has proven very effective at removing decades worth of biological matter, dirt and grime without causing harm or shock to the building.