The building of the Commercial Hall was indicative of the emerging maturity of the town. One of the purposes to which this building was to be put, namely as a library, was emblematic of this transition. Unfortunately, intruding on these good intentions was the old court house burning down. As a consequence, from 1856 until the new library was opened in 1902, this prime function was put in abeyance for 46 years.
Main picture: Commercial Hall building on the site of the current Main Public Library
The renowned economist John Maynard Keynes once famously exclaimed that “The
difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old
ones”. Whilst that might have been true in most instances, it is
doubtful whether anybody except the most curmudgeonly would have objected to this
innovation. But who knows? Progress always has its naysayers. Perhaps others ignored
it as being fatuous!
Main picture: Steam roller on the opening of Albany Road. The prominent building on the hill is the Erica School for Girls, designed by architect William White Cooper and opened on 4 November 1903.