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Witham Library

 

The front part of Witham Library was built about 1830 as a large house called White Hall, which was a private residence until about 1905. In 1837 Jacob Pattisson, a wealthy Witham landowner, bought it and rented it to a solicitor, Joseph Blood. By 1840 Joseph was able to buy White Hall and he introduced many improvements and extended the land. He passed the property on to his son, William Bindon Blood, who became a prominent Witham lawyer.

 

From 1905 until about 1914 the house was used as a private school for boys, known as 'Whitehall College'. Metal bollards then in front of the building now form part of a fence of a property in a residential part of the town. The school closed down at the start of the First World War and the building became empty. During the war, it was taken over by the army as a billet for soldiers.

 

In 1926 the house was converted into the Whitehall Cinema with an auditorium built on the rear. The cinema closed in 1964. It was later restored as a library, opening in 1981. Its Palladian style façade is a partly modem reconstruction of the original 19th-century front. The iron bollards were specially recast from original moulds. The Dorothy L. Sayers Centre, containing memorabilia connected with the famous author who lived nearby in the house with a plaque, is housed in the library.

 

The postcard view below shows the building when a cinema.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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