Clarence Hall Gems – No. 2

Posted: 12th May 2022

The Clarence Hall is not only a lovely old building, but it is also a classic example of Victorian architecture and decor.  Over the next few months, we’ll look at several of the “Clarence Hall Gems”, as we call them, courtesy of Hall Trustee and Director, David Jeremiah.

As the Hall is refurbished over the coming months every effort will be made to retain its unique character by way of removing, refurbishing and reinstating original fittings.

This month’s Gems are the wood / brass handles on the doors from the foyer to the Hall.

When the Hall was being built, Britain was the ship building capital of the world.  Every ship we made had a propeller and every propellor required a bearing to support and lubricate it as it came out of the stern of the ship.  This bearing was made of Lignum Vitae.  A remarkable dark green wood, almost indestructible, beautifully figured, hard, dense, and oily, and, because of our maritime industry, widely available as offcuts.  This maritime by-product was used by the Victorians to make policemen’s truncheons, bowling woods and of course our door handles.  So, when you next see a wooden Victorian door handle, you will be looking at a piece of our industrial history and heritage.  You should also give a thought to the thousands of Crickhowell hands that would have used this lovely utilitarian, yet artistic, object.

There are other Clarence Hall Gems to follow, so watch this space…