Wednesday, July 17, 2019

VERY RARE CHANCE TO VIEW INSIDE BRIGG TOWN CENTRE TIME CAPSULE


The only grade two star listed building in Brigg - built in 1760 - still houses many features that would have been familiar to people who visited it, or worked there, during previous centuries.
What's now the Exchange Coach House Inn, on Bigby Street, has had various guises down the years, including a gentlemen's club and a girls' school.
Current owner Joe Mullen kindly gave Brigg Blog a detailed guided tour of the premises, including parts of the upper floors that do not have public access.
Brigg couples who held wedding receptions at the Exchange years ago used to pose beside a large picture window, still in place today halfway up the period staircase (pictured above), so the official photographer could record the scene in the souvenir album.





What later became a conference room (seen above) had been used to trade locally-grown cereals before the Victorians built the town's Corn Exchange.
There's an ornate card table, dating back to William IV's reign in the 1830s, around which some properties, farms and fortunes are said to have been wagered and lost long ago.





The floors of the Exchange, when it was built, were laid down using an early kind of concrete spread over brushwood frames, producing a rock-hard finish.
Still visible in one room is an alcove (below) where Brigg Home Guard stored its rifles during the Second World War when the Exchange doubled up as the detachment's headquarters.
 



With the Luftwaffe active and fears about fifth columnists ever-present, fire-watching and surveillance were carried out from the roof of the building which today still has panoramic views over rooftops in the centre of the town.
 



These buildings include ones added during the early part of Joe's ownership, when a courtyard extension (seen above and below) was constructed on the former Lincolnshire Times newspaper car park to provide additional sleeping accommodation for paying guests.
The brick archway is still there to provide pedestrian access to the Exchange from Wrawby Street, but it's many years since any cars passed through.
 



In 1988, Brigg Town Council gave Joe an award for the careful and sympathetic restoration of what was described in the citation as Raffles Club.
Two years later a plaque was erected in the courtyard, paying tribute to the efforts of Master Builder Bruce Finch.





Many people in Brigg will remember towards the end of the last century when the Exchange boasted the town's only late night entertainments licence, with dance music on offer on the ground floor at weekends.
Entry was gained through an entrance off the side car park, and fun-seekers often had to queue, with doormen operating a 'one out, one in' policy to ensure things did not get too crowded.
An additional bar, known as Scruffy's, was also established close to the parking area.





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