County Sessions House

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Liverpool, County Sessions House

Of 1882-4 by F. & G. Holme. Exuberantly late Victorian, its style derived from RenaissanceGlossary Term Venice rather than ancient Greece and Rome. PorticoGlossary Term with coupled columns. The front is lavishly decoratedGlossary Term but the sides and rear are bare brick (the NE side was originally hidden by buildings). Complex internal layout, largely preserved, with separate circulation for prisoners, public, solicitors and witnesses, and barristers and magistrates. Staircase hall, rich with marble, mosaic and sgraffitoGlossary Term decoration, under little saucer-domes. Magistrates' room with panellingGlossary Term and C17-style plaster ceiling. Two courtrooms, the larger with dadoGlossary Term of Burmantofts' tiles. Cells in basementGlossary Term.



Lowest, subordinate storey; hence the lowest part of a classical elevation, below the piano nobile or principal storey.


The finishing (often with panelling) of the lower part of a wall, usually in a classical interior; in origin a formalized continuous pedestal. Dado rail: the moulding along the top of the dado.


A distinctive phase of English Gothic which developed at the end of the 13th century and continued into the later 14th; sometimes abbreviated to Dec. Named from its elaborate window tracery, which abandoned the simple circular forms of Geometric in favour of more varied patterns based on segments of circles. Dec tracery makes much use of ogee or reversed curves, which were combined in the 14th century to produce reticulated and flowing tracery composed of trefoils, quatrefoils and dagger shapes. Similar inventiveness is seen in the patterns produced by the lierne and tierceron vaults of the period, in the three-dimensional handling of wall surfaces broken up by canopy work and sculpture and in imaginative spatial planning making use of diagonal axes.


Wooden lining to interior walls, made up of vertical members (muntins) and horizontals (rails) framing panels; also called wainscot. Raised and fielded: with the central area of the panel (field) raised up. Also used for stonework treated with sunk or raised panels.


A porch with the roof and frequently a pediment supported by a row of columns. Porticoes are described by the number of columns, e.g. distyle (two), tetrastyle (four), hexastyle (six), octostyle (eight). A prostyle portico has columns standing free. A portico in antis has columns on the same plane as the front of the building. Blind portico: the front features of a portico applied to a wall; also called a temple front.


The revival of classical architecture that began in 15th-century Italy and spread through Western Europe and the Americas in the following two centuries, finding distinctive forms and interpretations in different states and regions. From c. 1830 the Italian version was revived in Britain as a style in its own right (sometimes called Neo-Renaissance or Italianate), i.e. as distinguished from the native Georgian classical tradition.


(Italian): Decoration scratched, often in plaster, to reveal a pattern in another colour beneath.