Midleton Could Be On Course For New Civic Space

By Seamus Whelehan

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An East Cork Cllr is hoping to open a new chapter in the history of Midleton’s Market House and Town Hall.

Hundreds of book loves call the bottom floor of Market House home since 1996, when the Town Library Service took over the structure.

Over the years the upper floor and Clock Tower of the buildings have been ignored due to a lack of finance.

Now, Fianna Fail Cllr James O’Connor is looking to save the Clock and upper levels of the historic building.

It was expected in 2017 that the Clock Cupola would be repaired at a cost of €60,000.

Constructed in 1789 it is believed that the Market building was designed by John Morrison, father of Sir Richard Morrison and grandfather of William Vitruvius Morrison, both of whom designed Fota House.

Over the years the upper floor has served many purposes including Corporation Meetings,  hosting public receptions, a public Reading Room, holding Courts, Elections and more recently in the 1960s and 70’s it was used as a Badminton Court.

The building’s clock is believed to date back to 1750, and it is understood that the time piece was removed from a previous structure which adorned the site, and was later incorporated into the new building.

It is unclear as to the amount of work needed to be carried out on the structure, but a rough estimate suggests it could cost in the region of €2million.

Cllr O’Connor said “restoring the building to its former glory would provide a dedicated indoor civic space, along with a much-needed expansion of the existing Library.”

He said “an adequate investment into the development of the Library building would deliver a valuable facility for the town for use by school students, adults and community groups alike.”

Senior Council officials are said to be considering the Fianna Fail Cork East General Election candidate’s proposal.

Mr O’Connor said that, if developed, the new Library could include state on the art learning spaces including study desks and IT facilities to adapt to a modern learning environment, as well as the promotion of literacy, the arts and education.
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