How town hall grew and grew from little acorns...
OUR pictures today show how Castle Circus evolved from an out-of-town shopping area (where rents were cheap enough for large furniture stores) to a municipal hub dominated by the Town Hall.
Fashionable Torquay used to be around the harbour and Marine Spa where expensive shops like Bobby's and Williams & Cox offered high class service.
At the start on the 20th century the land on which the town hall now stands was a plant nursery, a private house and the White and Co Exchange and Mart.
Councillors had big plans for the site, however, having outgrown the original town hall at the bottom of Abbey Road, but there was another agenda driven by the townsfolk.
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They wanted a public library and in 1902 the town clerk was persuaded to write to the American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie asking for some funding (there are Carnegie libraries all round the world).
Back came the promise of £7,500 for the project and councillors, no doubt with an eye on the electorate's wishes, decided both town hall and library could be accommodated on the same site.
The library opened first with much fanfare in October 1907 and in 1911 the foundation stones were laid for the town hall.
The final piece in the municipal jigsaw came in 1938 when a new library was built opposite Upton Vale church, allowing the council's treasury department to move into the Carnegie library.
Our pictures today also show what was happening in Higher Union Street. The Exchange and Mart furniture store became home to the YMCA and in the mid-1930s the building was demolished and replaced by an outstanding art deco building housing the 'Electricity Showrooms'.
Like the Carnegie library this too was incorporated into the office empire of the town hall.
The final shaping of Castle Circus came with the demolition of the Brock and Co furniture store opposite the Electricity Showroom, in 1955 as part of a road widening scheme. The site lay derelict for some years before Tor Hill House office block was built in 1968.