Burton on Trent Landmarks #15 – Magistrates Court

Standing on Horninglow Street is Burton upon Trent’s former Magistrates Court House, opened in 1910 and closed in 2016.

Former Magistrates Court. To the right is the former youth court, and to the left is the former Plough Inn pub.

The court house was built from 1909-1910 and was designed by local architect Henry Beck. It was built by the firm of another local man, Richard Kershaw, who also built the fire station and general post office in the town. A foundation stone which can still be seen today was laid by Alderman Charles Tresise, the then-Mayor of Burton upon Trent, on 24th May 1909.

Stone laid by the Mayor of “Bvrton-vpon-Trent”.

Not only was the court built, but a new police station for the town was also built around the back of the magistrates court, replacing the previous police station on the corner of Guild Street and Station Street. Adjacent to the court was the former Burton Corporation tram depot. It was discovered before construction began on the court house that there would be no way for trams to be able to leave and return to the depot, and so the site of the court house was rotated by 12 degrees, so it is at an angle from the road in front of it.

The court building was built from the finest Portland Stone by the best local stonemasons. Like all of the important buildings in the town, the Burton upon Trent coat of arms features in the design as a stained glass window.

Magistrate’s Court and Youth Court, both closed.

In the early 1990s, the new police station and youth court buildings were built next to the Magistrate’s Court. Sadly, the courts were closed by the Conservative government in 2016 to save money, and the buildings were put up for sale. Local miscreants must now travel to Cannock or elsewhere to have their case heard. While the building was on the market, hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money was spent annually on maintaining the empty Grade II-listed building. It was sold in 2019, and the latest news as of April 2022 is that the new owners plan to convert it into a restaurant and also build apartments on the site of the youth court, next to the police station, which I suppose would deter burglars from breaking in.

Whatever happens to the grand old building, I hope that they at least clean up the outside, as the old stonework is looking a bit worse for wear at the moment.

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2 thoughts on “Burton on Trent Landmarks #15 – Magistrates Court

  1. I didn’t realise the slight rotation and reason for it. I will have a closer look next time I am around there. I always thought the building was out of character in a ‘red-brick’ town like Burton. Perhaps that was deliberate to give it a bit more authority in keeping with a court.

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  2. The rotation is not immediately obvious, as the police station was built at the same angle, but it can be clearly seen on Google Maps.

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