A MIDDLESBROUGH couple whose romance was kindled by a grand fireplace bearing the town motto ‘We Shall Be’ are to now marry in front of the recovered relic after a chance sneak preview of a restoration project.
North Ormesby couple Carol Ford and John Hayward will marry at the town’s new Register Office in Middlesbrough Town Hall which has recently been transformed from disused office space to its original Victorian splendour.
The two met at the town’s St Luke’s Hospital where Carol, 57, was a cleaner and John, 65, worked as a technical instructor for the NHS having originally attended as a service user.
In planning their wedding they became two of the first members of the public to be allowed into the new Register Office while work was still ongoing and had set their heart on the venue’s smaller Victoria Room.
But on their way out they were offered the chance to have a look at the larger Erimus Room and were immediately taken aback by the centrepiece fireplace.
John said: “We walked through the door, I looked at it and thought ‘it’s just like the fireplace at St Luke’s’ and said that to Carol, then a voice to our left said ‘it’s not like it, it is it! It’s been in storage for over five years, we have just been waiting to put it somewhere that would do it justice’.”
Carol said: “We looked at each other and said ‘it has to be this room’. The fireplace was the focal point of the committee room where we’d had so many meetings and spent so much time so we knew as soon as we saw it that was where we had to get married.”
The couple are the second to be married at the new Register Office and the first in the 70-capacity Erimus Room which takes its name from the town’s motto which translates from Latin as ‘We Shall Be’.
The first couple to get married in the new facility were Hollie Banks, 22, and Craig Horner, 26, from Hemlington, who tied the knot in the venue’s 40-capacity Victoria Room earlier this month.
On the whole Register Office project, John added: “We were amazed at the restoration. It’s to such a high standard – it’s stunning, it really is, they’ve done a fantastic job.”
The town’s previous self-contained Register Office – on Elm Street between the Civic Centre and Combined Court – holds its last ceremonies in August.
The work on the new facility has been a labour of love for Middlesbrough Council staff involved in creating a bright and enticing ceremonial venue.
A Grade II* listed building, Middlesbrough Town Hall was formally opened in January 1889 and the part that is now the Register Office comprises what was originally the police station and rooms to serve the adjacent courtroom.
Among the original features that have been restored include a grand cantilevered staircase, terrazzo flooring previously hidden under carpet, wood panelling that had been covered, a ceiling rose and window surrounds.
Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said previously: “The refurbishment work is absolutely breathtaking and is a testament to the passion for the project shown by all those staff who have been involved.”
For more information contact Middlesbrough Register Office on 01642 729004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org