Town hall, Łęczyca
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Town hall from the years 1788-1790, built on the basis of a design by Jakub Kubicki. An example of classical architecture.

History

Łęczyca was chartered under German law before 1260. The oldest brick town hall, mentioned already in the late 14th century, was located - which has been confirmed by archaeological research - in the central part of the Market Square. The town hall was to serve as a seat for the mayor, city councillors, municipal court, land court, and municipal archives. Also, it housed a prison and a weighing house. In the building, also the executioner's axe was stored. The date and cause of destruction of the first town hall are not known. The inventory of 1777 provides information about the lack of a town hall in the city, municipal council meetings organised in private houses, and documents stored in the wójt’s (mayor of the rural commune) house - hence, probably, the decision of the Permanent Council Police Department of 1787 to rebuilt the town hall in Łęczyca. At the same time, an idea emerged to adapt a former Jesuit church to serve as the seat of the city authorities. However, it was rejected due to high adaptation costs and too large distance of the building from the city centre. Ultimately, architect Jakub Kubicki - the then municipal architect - took a decision on the construction of a new town hall in the Market Square, in the place of the former seat of municipal authorities, prepared a design of the building and a detailed work schedule. The plan provided for participation of the citizens in the construction works to reduce the costs and for obtaining brick material from the old city walls. The seat of the authorities of Łęczyca was built from the funds allocated to the city by the king, and owing to the efforts of the citizens. The construction works were carried out in the years 1788-1790. The first meeting of the municipal council in the new town hall took place in 1791. In 1842, the town hall clock was installed. The building is built on a square floor plan - it has two storeys, basements, and a loft - and is classical in style. In 1862, the town hall was modernised according to a design by Jan Karol Mertchnig, the architect of the Łęczycki District. The modernisation consisted in renovation of the columns at the entrance, repair of external walls, cornices, and plinths, replacement of floors, and doors and windows in the basements. At that time the Market Square was also extended - in the new layout of the streets, the town hall was no longer the central point of the Market Square. Another renovation was commenced in 1893. At that time, the roof with dormers, covered with roof tiles, was dismantled and replaced with a hip roof clad with sheet metal, resting on a knee wall hidden behind a low parapet, with one dormer with a clock in the southern wall. The external plasterwork was replaced, and new cornices were made - a string course over the first storey, and a crowning cornice under the eaves. Part of the window openings in both storeys were bricked up. The window woodwork was replaced, and the interiors, chimneys, and stoves were also renovated. A balcony was installed over the entrance to the military custody. The works changed the features of the 18th-century architecture of the town hall - the building received a neo-Renaissance appearance. In the years 1896-1899, the town hall clock was renovated. Another renovation was carried out in 1926. At that time, the building was renovated from the outside, and the entrance from the south was liquidated (the door opening was partly bricked up and replaced by a window; the new entrance door was placed in the western wall), a staircase was created inside, and on the first floor, a council meeting room was arranged. During the German occupation, the town hall was a seat of the Nazi municipal authorities. After the World War II, the building was used as a seat of municipal authorities: from 1950 - by the Municipal Administration; from 1970 - by the Presidium Board of the Municipal National Council. During the 1980s and the 1990s, the building housed a Civil Registry. In the early 21st century, the town hall was in a very bad technical condition. Therefore, a decision was taken to carry out conservation studies and a full-scale renovation of the building, to restore its 18th-century form. The conservation and renovation works were carried out in 2005-2007: the shape of the steep hip roof with a belvedere and dormers, laid with roof tiles, was restored, as well as the entrance portico in the western wall. Interior partitions added after the town hall was built were removed, the original arrangement and size of door and window openings was restored, vaults over the rooms in the eastern section of the ground floor were reconstructed, as well as curved stairs leading to the basement. In the walls of the basements, fragments of the walls of the older buildings were exposed, the original partition and architectural detail on the façades was reconstructed. Currently, the building houses: a Tourist Information Point, Civil Registry, conference room of the operational staff office, library of the museum of Łeczyca, and one of the branches of the Municipal Office in Łęczyca.

Description

The town hall is located in the middle of the northern part of T. Kościuszki Square (former Old Market Square), and surrounded from the west, north, and east with frontages of tenement houses. In the southern wall of the building, there is a manual well. The building - designed in the classical style - was converted in the 1920s and provided with eclectic features with neo-Renaissance elements. The original appearance of the building was restored on the basis of architectural studies and archival research during the renovation works in the years 2007-2011. The town hall is built on a nearly square floor plan. The interior of the ground floor and the loft is arranged in a two-bay layout. The main entrance to the building is located on the axis of the western façade. The building has two storeys, a loft, and basements. Over the roof, there is a four-sided tower with clocks in its northern and southern walls, and in the other walls - round arch window openings. Also over the roof, there is a balcony with a balustrade made of cast metal grid. In each of the roof surfaces, there is a massive wall dormer situated in the centre, covered by a gable roof. The building is made of ceramic solid brick and cement and lime mortar. It is plastered. The hip roof is clad with roof tiles arranged in a fish scale pattern. Over the basement, there are crossed barrel vaults, made of brick and resting on massive piers, as well as ordinary barrel vaults. Over a section of the ground floor, there is also a brick ceiling - with a cloister vault. Over the remaining part, there are wooden ceilings reinforced with a double-t beam. The floors are made on wooden boards on wooden joists. The basement can be accessed by single-flight, brick stairs with balustrade in the form of a small wall. The façades are plastered, with rustication. At the level of the ground floor, there is a strip flat rustication, and above it - plate rustication. All façades have five axes. On the ground floor, there are rectangular round arch openings, with a distinct keystone over each of them. Over the ground floor openings, there is a string course. Window openings on the first floor are rectangular in shape, with a straight top section. In the top section of the walls, there is a mitered cornice with a plain band of frieze, and a cornice under the eaves. On the western façade, the section of the wall containing three central axes is glazed and receded in relation to the wall face. It is preceded by a pair of column in the giant order, supporting a receded crowning cornice. In the glazed wall, the partitions for openings imitate metal muntins embedded in glass. The windows of the ground floor are two-leaf, double, and made of wood. Each leaf is divided into three panels. Over them, in the intrados, there is a one-panel transom light. The windows on the first floor are two-leaf and double. Each leaf is divided into three panels. The entrance opening is situated on the axis of the eastern façade. The doors are made of wooden panels, with a metal handle with a lion head. The interior layout on the first floor features two bays with rooms arranged in an enfilade. On the ground floor, on the east-west axis, there is an oval staircase.

The monument is accessible to visitors. In the loft, there is a branch of the Museum of Łęczyca.

compiled by Agnieszka Lorenc-Karczewska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Łódź, 09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jaworowski H., Stolarczyk T., Osiemnastowieczny ratusz w Łęczycy, Łęczyca 2008.
  • Rosina R. (red.), Łęczyca. Monografia miasta do 1990 r., Łęczyca 2001, s. 679.

General information

  • Type: town hall
  • Chronology: 1788-1790
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: plac Tadeusza Kościuszki 33, Łęczyca
  • Location: Voivodeship łódzkie, district łęczycki, commune Łęczyca (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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