The Stour Hall is the main auditorium in The Exchange and the other rooms all take their names from the tributary rivers and streams that join the Stour around
The wrought iron balustrade to the main staircase is inspired by the River Stour at Sturminster, the river known and described by William Barnes, and by Thomas Hardy in ‘On Sturminster Foot-Bridge’*. It flows past the Recreation Ground and round the Bathers Island (represented by a polished stone set into the iron work), then turns a corner at the Mill and flows at a different rate down the stairs.
The whirls and eddies of the water are all there, and in the intricate handrails.
Lilies, bulrushes and reeds, with tangled stems and leaves, are also captured in extraordinary detail.
The iron work was imagined and designed by Ian Ring. This open staircase and the reception area required a practical balustrade. The skills of Ian and his craftsmen at Newton Forge have provided that in the form of a work of art, which enhances The Exchange and will give pleasure to those who see and use it for years to come.
* Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses, 1917