In 1749, the present Town Hall was begun, on what was then the corner of High Street and Water Street. In its first form it was a square building around a central well or court, the lower storey being as before an arcaded passage intended for the merchants and traders to walk in. . In 1787 the buildings which crowded up to it on the north and west were removed and a large addition, with a new assembly room, was built on the north side. Then, in January 1795, the interior was entirely destroyed by a great fire, water being short owing to the frost and the wood used being very inflammable. In the necessary reconstruction many improvements were effected. The most striking of these is the large central dome, with the figure of Britannia above it, which replaced the old one.