Essential Architecture-  London

County Hall

architect

Ralph Knott

location

on the south bank of the River Thames, just north of Westminster Bridge, facing west towards the City of Westminster. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo and Westminster.

date

1911 - 1933

style

Edwardian Baroque

construction

Portland stone

type

Government
 
 
  County Hall from the north bank of the Thames
 
County Hall is a building in Lambeth, London, that was the headquarters of London County Council and later the Greater London Council (GLC). Today County Hall is the site of businesses and attractions, including Saatchi Gallery, Dalí Universe and the London Aquarium, as well as two hotels and several restaurants. Other parts of the building have been converted into flats. The London Eye is nearby.

The building is on the bank of the River Thames, just north of Westminster Bridge, facing west towards the City of Westminster. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo and Westminster.

History

The main six storey building was designed by Ralph Knott. It is faced in Portland stone in an 'Edwardian Baroque' style. Construction was started in 1911 and it was opened in 1933 by King George V. The later buildings (North, South and Island blocks) were completed later, the last in 1974.

For sixty four years County Hall served as the headquarters of local government for London. During the 1980s the then powerful GLC (led by Ken Livingstone) was locked in conflict with the British Government. Since the Parliament buildings were just across the river from County Hall, the facia of County Hall frequently served as a billboard for anti-government slogans. When the government of Margaret Thatcher abolished the GLC in 1986, County Hall lost its role as the seat of London's governance. The building was transferred to the London Residuary Body and eventually sold to private investors.

On October 21, 2005, the High Court of England and Wales, upheld a claim by the owners of the building, Shirayama Shokusan, to have the Saatchi Gallery evicted, on grounds of violating its contract, particularly using space outside of the rented area for exhibits. [1]

The County Hall Island Block, an annex of the main building, was demolished in 2006 to make way for a hotel. The building, also known as No 1 Westminster Bridge Road, had been disused since 1986 and had become a derelict eyesore. [2]

 

links

www.essential-architecture.com