Brent Town Hall

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Brent Town Hall in 2008, prior to being vacated by the council.

Brent Town Hall is a landmark building in Wembley Park in the London Borough of Brent, northwest London, England. The building was completed, as Wembley Town Hall, in 1940. It has been a Grade II listed building since 1990. The building is over 90,000 square feet with a site area of about 5.3 acres. The building is T-shaped, with a long façade on Forty Lane. Until 2013, the building was the seat of Brent London Borough Council and several civic services. The building is now occupied by the Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill.

The architect was Clifford Strange, who was 33 at the start of the project. Strange had worked for T.S. Tait from 1925-1935. Tait was influenced by the Dutch architect Willem Marinus Dudok (1884-1974), who had designed Hilversum Town Hall in the Netherlands. Strange followed Tait in imitating Dudok.

Dudok was a modern architect but, unlike many Continental Modernists, he used brick (in this case, from Lincolnshire), a traditional material, rather than reinforced concrete. He also shunned functionalism. This made him very popular with British architects, as they were more used to using brick than concrete and had more conservative patrons.

Most British town halls of the period were less innovative than Wembley's. It was even fitted with a bomb-proof first-aid post.[1]

In 1951, Pevsner described it as "the best of the modern town halls around London, neither fanciful nor drab".[2] It has been described as an English interpretation of Modernism, using brick rather than concrete.

Wembley joined Willesden to become the London Borough of Brent in 1965. Willesden Town Hall, in Kilburn, was closed and Wembley Town Hall became Brent Town Hall.[3]

In 2009 the council wanted to delist its status to facilitate redevelopment of the site.[4] On 5 February 2013, the council sold the building after over 60 years. The council was due to relocate to the new Brent Civic Centre which opened in August that year. Main services of the Town Hall, including the library, were relocated to the Civic Centre. The French Education Property Trust purchased the site and transformed it into an international French school called the Lycée International de Londres Winston Churchill, which opened in September 2015.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barrès-Baker, M.C. "A Brief Architectural History of Wembley (later Brent) Town Hall" (PDF). Brent Archives. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1951), The Buildings of England: Middlesex, Harmondsworth, Penguin, p. 170 
  3. ^ King, Rosamund & Barres-Baker, Malcolm (2011), Britain in Old Photographs: The London Borough of Brent, Stroud, The History Press, pp. 5, 47, 96 ISBN 0-75245-827-2
  4. ^ "Brent Town Hall could be delisted", Harrow Times, 9 March 2009, retrieved 15 April 2006 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°33′58″N 0°16′25″W / 51.56611°N 0.27361°W / 51.56611; -0.27361