Camden Town Hall

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Camden Town Hall
Camden Town Hall 2005.jpg
Entrance to Camden Town Hall in Judd Street
LocationEuston Road, Camden
Coordinates51°31′44″N 0°07′32″W / 51.5290°N 0.1255°W / 51.5290; -0.1255Coordinates: 51°31′44″N 0°07′32″W / 51.5290°N 0.1255°W / 51.5290; -0.1255
Built1937
ArchitectAlbert Thomas
Architectural style(s)Neoclassical style
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated19 April 1996
Reference no.1379162
Camden Town Hall is located in London Borough of Camden
Camden Town Hall
Shown in Camden

Camden Town Hall, known as St Pancras Town Hall until 1965, is the headquarters of Camden London Borough Council. The main entrance is in Judd street with its northern elevation extending along Euston Road, opposite the main front of St Pancras railway station. It has been Grade II listed since 1996.[1]

History[edit]

In the early 20th century the borough council was based at the 19th century vestry offices in St Pancras Way which had been commissioned for the Parish of St Pancras.[2][3] After civic leaders found that the vestry offices were inadequate for their needs, they elected to construct a purpose-built facility: the site selected on Euston Road had previously been occupied by some Georgian terraced housing.[4]

The new building was designed by Albert Thomas, who also designed housing schemes for the St Pancras Borough Council, in the neoclassical style.[2] The construction which was undertaken by Dove Brothers of Islington involved a steel frame clad with Portland stone and the work started in 1934.[2] The design involved a symmetrical main frontage with 13 bays facing onto Judd Street; the central section of three bays featured three doorways on the ground floor; there were three windows on each of the first and second floors flanked by huge Corinthian order columns supporting a pediment.[1] A carving of the borough coat of arms was erected above the central window on the first floor. The design for the Euston Road frontage involved 23 bays with two sections designed in a similar style to the Judd Street elevation i.e. with windows flanked by huge Corinthian order columns supporting pediments.[1] Internally, the principal rooms were an assembly hall on the ground floor in the east of the building and the council chamber and mayor's parlour on the first floor in the west of the building.[2] The building was officially opened in October 1937.[2][5]

A "Caribbean Carnival", a precursor of the Notting Hill Carnival, was held on 30 January 1959 in the town hall, organised by activist Claudia Jones as a response to the 1958 Notting Hill race riots and the state of race relations in Britain at the time.[6] A few months later, on 27 May 1959, Princess Margaret attended a meeting of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the town hall.[7]

The building served as the headquarters of the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras and continued to operate as the local seat of government after the formation of the London Borough of Camden in 1965.[1] An eight-storey extension designed by the borough architect's department was built to the east of the main building in 1977.[2] It was designed in a modern architectural style and was clad in white pre-cast panels with curved window corners.[8][9] A rooftop conservatory was added in the 1990s.[10]

In February 2020 the council started a programme of refurbishment works to plans prepared by Purcell.[11] The works, which are being managed by Lendlease at an estimated cost of £40 million,[12] involve restoration of the historic areas used by the council and the redevelopment of the basement and upper floors so those floors can be let out as commercial space.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Historic England, "Camden Town Hall (1379162)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 30 July 2017
  2. ^ a b c d e f "London's Town Halls". Historic England. p. 28. Retrieved 25 April 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Walford, Edward (1878). "'St Pancras', in Old and New London". London: British History Online. pp. 324–340. Retrieved 30 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Camden mulls tower at town hall site". Property Week. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Lavish Town Hall". The Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 8 October 1937. p. 3. Retrieved 30 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Donald Hinds (3 July 2008). "Claudia Jones and the 'West Indian Gazette'". Race & Class. Institute of Race Relations. Archived from the original on 9 April 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  7. ^ "HRH Princess Margaret Addresses A Council Meeting Of The National Society For Prevention Of Cruelty To Children At St Pancras Town Hall". 27 May 1959. Retrieved 30 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "The Civic Plunge Revisited" (PDF). Twentieth Century Society. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Conservation Area Statement: Kings Cross". Camden Council. Retrieved 30 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Council defends controversial plan to renovate Camden's historic town hall". My London. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "'Much-needed spruce up': Camden Town Hall refurbishment costs rise to £63m". Ham and High. 27 January 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Lendlease set for green light on Camden Town Hall makeover". Building. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Public exhibition". Camden Council. Retrieved 5 April 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)