Croydon Town Hall

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Croydon Town Hall
Croydon Town Hall
LocationKatharine Street, Croydon
Coordinates51°22′20″N 0°05′56″W / 51.37223°N 0.09896°W / 51.37223; -0.09896Coordinates: 51°22′20″N 0°05′56″W / 51.37223°N 0.09896°W / 51.37223; -0.09896
ArchitectCharles Henman
Architectural style(s)Victorian style
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated19 November 1973
Reference no.1188798
Croydon Town Hall is located in London Borough of Croydon
Croydon Town Hall
Shown in Croydon

Croydon Town Hall is a council building in Katherine Street, Croydon which serves as headquarters for Croydon London Borough Council. It is a Grade II listed building.[1]


Croydon's first town hall, which was located on the west side of the High Street, was initially intended as a market house and was completed in 1566: it was subsequently used as a town hall until it was demolished in 1807.[2] The second town hall, which was built on the site of the first town hall, was designed by Samuel Pepys Cockerell in the classical style and completed in 1808;[3] it was demolished as part of the town's High Street widening scheme in 1893.[4]

After civic leaders found that the town hall in the High Street was inadequate for their needs, they elected to construct a purpose-built town hall: they chose the site of Central Croydon railway station, which was redeveloped for council use in 1895, as part of a plan to install "Municipal Offices, Courts, a Police Station, Library and many other public purposes and yet leave a considerable margin of land which might be disposed of".[5] The building, which was designed by Charles Henman[6] in the Victorian style and built in red brick by Messrs. W.H. Lascelles & Co, was officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 19 May 1896.[5]

The design involved a symmetrical main frontage with nine bays facing onto Katherine Street; the central section featured an arched porch on the ground floor; there was a large segmented window on the first floor and five narrow round headed windows on the second floor with the borough coat of arms above.[1] A square clocktower, 176 feet (54 m) tall, was erected adjacent to the west of the main building.[1] The clock and bells were made by the Croydon firm of Gillett & Johnston.[7] Above each clockface was a keystone carved in the form of a human head, representing respectively the four cardinal points of the compass: an "Esquimaux" (north), a "Hottentot" (south), a "Chinaman" (east) and an "American Indian" (west).[7] To the west of the clocktower was Braithwaite Hall, with pitched roof and turret, and the corn exchange, with loggia.[1] Braithwaite Hall was named after the Revd John Masterman Braithwaite (1846–1889), a former vicar of Croydon.[8][a] Internally, the principal rooms were the council chamber, the mayor's parlour and the committee rooms.[5]

A statue of Queen Victoria, which was sculpted by Francis John Williamson, was erected outside the town hall in 1903.[10] A war memorial, designed by James Burford and incorporating two bronze sculptures by Paul Raphael Montford, was erected in 1921.[11]

The building served as the headquarters of the County Borough of Croydon for much of the 20th century and went to become the local seat of government of the enlarged London Borough of Croydon on its formation in 1965.[12] Council officers and their departments moved out to Taberner House, located to the south east of the town hall, in 1967.[13]

The whole building, including the council chamber, the mayor's parlour and committee rooms, was extensively renovated in the late-1980s and early 1990s. This enabled parts of the building which were not required for council meetings to be re-purposed as an arts venue known as the Croydon Clocktower in 1994.[14] At the same time a new public library was established in a new structure behind the town hall and the old local studies library was converted for use as the new David Lean Cinema.[5] Meanwhile, Braithwaite Hall continued to be made available for concerts, theatre and children's shows.[15]

After Taberner House became inefficient to operate, council officers and their departments moved to Bernard Weatherill House, located to the south of the town hall, in May 2013.[16]


  1. ^ John Brathwaite was the father of the actress, Lilian Braithwaite.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Historic England. "Municipal Buildings, comprising the clock tower, public library, and Corn Exchange, and including the area balustrade which incorporates a war memorial and a statue of Queen Victoria (1188798)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  2. ^ Brayley, Edward Wedlake; Britton, John (17 September 2017). "A topographical history of Surrey, by E.W. Brayley assisted by J. Britton and E.W. Brayley, jun. The geological section by G. Mantell" – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Anderson, John Corbet (17 September 1882). A Short Chronicle Concerning the Parish of Croydon in the County of Surrey. Ballantyne, Hanson and Company. p. 201 – via Internet Archive. croydon town hall.
  4. ^ "London's Town Halls". Historic England. p. 42. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "Town Hall". 8 April 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  6. ^ Cherry, Bridget; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1983). London 2: South. Buildings of England series. Penguin Books. p. 214. ISBN 0-14-071047-7.
  7. ^ a b Anon. 1896, pp. 12–13.
  8. ^ "Braithwaite Hall, Croydon Clocktower, London". The Independent. 23 January 1996. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  9. ^ Morgan, Diana; Reynolds, K. D. (revised) (2004). "Braithwaite [married name Lawrence], Dame (Florence) Lilian (1873–1948)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32036. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  10. ^ "Statue: Queen Victoria statue – Croydon". London Remembers. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Croydon War Memorial (Grade II*) (1268438)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Local Government Act 1963". Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Taberner House, London". Skyscraper News. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  14. ^ "David Lean Cinema returns to Croydon Clocktower Auditorium". East London Lines. Archived from the original on 29 January 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Concert: Ida's march". News Shopper. 11 September 2002. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Bernard Weatherill House". Open House London. Archived from the original on 19 January 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2020.

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