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Trafford Town Hall

A Grade II Listed Building in Gorse Hill, Trafford

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4584 / 53°27'30"N

Longitude: -2.2875 / 2°17'14"W

OS Eastings: 381007

OS Northings: 395779

OS Grid: SJ810957

Mapcode National: GBR D7R.D7

Mapcode Global: WH98H.TBXK

Entry Name: Trafford Town Hall

Listing Date: 27 March 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1391923

English Heritage Legacy ID: 496191

Location: Trafford, M32

County: Trafford

Electoral Ward/Division: Gorse Hill

Built-Up Area: Manchester

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Firswood and Gorse Hill

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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Stretford

Listing Text

STRETFORD

1482/0/10028 TALBOT ROAD
27-MAR-07 Trafford Town Hall

II
Town Hall, 1933 with 1983 extension, designed by Bradshaw Gass & Hope of Bolton and built by the main contractor Edwin Marshall & Sons Ltd. Built of red Ruabon brick in Flemish bond on a steel frame, with gritstone dressings, and a mansard roof with slate on the lower part and plastic above. It has 2 storeys plus attic floor and basement, and is set in landscaped grounds with a sunken garden to the west. The 1983 extension is not of interest.

PLAN: Main front with wings stretching back to each side. The 1983 extension joins the original at the rear of each wing, forming an irregular square courtyard.

EXTERIOR: There is a plinth of gritstone ashlar throughout, fluted at the top, rising to the base of the ground floor windows. This is replaced by grey brick to the rear. The ground and first floor windows are wood-framed, 9-over-9 vertical sashes with gritstone ashlar dressings, and the attic floor windows have small panes forming a spiders web pattern which pivot from the centre. The attic floor is set back behind a brick parapet, pierced at regular intervals with groups of gritstone balusters, and which rise from the main walls.
Main front to south-east has a central 3-bay projection with an entrance portico at the top of a flight of 5 steps, with 2 columns and 2 detached flanking pillars. It supports a balcony with wrought iron parapet featuring a circle motif which is repeated on the corner pillars. Above is a small-paned stair window divided by 2 columns supporting a triangular pediment and topped with a semi-circular window. The first floor window to each side of the entrance has a decorative panel above with flower and circle motifs. Above the first floor is the square clock tower which rises in stages incorporating latticed windows, gritstone parapets, corner urns and a large blue and white exposed clock face on all four sides. The top stage of the tower is capped in gritstone with chamfered corners. Beyond the central section are 7 windows to each side.
The two wings are similar, with 5 windows to each side of a central bay breaking forward. On the right wing (facing Warwick Road) this has an 8-over-8 pane ground floor window, and French windows opening onto a balcony with wrought iron balustrade. On the left wing, the central ground floor 8-over-8 window pane is surmounted by a cornice with urns at the corners, and the first floor window carries an oval cartouche above the lintel.
Both outer corners form an inverted bay with a deeply recessed door behind engaged columns, with French windows behind a balcony with wrought iron parapet, and semi-circular overlight at first floor, with semi-circular brick arch above. Gritstone string courses at first floor and attic floor level.
To the rear, the central projecting range has a double height stair window with stained glass, divided by a stone band at first floor level and flanked by columns and pillars. At the attic balcony level is a large semi-circular window, above which the clock tower rises. To each side is a leaded first floor window, with a door to the left and window to the right at ground floor, and a basement window in the centre. Beyond are 6 windows to each side. On the inner face of the left return is a semi-circular domed apse which has basement windows within the plinth, tall multi-paned windows at ground floor and smaller windows at first floor. Above are 3 oval windows with spider-web pattern panes.

INTERIOR: Double glazed entrance doors with architrave incorporating columns and urns, leading to a lobby with tiled floor bearing the Stretford coat of arms. Engaged Egyptian style columns to either side lead to the entrance hall from which spine corridors lead off to either side. To the rear is an Imperial staircase lit by a stained glass window carrying the coats of arms of Stretford Borough and the de Trafford family. The stair has a brass handrail. Also in the entrance are memorials to the fallen of both World Wars, and bronze statues to 'Fortuna', 'Mercury', 'Niord' and 'Electra', the latter two built into the staircase. A wrought iron balustrade with motifs matching the external parapet over the entrance overlooks the entrance hall from the first floor, and a fluted frieze runs round the stairwell punctuated with circular motifs. Original glass light fitting in the entrance lobby.
The corridors have original patterned tiled floors, with oval patterns at the corners, and coffered ceilings. Rooms off to both sides have original doors and architraves in polished wood with Art Deco style glazing and decorative motifs. Staircases at the corners are open-well with quarter pace landings, metal balusters and wooden handrails. The offices have coffered ceilings and some have been opened out, though all original doors remain. The east range contains the apsidal Council Chamber, with wood veneer bench and desk seating arranged in semi-circles following the shape of the outer wall. Doors to the rear carry coats of arms on their pediments. Visitors' gallery round the outer edge on floor above lit by oval windows and accessed from the second floor. Domed ceiling light above with patterned glazing, beneath outer dome of roof.
Committee rooms opposite on the first floor: a suite of linked rooms with wood panelled walls, original radiators with decorative wrought iron grilles, clocks and other decorative features. One men's toilet on the first floor has original fittings, wall and floor tiles.
Attic floor has smaller offices and access via a spiral iron staircase to the clock tower, the workings of which are exposed within. Basement floor contains storage and a canteen.

HISTORY: The Town hall was built for Stretford Borough Council after a government enquiry determined that the existing Public Hall offices would not provide sufficient accommodation. £88,000 was provided by the National Exchequer for the work. A painting of the proposed building shows some adaptations, mainly in the setting of the tower and the form of the attic floor which was originally conceived as a series of dormer windows. Otherwise the original building appears unchanged from its original conception. The reorganisation of local government in 1974 saw the demise of Stretford and the formation of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, and the Town Hall was accordingly renamed. It houses the Civic as opposed to the public offices of the borough. In 1983 a new extension was added to the rear, joined at the ends of the two wings to the original, and forming a courtyard.

The firm of Bradshaw, Gass and Hope were specialists in designing municipal buildings: they were also responsible for Wimbledon Town Hall (1928-31), Luton Town Hall (1935-6), Bromley Town Hall (1938) as well as the former Royal Exchange, Manchester (1914-21).

Summary of Importance
Trafford Town Hall was designed by Bradshaw, Gass and Hope and opened in 1933. A monumental Neo-classical public building, it possesses special architectural interest on account of its exterior; its planning and internal decoration; its intactness, and the quality of its sculptural embellishment. It is also of historic interest as an example of interwar municipal architecture, undertaken with Government assistance during the Depression, and of local municipal pride. The special interest is concentrated on the principal elevations and main public rooms: the later addition to the rear is not of interest.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Description

STRETFORD

1482/0/10028 TALBOT ROAD
27-MAR-07 Trafford Town Hall

II
Town Hall, 1933 with 1983 extension, designed by Bradshaw Gass & Hope of Bolton and built by the main contractor Edwin Marshall & Sons Ltd. Built of red Ruabon brick in Flemish bond on a steel frame, with gritstone dressings, and a mansard roof with slate on the lower part and plastic above. It has 2 storeys plus attic floor and basement, and is set in landscaped grounds with a sunken garden to the west. The 1983 extension is not of interest.

PLAN: Main front with wings stretching back to each side. The 1983 extension joins the original at the rear of each wing, forming an irregular square courtyard.

EXTERIOR: There is a plinth of gritstone ashlar throughout, fluted at the top, rising to the base of the ground floor windows. This is replaced by grey brick to the rear. The ground and first floor windows are wood-framed, 9-over-9 vertical sashes with gritstone ashlar dressings, and the attic floor windows have small panes forming a spiders web pattern which pivot from the centre. The attic floor is set back behind a brick parapet, pierced at regular intervals with groups of gritstone balusters, and which rise from the main walls.
Main front to south-east has a central 3-bay projection with an entrance portico at the top of a flight of 5 steps, with 2 columns and 2 detached flanking pillars. It supports a balcony with wrought iron parapet featuring a circle motif which is repeated on the corner pillars. Above is a small-paned stair window divided by 2 columns supporting a triangular pediment and topped with a semi-circular window. The first floor window to each side of the entrance has a decorative panel above with flower and circle motifs. Above the first floor is the square clock tower which rises in stages incorporating latticed windows, gritstone parapets, corner urns and a large blue and white exposed clock face on all four sides. The top stage of the tower is capped in gritstone with chamfered corners. Beyond the central section are 7 windows to each side.
The two wings are similar, with 5 windows to each side of a central bay breaking forward. On the right wing (facing Warwick Road) this has an 8-over-8 pane ground floor window, and French windows opening onto a balcony with wrought iron balustrade. On the left wing, the central ground floor 8-over-8 window pane is surmounted by a cornice with urns at the corners, and the first floor window carries an oval cartouche above the lintel.
Both outer corners form an inverted bay with a deeply recessed door behind engaged columns, with French windows behind a balcony with wrought iron parapet, and semi-circular overlight at first floor, with semi-circular brick arch above. Gritstone string courses at first floor and attic floor level.
To the rear, the central projecting range has a double height stair window with stained glass, divided by a stone band at first floor level and flanked by columns and pillars. At the attic balcony level is a large semi-circular window, above which the clock tower rises. To each side is a leaded first floor window, with a door to the left and window to the right at ground floor, and a basement window in the centre. Beyond are 6 windows to each side. On the inner face of the left return is a semi-circular domed apse which has basement windows within the plinth, tall multi-paned windows at ground floor and smaller windows at first floor. Above are 3 oval windows with spider-web pattern panes.

INTERIOR: Double glazed entrance doors with architrave incorporating columns and urns, leading to a lobby with tiled floor bearing the Stretford coat of arms. Engaged Egyptian style columns to either side lead to the entrance hall from which spine corridors lead off to either side. To the rear is an Imperial staircase lit by a stained glass window carrying the coats of arms of Stretford Borough and the de Trafford family. The stair has a brass handrail. Also in the entrance are memorials to the fallen of both World Wars, and bronze statues to 'Fortuna', 'Mercury', 'Niord' and 'Electra', the latter two built into the staircase. A wrought iron balustrade with motifs matching the external parapet over the entrance overlooks the entrance hall from the first floor, and a fluted frieze runs round the stairwell punctuated with circular motifs. Original glass light fitting in the entrance lobby.
The corridors have original patterned tiled floors, with oval patterns at the corners, and coffered ceilings. Rooms off to both sides have original doors and architraves in polished wood with Art Deco style glazing and decorative motifs. Staircases at the corners are open-well with quarter pace landings, metal balusters and wooden handrails. The offices have coffered ceilings and some have been opened out, though all original doors remain. The east range contains the apsidal Council Chamber, with wood veneer bench and desk seating arranged in semi-circles following the shape of the outer wall. Doors to the rear carry coats of arms on their pediments. Visitors' gallery round the outer edge on floor above lit by oval windows and accessed from the second floor. Domed ceiling light above with patterned glazing, beneath outer dome of roof.
Committee rooms opposite on the first floor: a suite of linked rooms with wood panelled walls, original radiators with decorative wrought iron grilles, clocks and other decorative features. One men's toilet on the first floor has original fittings, wall and floor tiles.
Attic floor has smaller offices and access via a spiral iron staircase to the clock tower, the workings of which are exposed within. Basement floor contains storage and a canteen.

HISTORY: The Town hall was built for Stretford Borough Council after a government enquiry determined that the existing Public Hall offices would not provide sufficient accommodation. £88,000 was provided by the National Exchequer for the work. A painting of the proposed building shows some adaptations, mainly in the setting of the tower and the form of the attic floor which was originally conceived as a series of dormer windows. Otherwise the original building appears unchanged from its original conception. The reorganisation of local government in 1974 saw the demise of Stretford and the formation of the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, and the Town Hall was accordingly renamed. It houses the Civic as opposed to the public offices of the borough. In 1983 a new extension was added to the rear, joined at the ends of the two wings to the original, and forming a courtyard.

The firm of Bradshaw, Gass and Hope were specialists in designing municipal buildings: they were also responsible for Wimbledon Town Hall (1928-31), Luton Town Hall (1935-6), Bromley Town Hall (1938) as well as the former Royal Exchange, Manchester (1914-21).

Summary of Importance
Trafford Town Hall was designed by Bradshaw, Gass and Hope and opened in 1933. A monumental Neo-classical public building, it possesses special architectural interest on account of its exterior; its planning and internal decoration; its intactness, and the quality of its sculptural embellishment. It is also of historic interest as an example of interwar municipal architecture, undertaken with Government assistance during the Depression, and of local municipal pride. The special interest is concentrated on the principal elevations and main public rooms: the later addition to the rear is not of interest.

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