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Town Hall

A Grade II Listed Building in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.9773 / 51°58'38"N

Longitude: -0.2297 / 0°13'46"W

OS Eastings: 521689

OS Northings: 232464

OS Grid: TL216324

Mapcode National: GBR J6W.W7P

Mapcode Global: VHGNL.YKYJ

Plus Code: 9C3XXQGC+W4

Entry Name: Town Hall

Listing Date: 16 December 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393610

English Heritage Legacy ID: 496057

Location: Letchworth, North Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, SG6

County: Hertfordshire

Electoral Ward/Division: Letchworth South West

Built-Up Area: Letchworth Garden City

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Letchworth

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

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Description


948/0/10008 BROADWAY
16-DEC-09 Town Hall

II
Letchworth Town Hall, by Robert Bennett and Wilson Bidwell, constructed in 1934-1935.

MATERIALS
Red brick laid in Flemish bond, with stone dressings and a plain tile-covered hipped roof.

PLAN
Rectangular with slightly projecting wings to the front and rear.

EXTERIOR
Adorned with a central, square clock tower with pergola above, the fa├žade has stone string courses at first floor and a projecting cornice at the second floor. A central timber panelled entrance door and fanlight with radiating glazing bars, approached by 4 stone steps has a stone surround with a pair of Corinthian pilasters flanking the door and a curved pediment with a central boss. The windows on the ground and first floor have straight, segmented brick heads and arched heads on second. The projecting wings have central arched windows with glazing bars, stone surrounds and cast iron metal balconies on the first floor. The contemporary window frames remain throughout, mostly vertical sliding sash windows with glazing bars and horns.The rear elevation has a large, central arched (twelve-over-nine lights) and rectangular (nine-over-twelve lights) vertical sliding sash stair windows with horns and a central date plaque inscribed '1935 A D'. The central section has a modillion cornice at eaves height. Both the East and West elevations have three windows, but no other features.

INTERIOR
The plan-form remains substantially intact. All floors are serviced by a central stairwell accessed from the rear elevation. The staircase has a simple moulded handrail and there are polished stone Doric columns on each floor, supporting the stair flight above. Contemporary panelled doors, architraves with Tudor rose motif and other joinery survive throughout on the first and second floors.Ceilings with simple plaster decoration remain some obscured by false ceilings. The Council Chamber on the second floor has panelling and the Letchworth Coat of Arms.

SOURCES
Miller, Dr M 'Letchworth: The first Garden City' 1993.

HISTORY
Parker and Unwin's 1903 masterplan for the first Garden City envisaged a number of civic buildings clustered around the Town Square, but the advent of World War I delayed their construction. Only the Town Hall was built thereafter. Bennett and Bidwell were noted local architects who trained with Parker and Unwin and designed a number of listed dwellings in the town in addition to other public buildings such as the Broadway Cinema. The Town Hall was occupied by Letchworth Urban District Council until local government reorganisation in 1974. The clock tower is an addition to the original design, built as a memorial to Charles Ball.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
Letchworth Town Hall is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons.
* It is the primary civic building in the town, constructed by Bennett and Bidwell, noted architects with many listed buildings amongst their oeuvre.
* Located in a prominent position in the townscape, it has strong historic interest as the Town Hall of the first Garden City, arguably the most influential town planning development of the C20.
* It has a balanced and well-tutored external architectural presence comparable in architectural quality to other contemporary Town Halls of the Neo Georgian style.
* It has been little altered externally and internally and retains its plan form and many historic fixtures and fittings.

Reasons for Listing

Letchworth Town Hall is designated for the following principal reasons.
* It is the primary civic building in Letchworth constructed by Bennett and Bidwell, noted architects with many listed buildings amongst their oeuvre.
* Located in a prominent position in the townscape, it has strong historic interest as the Town Hall of the first Garden City, arguably the most influential town planning development of the C20.
* It has a balanced and well-tutored, external architectural presence comparable in architectural quality to other contemporary Town Halls of the Neo Georgian style.
* It has been little altered externally and internally and retains its plan form and many historic fixtures and fittings.

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