Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Watford (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 10540 96796



7/10003 Watford Town Hall


Town Hall. Designed 1935, built 1937-39 by Charles Cowles-Voysey, assisted by John Brandon- Jones and Robert Ashton. Cowles-Voysey was the master planner, and John Brandon-Jones did much of the detailed design work. Reinforced concrete frame clad in hand-made bricks, tiled roofs. Radial plan on comer site, with main entrance in central concave facade, originally fronting roundabout, from which stretch wings to either side (the longer, to Rickmansworth Road, with assembly hall at end reached via separate entrance) and council chamber in angle to rear. First floor committee rooms, principal offices and mayoral suite over the entrance. Three storeys. Principal concave elevation of seven bays with central double doors reached up steps under lantern clocktower. All windows casements, those to first floor of full height opening on to balcony. 17- bay recessed side return to pedestrian precinct, 13-bay range to Rickmansworth Road culminates in projecting three-bay assembly room with its own entrance comprising three pairs of glazed double doors under canopy. Cut-brick panels over first floor full-length casements in moulded brick surrounds. The principal rooms of the interior are highly decorative, inventive, and survive remarkably completely. Staircase hall panelled in stone, with Imperial stair rising between square column. Bronze balustrade incorporating stylised female figures. At top of stairs a curved corridor reflects the form of the facade, and double doors lead to three curved committee rooms, with folding screens so they can be thrown into one. These rooms fully panelled in contrasting veneers, with Soanic plaster cornices, original light fittings and clocks. Members room and mayor's parlour to either side finished in the same manner, with raised and fielded panelling over curved wooden fireplaces and simpler cornices. To rear of this suite is the double-height council chamber, with original fixed seating arranged on steps in three main circles. The council chamber is remarkable for the survival of its original woven acoustic panels, set between bands of hardwood veneer, and with deeply trabeated ceiling also as an acoustic aid. To rear of raised mayoral bench a tapestry panel bearing the borough arms by Anne Brandon-Jones. Original light fittings and eight panelled doors. The assembly hall has its own foyer, with coved ceiling. Assembly hall likewise in more streamlined style with full working stage behind proscenium arch, flat sprung floor and balcony, this last with curved front under which original light fittings remain. Coved ceiling. Buffet to left with columns and more traditional mouldings. Included as an unusually rich and complete surviving town hall of the later 1930s, showing that the classical style could still be inventive in the service of civic dignity. The building compares well with other town halls by this distinguished practice, who specialised in the genre. Sources: Architects' Journal, 30 November 1939.

Listing NGR: TQ1054096796


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
'Architects Journal' in 30 November, (1939)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 09 Jan 2004
Reference: IOE01/11546/04
Rights: Copyright IoE Mrs Jane Black. Source Historic England Archive
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