Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Market House, Market Place, Kingston upon Thames


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Statutory Address:
Market House, Market Place, Kingston upon Thames

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

Greater London Authority
Kingston upon Thames (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Former town hall, now in commercial use. Designed by Charles Henman, Senior, in an Italianate style, but incorporating a 1706 statue of Queen Anne by Francis Bird from the earlier Town Hall dating from 1505 on the site. The builder was a local mason, John Trigg, the ground floor cast iron beams and columns were supplied by T Francis' a Kingston foundry and the bell in the south-west turret was cast in 1840 by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel.

Reasons for Designation

Market House, Market Place, Kingston-upon-Thames, an 1838-40 former town hall designed in Italianate style by Charles Henman Senior is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: a handsome brick and stone purpose-built town hall with rusticated arches and corner roof pavilions which also retains on the south front a 1706 statue of Queen Anne by the renowned sculptor Francis Bird commissioned for the earlier town hall on the site; * Interiors: original stone staircase, doors, and former Council Chamber with fittings inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens; * Intactness: the building has undergone few alterations and the plan of a market with a Council Chamber and Justices Room above is still readable.


Kingston upon Thames, historically in Surrey, was an important market town, port and river crossing from the early medieval period, while there is evidence of Saxon settlement and of activity dating from the prehistoric period and of Roman occupation. It is close to the important historic royal estates at Hampton Court, Bushy Park, Richmond and Richmond Park. The old core of the town, around All Saints Church (C14 and C15, on an earlier site) and Market Place, with its recognisably medieval street pattern, is ‘the best preserved of its type in outer London’ (Pevsner and Cherry, London: South, 1983 p. 307). Kingston thrived first as an agricultural and market town and on its historic industries of malting, brewing and tanning, salmon fishing and timber exporting, before expanding rapidly as a suburb after the arrival of the railway in the 1860s. In the later C19 it become a centre of local government, and in the early C20 became an important shopping and commercial centre. Its rich diversity of buildings and structures from all periods reflect the multi-faceted development of the town.

Kingston-upon Thames, was referred to as early as 836 AD when King Egbert of Wessex held his Great Council there, received its first recorded charter to operate a market in 1208 and the borough charter dates from 1481. An earlier timber-framed town hall on this site in the Market Place is recorded in 1505 where meetings of members of the corporation and the four trading guilds took place and courts met to pass sentence. That building was restored during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 and much later in the reign of Queen Anne, when the building was partly rebuilt in brick at a cost of £400. To commemorate this rebuilding, in 1706 the sculptor Francis Bird, at the time working on St. Paul's Cathedral, was commissioned to produce a statue of Queen Anne for the front of the building, at a cost of £47 18s 6d. C18 watercolours by Rowlandson and others show a building with a ground floor open market supported on columns and a first floor with gables, sash windows and a central statue within a niche.

By the end of the C18 accommodation had become insufficient and in 1837 an architectural competition was held for a new Town Hall with 23 schemes submitted. The contract was finally awarded to Charles Henman, Senior and in 1838 a tender was accepted from a local mason, John Trigg, for £3,832. The earlier town hall was replaced by the present Italianate style building between 1838 and 1840. The 1706 statue of Queen Anne was retained from the earlier building and attached to the balcony on the south side of the new building. This building is first shown on the First Edition 1868 25 inch Ordnance Survey map of Surrey and its footprint has not changed since. The ground floor market was originally open-sided but in the late C19 windows were added in the arches. The south room on the first floor was known as the Justices Room and council committees and magistrates in petty sessions met here. The larger north room was used as the Council Chamber. The first floor room in the south-west turret was built as a fireproof muniments room for the town's archives and regalia and the bell in the turret was cast by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel.

This building remained the Town Hall of Kingston-upon-Thames until the present Guildhall was built in 1935 when its name was changed to Market House. The two bay windows on the first floor of the south side were added at this time. Also at this time some original features from the building including Elizabethan panelling, the Arms of Queen Anne and some stained glass windows were removed to the Guildhall.

The Market House was listed at Grade II* in 1983. The statue of Queen Anne was re-gilded in 1995 and the Roman numerals on its plinth were re-gilded in 2006 to commemorate the tercentenary of the statue's erection.


Former town hall, now in commercial use. Designed by Charles Henman, Senior, in an Italianate style, but incorporating a 1706 statue of Queen Anne by Francis Bird from the earlier Town Hall dating from 1505 on the site. The builder was a local mason, John Trigg, the ground floor cast iron beams and columns were supplied by T Francis' a Kingston foundry and the bell in the south-west turret was cast in 1840 by Thomas Mears of Whitechapel.

MATERIALS: Portland stone ground floor with ornamental ironwork to the window tympana, the upper floor of yellow brick in Flemish bond with Bath stone dressings and a hipped slate roof with a central stone chimney.

PLAN: rectangular plan of two storeys, in five bays to the north and south and six bays to the east and west, but with taller projecting square corner towers and an elliptical porch on the south side. Internally the ground floor has an entrance hall over two bays on the south side with a south-east staircase and the remaining part was originally an open market but windows were inserted in the late C19 and this is now a large room of four bays. The first floor also has a smaller room on the south side, originally the Justices Room, and a larger room to the north, originally the Council Chamber.

EXTERIOR: the south or entrance front has a rusticated stone ground floor. The central three bays of the ground floor comprise an elliptical porch with three round-headed entrances with keystones, impost blocks, round-headed fanlights over double doors, the upper parts with narrow round-headed glazing and fielded panels below. There is a cast iron lamp over the central entrance. Above this is a balustraded parapet with a central plinth projecting over a stone lion's mask and paws which bears a gilded lead statue of Queen Anne with crown, orb and sceptre. The upper floor central three bays are of yellow brick with a stone parapet and moulded cornice and there is a central multi-pane sash window with a pediment flanked by two circa 1935 projecting square bays of three tiers with leaded lights. The projecting end bays on the south side have ground floor round-headed alcoves with keystones and impost blocks. The first floors have triple round-headed windows with marginal glazing, projecting pediments above with bracket cornices, supported on end piers, and closed balustrades below. Above the first floor are hipped pavilion style square corner features with round-headed openings on each side flanked by paired stone pilasters and hipped roofs with metal finals.

The central four bays of the east and west sides are recessed with moulded stone cornices, 6 over 6 pane sash windows on the first floor in stone architraves with cornices on brackets and balustrading below. The ground floor has rusticated stone round-headed arcading with keystones and impost blocks The tympana have late C19 cast iron scroll-work above 10 over 10 pane sash windows with horns. The projecting corner bays are identical to those on the south side except that their ground floors have identical windows and cast iron scroll-work tympana to the central bays.

The north side is similar to the east and west sides with a recessed centre of three bays with moulded stone cornice, three 16 over 6 pane first floor sash windows and a rusticated stone ground floor with keystones, impost blocks and cast iron scroll-work tympana. The central bay has an entrance with double doors with a glazed round-headed panel above a fielded panel and a cast iron lamp above. The flanking bays have 8 over 8 pane sash windows with horns below cast iron scroll-work tympana. The projecting corner bays are identical to those on the east and west sides.

INTERIOR. The ground floor is laid with stone slabs throughout. The entrance hall has an elliptical arch, a wood and glazed screen incorporating double doors, a stone staircase in the eastern tower with cast iron columnar newel posts and balustrades and a number of fielded panelled doors.

The larger north room, originally containing an open market, is of four bays with cast iron ceiling beams supported on cast iron columns, both carrying the mark of T Francis whose foundry was on the Horse Fair, just north of the parish church.

The upper floor has a small south room, originally the Justices Room, approached through double panelled doors. Its west wall has a central arch, until 1935 an alcove lined with Elizabethan panelling from the earlier town hall on the site with the Arms of Queen Anne above, and two panelled doors. The deep coved ceiling has bands of guilloches and brackets.

The larger north room, originally the Council Chamber has corner towers which retain marginal-glazed curved sash windows with some coloured glass and floral motifs. The central three bays of the north wall have Roman Corinthian columns and pilasters, the south wall has two large double doors with fielded panels and moulded architraves and the ceiling has bands of dentils and rosettes and a central circular ventilation grille.The plaster cornice and timber columns are based on the 4th century BC Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Cherry, B, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: London 2: South, (1994), 314
Market House Kingston Upon Thames. Leaflet produced by Royal Borough of Kingston Environmental Services April 1994


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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 15 Aug 1999
Reference: IOE01/01046/07
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Sparks. Source Historic England Archive
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