Survey of London Monograph 17, County Hall. Originally published by Guild & School of Handicraft, London, 1991.
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The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England became responsible for the Survey of London on the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986. County Hall is, therefore, the first major volume from the Survey of London to be published by the Royal Commission. It is also the seventeenth monograph to appear in the Survey of London series, marking the revival of a tradition, begun by the first Survey Committee, of publishing single volumes on individual buildings in parallel with the more substantial parish volumes. After 1945 the monograph series fell into abeyance, although studies of individual buildings, such as Brooke House and the Covent Garden Theatres, were published as part of the parish sequence. The earlier monographs were used to highlight the plight of some threatened building, as with those on The Trinity Hospital in Mile End of 1896, or Eastbury Manor House, Barking of 1917: both buildings were saved in consequence. Occasionally, as in 1937 with The Queen's House, Greenwich, the monograph celebrated what was seen as a triumphant restoration.
When the Greater London Council was abolished, it seemed appropriate to record the County Hall, built by the London County Council to house London's first elected government, and for over sixty years its centre, being both council chamber and administrative offices. This book discusses the history and architecture of the building which served the County of London as an Hôtel de Ville. Though not as ostentatious as some of its contemporaries and much less grand than some aspiring designers would have had it – as this volume reveals – it is still a very proud and important building, worthy of its prominent site. In view of the two London county councils' record of support and aid to the Survey of London it is very proper that it should be the Survey staff who have recorded their headquarters.
On behalf of the Royal Commission I would like to thank the many people who have contributed to the volume through their help and advice, most of whom are mentioned by name in the list of acknowledgements. It was begun under the Chairmanship of my predecessor, the Earl Ferrers. Various Commissioners have contributed advice and expertise, but particular thanks are due to Mrs Bridget Cherry and Dr Derek Keene for the interest they have taken in the progress of the volume.
It almost goes without saying that the book could not have been written without the help provided by past members and officers of the Greater London Council, whose names are noted elsewhere, and by the staff of the London Residuary Body.
As with all Survey publications, it is the work of a team of writers and researchers. The major part of the first draft, and much of the research has been contributed by Anthony McIntyre, with additional material from John Greenacombe, Derek Holdaway and Stephen Porter. Pat Reed and Gillian Duane were responsible for the early research, and additional work has been carried out by Ann Robey, Bridgett Jones and Colin Thom. The General Editor of the Survey of London, Hermione Hobhouse, was responsible for the concept of the book, and its editing, and has also contributed some original research and part of the text. The figures in the book were drawn by the Survey draughtsmen, Mike Clements and Ron New, while original photography was carried out by Derek Kendall of the Royal Commission's staff and the GLC Photographic Unit under the direction of Roy Ferriman.