Hornsey Town Hall was built in 1933–1935 to designs by New Zealand architect Reginald H. Uren, who was only 27 years old when he won the architectural competition to replace council offices in Highgate for the Metropolitan Borough of Hornsey. Hornsey Town Hall is a seminal building in English architectural history, combining the massing and spatial planning of the International Modern Movement with craftsmanship and decoration in the English Arts and Crafts tradition. It is also extraordinarily well preserved, including Ashburton marble floor and wall surfaces, Australian walnut and Indian laurel panelling, etched glass screens, bronze fittings, saucer chandeliers and globe lights, and furniture, clocks and curtains from Heal’s. Hornsey Town Hall is listed as Grade II*, placing it in the top 10% of all listed buildings nationally.
The town hall has been redundant for many years, however, and is on the Heritage at Risk Register; numerous proposals to convert the building into new uses have failed to materialise.
We were historic building advisors to the team, led by Make Architects, charged with the conversion of the building into a hotel and community building, with residential development in the grounds to the rear. We advised on the preservation of the building’s fabric and special features and guided the design team through the planning process with the London Borough of Haringey, Historic England, and the Twentieth Century Society, as well as local residents’ groups. The proposals are sensitive to the original fabric but also sufficient to equip the building for its new use, which will ensure its conservation in the long term. Planning permission and listed building consent for the proposals were granted in 2018 and work has begun on site.