Old Town Hall, Richmond

municipal building in London, England

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Old Town Hall, Richmond
Old Town Hall, Richmond, London.jpg
Old Town Hall, Richmond
Old Town Hall, Richmond is located in London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Old Town Hall, Richmond
Shown in Richmond upon Thames
General information
Architectural styleElizabethan Renaissance style
AddressWhittaker Avenue, Richmond, London
Coordinates51°27′32″N 0°18′23″W / 51.45886°N 0.30642°W / 51.45886; -0.30642Coordinates: 51°27′32″N 0°18′23″W / 51.45886°N 0.30642°W / 51.45886; -0.30642
OwnerLondon Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Design and construction
ArchitectW J Ancell

The Old Town Hall, Richmond on Whittaker Avenue in Richmond, London is a former municipal building which from 1893 to 1965 served as the town hall for the Municipal Borough of Richmond.


In the 1870s the local vestry board, which performed local government functions, used a 19th century vestry hall at 21 Paradise Road for their meetings.[1][2] After the area became a municipal borough in 1890, civic leaders decided this arrangement was inadequate for their needs and that they would procure a purpose-built town hall: the site chosen for the building was occupied by the Castle Hotel in Richmond, which was purchased by Sir John Whittaker Ellis, the local Member of Parliament, and was donated by him to the Richmond Vestry in 1888.[3]

The foundation stone for new building was laid, which was built by Lansdowne & Company, was laid in 1891: it was designed by W J Ancell in Elizabethan Renaissance style and officially opened by the Duke of York on 10 June 1893.[4] The design involved an asymmetrical main frontage with six bays facing onto Whittaker Street; the central section featured an arched entrance flanked by Doric order pilasters on the ground floor; there was an oriel window above the doorway with niches on either side; there were three smaller windows above the entrance on the second floor; a turret was installed at the north west corner of the building at roof level and a projecting clock, made by the Leeds firm of William Potts & Sons, was installed on the Hill Street frontage.[4] The principal rooms were the council chamber and the mayor's parlour on the first floor.[3] A bust of Sir John Whittaker Ellis by Francis Williamson was unveiled by Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck on the staircase of the building in 1895.[5]

The council chamber was completely gutted and other parts of the building badly damaged by a fire-bomb on 29 November 1940 during the Blitz; following a complete restoration to the designs of Gordon Jeeves, the building was reopened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on 16 December 1952.[1][6]

The building continued to serve as the headquarters of the Municipal Borough of Richmond for much of the 20th century but ceased to be the local seat of government when the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames was formed in 1965.[3] Instead York House in Twickenham performed that role for the new borough.[1] The old town hall was refurbished as part of scheme to redevelop the riverside area to the designs of Quinlan Terry in 1988.[3] Although some of the building's ground floor was subsequently leased for retail use, most of the former town hall was retained to accommodate the Central Reference Library and the Museum of Richmond which was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 October 1988.[1][7][8] A section of the building was also converted into an art gallery (the Riverside Gallery)[9][10] and the Local Studies Collection moved into the building in 2000.[1][11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Old Town Hall, Richmond". Open House London. Archived from the original on 2 January 2020. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Vestry House". Richmond Parish Lands Charity. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "London's Town Halls". Historic England. p. 165. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b "The Old Town Hall, Richmond" (PDF). Local History Notes From Richmond Libraries' Local Studies Collection. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Old Town Hall timeline". Local History Timelines. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  6. ^ "The 'new' council chamber after the post war renovations to Richmond Town Hall". London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. 1952. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Making sure the past has a future". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 10 September 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  8. ^ Hedgecock, Murray (31 May 2005). "Barnes makes Richmond's pageant richer". The Times. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Riverside Gallery". London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Riverside Gallery". Culture24. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Richmond upon Thames Local Studies Library and Archive". Archives Hub. Retrieved 25 April 2020.

External links

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