Record Details

NHER Number:26201
Type of record:Building
Name:City Hall, St Peter's Street

Summary

City Hall was built in 1932-38 by C. H.James and S. R. Pierce. It should go down in history as the foremost English public building between the wars. This grand structure occupies an enviable position overlooking the market place and is made from brick with stone dressings, although the lower two storeys are entirely made from stone. The building has five storeys with a tower to right-hand side. The central entry has six polygonal columns above rising from the first floor balcony and supporting entabulature. The triple doors and steps up are flanked by lions, although these were purchased and not part of the original design. The square clock tower is topped with a square cupola and finial.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 22843 08512
Map Sheet:TG20NW
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

January 1971. Listed, Grade II.
Original Listing Description:
City Hall. 1932-38 by C. H. James and S. R. Pierce. Brick with stone dressings, lower two storeys of stone. Flat roof. Five storeys with tower to rigth hand side. Twenty-five fourth floor windows. Central entry with six polygonal columns above rising from the first floor balcony and supporting entabulature. Triple doors and steps up flanked by lions. Metal casement windows with glazing bars throughout. Small semi-circular balconies in penultimate end bays with small fanlights above doors. The three end bays project. Parapet. Square clock tower topped with square cupola and finial.
This description is as it appeared in 2001. It has since been amended. See entry for May 2007 below.
Updated H. Hamilton (HES), 23 January 2018.

The Lions - one was purchased at the British Empire Exhibition 1936; made by Alfred Hardiman. The other was copied from it. They were not part of the original design.

See file for photograph of Georgian house demolished to build the City Hall and other press cuttings (S1), (S2), (S3), (S4), (S5), (S6), (S7) and (S8).
T. Sunley (NLA) 25 October 2007.

May 2007. List Entry amended from Grade II to Grade II*.
Listing Description:
City Hall with attached police station. 1932-38 by C. H. James and S. R. Pierce. Brick with stone dressings, lower 2 storeys of stone. Flat roof. 5 storeys, with tower to right-hand side. Twenty-five 4th floor windows. Central entry with 6 polygonal columns above rising from the first-floor balcony and supporting entablature. Triple doors and steps up flanked by lions. Metal casement windows with glazing bars throughout. Small semi-circular balconies in penultimate end bays with small fan-lights above doors. The three end bays project. Parapet. Square clock tower topped with square cupola and finial. The exterior also has applied and freestanding sculpture in stone and stone. The bronze lions either side of the main stairs are by Alfred Hardiman, and the three pairs of main bronze doors with 18 plaques depicting Norwich history and trades were sculpted by James Woodford. The Bethel Street façade has the entrance to the Rates Hall with a stone relief panel of the City arms by Eric Aumonier who was also responsible for London Underground station sculpture. The former entrance to the Police Station within this wing has an ornate bronze lantern and relief stone panels depicting police helmets by H. Wilson Parker. The left of the wing, the police station, was extended 1965-7 in a similar style by the City Architect, David Percival. The north wing was unfinished but the Council Chamber projects to the rear in the middle of the main range and the wall facing the rear has, as well as decorative brickwork, three tall narrow niches from which project sculptures also by Alfred Hardiman of Recreation, Wisdom and Education.

INTERIOR: The extremely impressive interior includes an entrance hall with stone and marble clad walls and columns, stairs lit by a window with textured engraved and painted glass and a ceiling painting designed by Eric Clarke and painted by James Michie. The hall above is also marble clad, and leads to a long suite of committee and reception rooms including the Lord Mayor's parlour. This suite stretches all along the main front and there is a long (approx. 200ft) balcony outside and most rooms are finely panelled with various varieties of wood, including inlay, and have original fine fireplaces, fittings and textiles. The Lord Mayor's Parlour is very fine being an octagon with shallow vaulted ceiling and fully panelled in sycamore with the veneers cut using the highest expertise to produce a brilliant effect of intensely rich dado figuring and lighter cloud-like wall figuring. In addition the Council Chamber itself is very fine with curving seating in mahogany with inlaid brass edges and mahogany entrance wall columns, and also wall panelling to half height with a variety of panel designs. Many light fittings which were designed for the building by the architects also survive.

Other elements of the fine interior include the third floor hall with lift entrance, lantern and balcony, all in austere classical Art Deco styling, and the former marriage suite on the lower ground floor.
Information from (S9), which contains further details of the history and importance of the building.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 20 August 2010. Updated H. Hamilton (HES), 23 January 2018.

2008. Norwich HEART.
One of the finest municipal buildings of the inter-war period in England. Under guidance from Robert Atkinson and RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects), an architectural competition for the building was held. The winning design was by C. H. James and S. Rowland Pierce. City Hall holds the largest clock bell in the United Kingdom, with the deepest tone in East Anglia. Much of the interior is art deco in style. King George VI opened City Hall in 1938 to the largest gathering of crowds Norwich had ever seen.
See (S10) and (S11) for information.
D. Gurney (NLA), 27 January 2009.

Monument Types

  • TOWN HALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TG2208 AJ.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1994. TG2208/ACJ - ACU.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1994. TG 2308BFL - BFP, BFR.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1999. TG 2208ADF - AEE; TG 2308BFU - BFV.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1996. TG 2308BDY - BEA.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 262-264; Pl 111.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2008. A big celebration for historic city landmark. 9 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2008. Saluting City's Hall of fame. 25 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The Norwich 12. 2 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Wander your way through 1,000 years of city history. 24 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. Norwich: A city of Heritage. 1 September.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1935. Low's House St. Giles, Norwich. 13 March.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. [Article on the history of Municipal Building for the City Hall]. 28 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Heritage groups in warning on City Hall refurbishment. 17 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2016. Clock tower needs £200,000 of repairs. 6 October.
---Designation: English Heritage. 1990-2013. English Heritage Listing Notification. Notification. DNF7875.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1956. Norwich work on ancient buildings. 28 December.
<S1>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2005. A new role for City Hall?. 12 October.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2002. Options over the future of City Hall. 15 April.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Eastern Daily Press. 28 October.
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997. Back in time when City Hall clock tower shape. 30 April.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Singing the praises of a bell with great appeal. 2 January.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2000. City Hall lions. 15 March.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999. New City Hall taking shape. 19 November.
<S8>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. City's monument to grand vision. 27 October.
<S9>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1210484.
<S10>Publication: Sheehan, B.. 2008. Norwich 12: A journey through the English city..
<S11>Moving Image: Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART). 2008. Norwich 12. A journey through the English city.. DVD.

Related records

40Parent of: Medieval pottery sherds and animal bones, St Giles Street (Find Spot)
475Parent of: Natural prehistoric flints from City Hall, St Peter's Street (Find Spot)
Mon 1480Part of: Bethel Street, Over Newport (Monument)
Site 1160Part of: City Hall, St. Peter's Street (Monument)
Mon 1479Part of: Nether Newport, St Giles Street (Monument)
Site 801Part of: St Giles Street (Monument)
Mon 1098Part of: St Peter's Street (Monument)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2020 Norfolk Historic Environment Service