COUNTY HALL INCLUDING TERRACES AND FOUNTAIN
List Entry Summary
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
Name: COUNTY HALL INCLUDING TERRACES AND FOUNTAIN
List entry Number: 1268807
COUNTY HALL INCLUDING TERRACES AND FOUNTAIN, PEGS LANE
The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: East Hertfordshire
District Type: District Authority
National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.
Date first listed: 09-Sep-1996
Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.
Legacy System Information
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System: LBS
This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.
List entry Description
Summary of Building
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Reasons for Designation
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TL3211NW PEG'S LANE 817-1/21/166 (North side) County Hall including terraces and fountain
County Council Offices, Council Chamber and Committee Rooms. 1935-39. Architects James and Bywaters and Rowland Pierce. Buff-brown brick, laid to English Garden Wall, Flemish Garden Wall and one-third Stretcher bonds. Portland stone dressings, plinths, bands, cornices, pilasters and arches. Brown handmade tile roofs behind brick parapets with stone copings. Flat roof to Council Chamber. Copper covered cupola over main entrance. STYLE: design influenced by Swedish Romantic and Neo-classical architecture of the earlier C20, and the work of Sir John Soane. PLAN/EXTERIOR: 3-storey offices above basements (4 storeys on north side of north block due to falling ground) facing quadrangle approached from cloistered loggia under centre of south elevation. Main entrance at left (west) of south elevation and projecting single storey council chamber beyond. South elevation, principal feature is entrance portico, stone faced, and of 3 bays, divided by tall fluted pilaster strip columns without capitals, above which is a frieze with the inscription "Tertium iam annum regnante Georgio VI haec curia aedificata est". Cornice above, with brick parapet and responds carrying the line of the pilasters upwards, stone caps and cornice. Parapet terminated with stone blocks flush set in brick, with stone copings, and 4 plain urns standing on inverted Ionic capitals set above the pilasters. Ground floor has central hardwood paired outer doors, each with 4 raised octagonal panels, within raised flat stone architraves, with a recess and pilasters set back from the face of the main fluted pilasters. Outer bays similarly treated with multi-paned sash windows. Entrance above 8 shallow stone steps, upper 3 contained between Portland stone plinths upon which are set bronze harts (Sculptor Stephen Elson), installed 1989 to commemorate the centenary of the County Council. (It had originally been intended to place sculptures by Alfred Hardiman in this position, but the castings were destroyed by wartime bombing, and although a new plaster cast was obtained from the clay models which remained in Hardiman's studio after his death, the cost of casting was never authorised). Stone balustrades either side, with fluted faced rectangular balusters.
First floor treated as piano nobile with pilaster strips continuing upwards as rectangular fluted antae. Wrought-iron balcony fronts. Face of building set back, with tall multi-paned sashes with raised flat stone architraves, with carved stone panels above, with urn motifs. Soffit stone, with shallow coffering subdivided into square panels. Centre of portico marked on roof by copper-clad cupola, with rectangular base, with projecting top, inverted scroll motifs, and circular base to upper part, which has 8 attenuated Tuscan Doric columns, plain entablature and cornice, and weathervane with "HCC" motif on moulded finial. To the right of the portico is a tall first floor multi-pane sash window with a stone surround and a recessed panel above, with the completion date "AD MCMXXXIX" (1939). Projecting wrought-iron balcony front below the window. On ground floor below are 3 small multi-pane sash windows. To the right, the centre of the south elevation has an 11-bay arched loggia-cloister which forms a hypostyle undercroft below the committee-room suite on the first floor. Plain stone piers run uninterrupted into the moulded extrados of the semicircular arches, which are capped by brick soldier arches. Within the loggia the piers define square bays with quadripartite brick groined cross vaulting. On the first floor are 7 widely spaced long multi-pane sash windows, set alternately above the piers and bay centres of the loggia below, and having raised flat stone surrounds, with projecting sills and heads. Brickwork of elevation laid to English Garden Wall bond, with flush soldier band about 1m below parapet level, and flush header band immediately below the projecting unmoulded stone coping. Tiled roof behind parapet, with slablike brick chimneystacks, with raised panels, and moulded stone copings, on ridgeline in position corresponding with the outer reveals of the loggia. The far right of the elevation has three storeys above a basement, corresponding in height with the two storeys of the remainder. Multi-pane windows, 9 panes height on ground floor, 6 panes on first and second floors, recessed into brickwork, with rubbed flat arches above ground and first-floor windows, and continuous soldier band running across heads of second-floor windows. Basement windows marked by Portland stone lintels raised on Portland stone impost bands. The remaining outer elevations are plain, generally brick with minimal stone dressings. East elevation three storeys of multi-pane sash windows, with rubbed heads above stone impost bands on ground floor, rubbed brick arches above first floor, and continuous soldier band above second-floor windows, beyond a blank brick left-hand end, with entrances in the second bay from the left and third bay from the right.
Left-hand entrance has twin-leaf hardwood panelled outer doors with blank panel above with three carved harts' heads, and glazed inner doors. Raised flat stone outer surround with coved stone cornice above. First-floor landing window has flat stone surround, projecting pilasters with recessed panels, plain frieze, projecting cornice, with stone urns flanking blank recess in brickwork, with rubbed brick arch above corresponding to the heads of the first-floor windows. The right-hand entrance has twin leaf hardwood outer doors set in a raised stone surround, with cornice at level of top of impost band. First floor landing window above dropped within recess in brickwork, with blank panel above and rubbed flat arch corresponding with the level of the first floor heads. Portland stone dwarf walls, with iron grilles conceal basement boiler room. Entrances flanked by return walls with projecting copings, with three shallow stone steps. North elevation faces landscaped courtyard created during construction of major extensions in 1968-76, with links at left and right through the projecting ends. These extensions are not of special interest. The main north elevation is four storeys, with the basement running out to the reduced ground level. Multi-pane sash windows, 4-pane width contrasting with 3 panes on upper floors, recessed in brickwork, with Portland stone impost band upon which is set Portland stone lintels over openings. Central glazed doors with narrow stone surround. First (ground)-floor windows set in arched recesses corresponding in width to ground-floor windows below. Semicircular soldier arches springing from stone impost band. Second (first)-floor windows with rubbed brick flat arches above, third (second)-floor windows below continuous soldier band, brick parapet above partly conceals tiled roof, hipped at ends, which is a crown roof with a flat central portion. Main west elevation 3 storeys above basement, which has multi-pane sash windows 4-pane width with Portland stone impost band and lintels, in area behind Portland stone curbing with cast-iron railings with Neandrian archaic Greek Ionic scroll motifs on balusters. Ground floor multi-pane sashes 3-pane width with stone sills, set in recessed blank brick surrounds corresponding in width to basement windows, stone impost band with rubbed brick flat arches above. First and second floor multi-pane sash windows respectively below arches and continuous soldier band. Entrance three bays from left has twin leaf hardwood panelled outer doors and glazed inner doors set in stone doorcase with unfluted Ionic columns without bases against Tuscan responds, entablatures above columns with moulded canopy, above which
are two plain urns. Carved stone panel with hart couchant above door surround. Brick parapet to tiled roof, hipped at north end, with ridge broken by two brick slab chimneystacks. Stone banded surround to first-floor landing window above. Entrance above four shallow stone steps, with flanking stone dwarf walls with Portland stone curbs runs along this elevation, blocked at the right-hand (south) end by the projecting Council Chamber, which leads from the square block with stone bands and three attic windows which is faced by the entrance portico on its south side, above which rises the cupola already described. Council Chamber flat-roofed, recessed link, projecting bays and sweeping semicircular south end, its height corresponding with two and a half storeys on the main building. Brick walls English Garden Wall bond with intermediate stretcher courses to one-third bond. Portland stone plinth, doorcases, window dressings, band and coping. Subsidiary entrance from west terrace into north wall. Twin leaf hardwood doors with 4 square glazed openings in each, projecting flat stone surround, band cornice, and semicircular tympanum with the County Council crest raised and carved. 9 long windows around perimeter, all with leaded lights and metal frames, set in stone surrounds, those in rectangular east end bay having carved stone panels beneath; remainder having recess in brickwork above, and plain octagonal stone discs below. In centre of west end public entrance has twin leaf recessed hardwood doors, with projecting stone architrave and surround, and cornice band which forms sill to window above. Central quadrangle approached through vaulted undercroft to south block described above. West, north and east blocks three storeys above basement with attics, brick, English Garden Wall bond. Handmade tile roof with flat-roofed casement dormer windows with tilehung cheeks, spaced to correspond with alternate bays of windows below. Basement windows 4-pane width, with Portland stone lintels raised on stone impost blocks, ground, first- and second-floor windows three pane width, those on ground and first floor having rubbed arches above, second-floor windows having continuous stone band below and continuous soldier band above. Entrance in centre of south face of north block, above 5 shallow stone steps, upper 3 between low stone plinths, with iron railings on Neandrian supports, area railings have longer balusters with similar style caps. Twin leaf hardwood doors, 6 fielded panels with bolection surrounds, and raised octagonal discs. Ornamental fanlight above, with carved scrollwork issuing from Neandrian capital, at top is shield bearing County Council arms in relief. Stone doorcase flanked by slender attenuated applied Tuscan columns, with semicircular
projecting drums above, flanking plain frieze above door, with projecting band cornice, and stone urns above columns. South block, north face has arched undercroft on ground floor with stone raised shields on rectangular tablets above adjacent pairs of arches, with tall first-floor sash windows in recessed stone surrounds in third, sixth and ninth bays. Carved stone panels above windows, and continuous band cornice with urns flanking reveals of window recesses below. Blank brick second floor set back above flat roof over first floor, with continuous soldier band and brick dentil eaves. INTERIOR: principal interiors are Entrance Hall, Staircase Hall, Vestibule and Council Chamber on ground floor, and Ballroom, Chairman's Room and Committee Room suite on first floor. All were designed and detailed by the architects, and purpose-designed fittings and furniture were installed. Entrance Hall subdivided into 3 by 3 rectangular bays by octagonal columns, inner foyer opposite windows raised above 2 stone steps, with gilt bonze ornamental railings. Walls lined throughout in cream marble, with floor of cream and light brown sandstone. Plaster ceiling divided into panels by cased beams, with shallow glazed bowl light fitting in the centre of each. Central flight of 6 stone steps leads down through staircase hall and beneath second flight to vestibule and council chamber. Vestibule takes the form of transverse corridor, with vaulted domed ends, influenced by Soane. Centre has barrel vaulted ceiling divided by plaster bands into shallow rectangular panels, with glazed laylights in centre. Lighting from 4 elongated bronze reflector bowls on inverted Ionic volutes set on painted wood reeded columns with black granite plinths, also used for skirtings. Floors are cream travertine marble with grey bands and recesses for carpets. The square end chambers are divided off by semicircular arches with reeded reveals and intrados, matched by shallow recesses on the other three walls. Shallow saucer-domed ceiling on plain pendentives, with circular laylight with inverted saucers of obscured glass. Immediately below are light fittings of bowls suspended from 8 bronze rods. At north end are twin leaf glazed doors leading from subsidiary entrance from terrace. In west walls of each end chamber twin leaf doors covered in blue leather lead into council chamber. Council chamber has a polygonal west end, with a rectangular east bay. The lower walls are panelled in polished hardwood, with bolection mouldings, each bay separated by slim concave curved pilasters, with Greek Key capitals. Frieze has Greek Key stylised ornament made up of an "H" flanked by normal and reversed "C", the initials "HCC", plain entablature above. Upper walls formed from blocks of dense artificial stone with light-coloured flush joints. Windows in centre of each side
have tinted leaded glazing, as background to armorial bearings of Royal Family and Hertfordshire Lord Lieutenants. Ceiling has cornice, bands and elliptical coving and is divided into panels, laylights above Chairman's rostrum. Fittings include rostrum with raised semicircular baldacchino above, with compass point motif in marquetry, and carved Hertfordshire County Council arms. Members' seats in curved rows, with blue leather upholstery, polished hardwood frontals and desks; beyond aisle is perimeter seating for press and public. Lighting columns rise from curved responds on rear bank of seating. Reeded columns support shallow bronze saucer reflectors with concave acid-etched glass bowls above. Staircase from entrance hall is of open well plan, with two major flights, quarter landings, and central minor flight with landing. Sandstone treads and risers matching Entrance Hall floor and continuing as surround to floor of Ballroom on first floor. Closed strings of moulded cream marble. Gilt bronze handrails with upright and inverted Neadrian volutes on alternate baluster. Ceiling plaster, with reeded flat surround to large central glazed laylight filled with 5 by 6 inverted obscure glazed pyramids. Carved gilt wood bracket light fittings with inverted bell glass shades. Ballroom forms principal foyer of first floor giving access to Committee corridor, and to first floor of offices in west wing. The room rises through two floors, and is behind the entrance portico, with 3 bays, each with 1 long sash window looking out on to recessed balcony. It is divided from the staircase by cream marble faced reeded antae and responds, without bases or capitals, with a fascia at second-floor level with a moulded plaster fret motif which continues along the floor of the balcony along the inner north wall, which projects above flat brackets. Balcony rail in gilt bronze with moulded rail and circular rod balusters, with Neandrian voluted balusters with reeded columns at intervals. Below balcony is recess defined by screen formed by coupled elongated gilt bronze columns. In wall behind twin leaf glazed hardwood doors, each with 3 square glazed panels, in cream marble architraves lead to central corridor of west wing: in left-hand bay of east wall similar doors lead to the committee corridor. The Ballroom ceiling has a moulded plaster cornice and a surround with fret ornament, and a second cornice around the recessed centre. This has vigorously modelled gilded plaster scrollwork in two bands, which at ends coil around the ceiling roses of the chandeliers of gilded wood, with central column and 8 scroll branches, all carved and with inverted bell glass shades. In centre of ceiling is a laylight beneath the external cupola base. It has a raised rectangular plaster surround with reeded panels and a cabled roll, a recessed
inner surround with rosettes. The glazed laylight is formed of light metal bars, with tapered panels to give a trompe d'oeil effect of greater depth, with a centre of 6 inverted glazed pyramids. Loose furniture in the Ballroom included purpose-designed benches with scroll ends. The octagonal Chairman's Room takes access from the Committee corridor. Fire surround of polished fossil marble and green marble, with an inset electric fire. Doors are white-painted flush, and 3 panel with reeding and marquetry inlay to give the illusion of raised fielded panels. Cornice with fret ornamented frieze and shallow vaulted ceiling with gilt wood chandelier. Original loose furniture , chairs and desk remains in room. Cloakroom adjoining with white Vitrolite panelling and original Ponifex Emmanuel fittings. Three Committee Rooms, A, B and C are each entered by double doors from the Committee corridor. They are arranged enfilade with sliding double leaf panelled doors to enable use as one long space. Each Committee Room has panelled hardwood dado and walls, with alternately flush and recessed bays between elongated Ionic pilasters, with tall sash windows in alternate bays of outer walls. Entablature with modillion cornice, and segmental profile plaster ceiling, with coved sides, divided into square panels by shallow projecting bands. Committee Room A has a recess at west end with a polished cream and brown marble fireplace with a bolection surround, and opening flanked by twin downward tapering pilasters. Original furniture includes Committee tables and chairs SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: in centre of courtyard is a fountain with a raised scalloped centre, 12 sided outwards curving basin, with recessed plinth, on a raised circular step; raised stone curbs to lawns at either side. HISTORICAL NOTE: County Hall resulted from the decision of the County Council to seek a unified headquarters. The Clerk to the Council, a Hertford solicitor Sir Charles Longmore purchased Bailey Hall in 1930 to supplement the inadequate Shire Hall in Fore Street, and in 1934 Leahoe House with its extensive grounds was purchased. The following year an architectural competition under the assessor Robert Atkinson was organised, and produced 62 entries. The winners, James and Bywaters and Rowland Pierce were also successful in the competitions for Norwich City Hall and Slough Town Hall. The Hertford competition was one of the most important of the 1930s, and the result, slightly modified from the competition plans represented a skilful blend of progressive classicism with Swedish accent. A separate block for the Motor Tax department and County Library was also designed by the same architects and built at the same time. Construction began in Spring 1937 by C Miskin & Son of St Albans with an approved
tender of »288,593. Work accelerated in the summer of 1939 to ensure completion before the outbreak of the Second World War, and the building was opened without ceremony. By the early 1960s the accommodation was overcrowded, and major extensions were designed by the County Architect Geoffrey Fardell, and built 1969-75 in four phases, again with Miskins as contractors. (Architects' Journal: The Hertford Competition: London: 1935-: 621-628; James and Bywaters with Rowland Pierce: Plans of County Hall Main Building, Motor Taxation and Library B: 1935-1940: OFF ACC556NOS30A-FGJ; Building: Architecture at the Royal Academy: 1937-: 191; Hertfordshire Countryside: Walne P: County Hall - a home that keeps on growing: Letchworth: 1946-1973: 43-44; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Hertfordshire: Harmondsworth: 1977-: 186; Sheldrick G: The Hart Reguardant: Hertford: 1989-: 46-54; Walne P: A Guide to County Hall: Hertford: 1980-).
Listing NGR: TL3238111943
Books and journals
James, , Bywaters with Pierce, , Plans of County Hall Main Museum, (1935-1940)
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 186
Sheldrick, G , The Hart Reguardant, (1989), 46-54
Walne, P, A Guide to County Hall, (1980)
'Hertfordshire Countryside' in Hertfordshire Countryside, (1946-1973), 43-44
'Building' in Building, (1937), 191
'Architects Journal' in Architects Journal, (1935), 621-628
National Grid Reference: TL 32381 11943
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