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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.


List entry Number: 1391892



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Chelmsford

District Type: District Authority


National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II

Date first listed: 26-Feb-2007

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

UID: 494784

Asset Groupings

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

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.




II Block C of County Hall by J. Stuart built 1929-1939, incorporates former Council offices 1909, known as Block D, probably by F. Whitmore. Block D, three storey, red brick with stone dressings. Block C, 'U' shaped plan, five storeys, granite plinth with ashlar artificial Portland stone cladding to fourth floor, fifth floor red brick beneath parapet. Fourth and fifth storeys recessed. Rectangular crittall windows, some with projecting sills on moulded stone brackets. Entrances on northeast and southeast corners, with decorative stone door cases. North, east and south facades have greek-key, Corinthian columns and swag decorations on windows above entrances. Access to Council Chamber from third entrance on north side.

INTERIOR Some later C20 alteration and additions to offices on all floors. Block D comprises central stair-well with rooms leading off. Plan-form of Block C comprises corridor servicing rooms to the front. Wooden panelling on all floors, corridor has vaulted ceiling on ground floor. Staircase at north-east corner has stone steps, timber handrail and metal balustrade, square metal columns with glass lanterns at each stair-turn. North entrance provides access to double width, stone staircase to lobby with brass handrail. Lobby and Council Chamber designed by Vincent Harris, gifted by W.J. Courtauld. Lobby has rectangular stained glass windows by Kruger Gray, stagliola columns, metal up-lighters and two murals by Lawrence and Lewis. Council Chamber has timber and brass furnishings, leather studded doors, murals by Rushbury, Lyon, Gill, Fleetwood-Walker and Thomson.

Blocks A, B and E of County Hall to the south and west are of no apparent historic interest.

HISTORY The decorations and fittings of the Council Chamber and lobby were commissioned and gifted by Councillor J.W. Courtauld from Vincent Harris, an important designer of civic buildings. The Courtauld family were noted patrons of arts in the 1930s, in their home county of Essex and nationally. W.J Courtauld gifted Braintree and Bocking Town Hall ( grade II*) designed by Vincent Harris with murals by Greiffenhagen. Harris was also the architect for several successful public and government buildings in the 1920s and 1930s including Sheffield City Hall, 1920-34 (Grade II* Listed), Manchester Town Hall Extension, 1934-38 (Grade II Listed), Manchester's Central Reference Library, 1930-34 (Grade II Listed). Harris was responsible for the design of the government offices between Whitehall and the Embankment in London.

The paintings were by noted artists of the early C20 influenced by the British School at Rome, many of whom contributed to the murals at St Stephen's Hall in the Palace of Westminster. The works were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1938 before being incorporated as murals into the Chamber and lobby.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE Blocks C and D of County Hall were constructed between 1909 and 1939 and are examples of local government building which strongly represents the civic pride and authority of a County Council. Only selected buildings post-dating 1914 are eligible for listing and blocks C and D have imposing external architectural quality with rich decorative treatment and robust materials.

Later C20 external additions have not affected the composition and quality of the building. There have been some internal alterations to the office accommodation in both blocks, but the internal form of block C is unusual and remains legible. The Council Chamber in block C is the focal point of the building. It is richly decorated with intact fittings and fixtures, designed by Vincent Harris, an important designer of civic buildings, which attribute special historic and architectural interest to the building. Murals by Gill, Lawrence, Thomson and Fleetwood-Walker greatly enhance the architectural quality and special interest of the chamber and lobby and are of particular significance for the development of early C20 mural painting nationally. The chamber and lobby and the artwork were commissioned and gifted by the renowned Courtauld family, who were important locally and nationally as industrialists and patrons of art. The quality of the interior fixtures and fittings in the Council Chamber and lobby and the external architectural quality, afford County Hall special architectural and historic interest.

SOURCES ECC 1938 'The Council Chamber of the Essex CC; An account of the Decoration, The Gift of Cllr William Julien Courtauld'. Willsdon, C, 2000. 'Mural Painting in Britain 1840-1940'. Oxford.

Listing NGR: 570710 206912

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Willsdon, C, Mural Painting in Britain 1840-1940, (2000)

National Grid Reference: TL 70718 06875


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End of official listing