Slough Town Hall
Come friendly bombs ...
A plan to flatten Slough Town Hall and turn it into a residential development has met with a storm of protest from heritage groups, who say the building should be saved. Now English Heritage have recommended that the hall should be Grade II listed.
Home to Mars Bar factories, brick makers and the farmers who invented the Cox's Pippin, Slough has never been well-known for amazing architecture.
Famously, Poet Laureate, John Betjemen wrote a poem which began with the lines "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough" in 1937, attacking Slough's newly built houses and offices.
However, he looked more favourably on Slough Town Hall. In Murray's 'Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide' (1948), he wrote a positive description of 'the unfinished Civic Centre with Swedish affectations, represents a striving for unity out of chaos.'
Now Slough Borough Council hopes to demolish the 1930s building, which contains panelling in oak and walnut, marble fireplaces, decorated ceilings and an ArtDeco decorative ceiling.
A residential development is planned for the 5.2 acre site, although this may be scrapped if conservation body English Heritage bows to an 800-signature petition and grants the building Grade II listed status.
Designed by architects Charles Holloway James and Steven Rowland Pierce, the hall's clock tower was also created by reputed sculptor Reg Butler.
In May 1984 the building was the site of the investiture of Britain's first black mayor, Councillor Lydia Simmons.
English Heritage have recommended to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that the building be given listed status, which has been welcomed by the Campaign to Save Slough Heritage group.
The group also argues that the building could become a new home for Slough Museum, and the council chamber could be licensed for civil weddings.
last updated: 29/01/2009 at 17:32
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