History

North & South Blocks of County Hall were built by the British construction company Higgs and Hill, who built several other of London’s iconic buildings, including Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Hayward Gallery, The London Fire Brigade Headquarters, London Television Centre (all still to be found on the South Bank of the River Thames), as well as the Tate Britain art gallery and BBC Television Centre.

The two blocks were built between 1936 and 1939 to extend the office space of the London County Council, who occupied the buildings up until its abolition in 1965, whereupon it was occupied by the newly formed Greater London Council until it was disbanded in 1986.

The buildings run along York Road, between Westminster Bridge Road and Chicheley Street, and are still adorned with architectural features which allude to its past heritage. In particular, the Coat of Arms awarded to London County Council by the Royal College of Arms in 1914 features prominently in various places.

More information on the history and architecture of North & South Blocks can be found at the British History Online website.

A further ‘island’ block was built in 1974, situated at the easterly end of Westminster Bridge, behind South Block.

The GLC was dissolved in 1986 and in 1995 North & South Blocks were converted into their current usage jointly by Galliard Homes & Frogmore Property.

The island block was not incorporated into the redevelopment and, prior to its demolition in 2006 to make way for the development of the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, had become a derelict eye-sore.

After completion of the redevelopment of North & South Blocks, East & West Blocks were added as new-build developments. Both North and East Blocks, and South and West Blocks  form roughly rectangular outlines each enclosing a private courtyard, with the public Forum Magnum Square separating the two pairs.