Former town hall now in arts and community use. Palazzo style with stone dressings, vast arched windows to the upper Hall, and grand Portland stone and iron staircase.
A & C Harston,
The former Limehouse Town Hall was built in 1878-81 and designed by A. & C. Harston, who also designed Poplar Town Hall. It is located next to the Limehouse Cut canal and the Docklands area, a former gateway to Africa and Asia from which flowed both the material resources and the seamen whose descendants continue to contribute to a dynamic local culture.
A white brick palazzo with stone dressings, arched moulded windows, channelled angle piers, central pediment and strong projecting cornice, set on the edge of St Anne’s churchyard, the building is listed grade II and sadly remains on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register.
Limehouse has been at the centre of the development of trade and industry through its proximity to the docks and has witnessed groups of immigrants enriching the culture of Tower Hamlets, from Chinese and Somali merchant seamen, to economic migrants in the 70s and asylum seekers and refugees from the 18th to the 21st centuries. The building has been used as a Museum of Labour History, council offices and shelter for the homeless. Dignitaries and social reformers such as George Lansbury and Clement Attlee (and possibly even Gladstone) have spoken here, and the building was visited by George V during his Silver Jubilee.
The building is currently used by a number of charities, small community focused businesses and an association of artists. Although there is some public access to the building for educational/artistic events and programmes, full-scale public access and events are hindered by the unmodernised condition of the building.
The Limehouse Town Hall Consortium Trust
Since 2004 the building has been held on a 25 year lease from Tower Hamlets Council by the Limehouse Town Hall Consortium Trust, which maintains the building and has been developing plans and fundraising for urgently needed repairs.
Funding to date has been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the European Regional Development Fund through Leaside Regeneration, the Pilgrim Trust, the Architectural Heritage Fund and Section 106 funding via the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation (IDCF).
The Trust intends to repair, modernise and adapt Limehouse Town Hall to improve accessibility, open the building more frequently to the public and engage with the local community, provide new heritage learning opportunities, and underpin the building’s economic sustainability.
If you would like any further information on the building and its future, or to help the work of the Trust, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at LTHCT, 646 Commercial Road, London E14 7HA