Left Column

History




The Iconic Building...





The main six storey building was designed by Ralph Knott.
It is faced in Portland stone in an Edwardian Baroque style. The construction, which was undertaken by Holland, Hannen & Cubitts, was started in 1911 and the building was opened in 1922 by King George V. The North and South blocks, which were built by Higgs and Hill were added between 1936 and 1939. The Island block was not completed until 1974.


 

About the Architect:

 

Ralph Knott was a British architect responsible for building the massive 6-storey "Edwardian Baroque" style County Hall building for the London County Council. Knott was a native of Chelsea and was the youngest son of Samuel Knott, a tailor, and his wife, Elizabeth née White, from Dorset.

 

After attending the City of London School he was articled to Wood and Ainslie, architects. He was taught etching by Frank Brangwyn at the Architectural Association and when his articles were finished, joined Sir Aston Webb.

Webb was a keen participant in architectural competitions and Knott's etching skill was valued in winning them. He drew the etchings which enabled Webb to win the competition for the Queen Victoria memorial outside Buckingham Palace, also working on the designs of Admiralty Arch and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

 

The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 646 members, who are known as "Members of Parliament" or MPs. Members are elected, through the first-past-the-post system, by electoral districts known as constituencies, and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved (a maximum of five years after the preceding election).

 

A House of Commons evolved at some point in England during the 14th century and, in practice, has been in continuous existence since, becoming the House of Commons of the United. In 1908 Knott set up his own practice together with E. Stone Collins. The first substantial commission they applied for was for offices for the London County Council.

 

Despite many very well-known names entering, Knott won at the age of 29.The Designs for the construction were bought to life by the architect and perspectivist Alick Horsnell.


His design was altered significantly before construction began, including the familiar semicircular terrace being moved from the land to the river-side of the building.

Construction was held up by the First World War, during which Knott worked on designs for Royal Air Force bases, and partially completed in 1922 (except for the northern third). In June 1921 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

After the opening of County Hall, Knott built some notable buildings, including two departmental office blocks at Stormont near Belfast. In 1925 he designed the pavilion at the City of London School's new athletics grounds in Grove Park. The building was a memorial to the alumni of the school who had perished in the First World War, and he donated his services free of charge. He had begun the work on the last part of County Hall in 1928 but it remained uncompleted at his death.