Nottingham Council House is the city hall of Nottingham, England. The 200 foot high dome that rises above the city is the centrepiece of a skyline packed with elegant architecture and presides magnificently over the Old Market Square. This grand central open space of Nottingham, said to be the largest square in England, has been recently redesigned by Neil Porter of Gustafson Porter and opened in 2007.
It is claimed that the chimes of Little John (the deepest bell in the United Kingdom) that ring out from inside the dome can be heard for a distance of seven miles around the building itself.
Nottingham Council House was designed by Thomas Cecil Howitt and built between 1927 and 1929 in the neo-Baroque style characterised by the huge pillars that circle the building along with the carvings on the facade. The foundation stone (behind the left-hand lion as you approach the building) was laid by Alderman Herbert Bowles (Chairman of the Estates Committee), on 17 March 1927. The building was officially opened by H.R.H the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII and the Duke of Windsor) on 22 May 1929. The total cost of the building at the time was £502,876. By the time the bill was finally cleared in 1981, the total including interest was £620,294.
The building has staged many glittering occasions; royalty, statesmen and women and stars of the stage and screen have been entertained there and both the F.A. and European Cups have been held aloft from its balcony.
The ground floor is predominantly an upmarket shopping mall called Exchange Arcade which houses numerous boutique stores. This was included in the building's design to fund the Corporation's construction of the building, during the Great Depression. Murals underneath the Council House dome feature: the Danes capturing Nottingham in 868, William the Conqueror ordering the building of the castle in 1068, Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and King Charles I raising his standard at the start of the Civil war in 1642. Each mural was the work of local artist Denholm Davis. The artist used local celebrities as models. Thus T. Cecil Howitt himself appears in the guise of William the Conqueror's surveyor, and legendary Notts County goalkeeper Albert Iremonger as Little John.
The upper floors of the Exchange Arcade house council offices. On the North side, the space is given over to the planning and building control functions of the city council.
Howitt himself was in no doubt that the use of classical lines would mean that it would not look dated in a few years' time.
The most scathing criticism came from Pevsner in his Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire (published in 1951);
"Not much can be said in defence of this kind of neo-Baroque display at a date when the Stockholm Town Hall was complete and a style congenial to the C20 established. Wren has to answer for much, once the connection between Greenwich and this dome (via the Old Bailey?) is noted. The Ionic columniation is no more inspiring or truthful than the interiors. The only positive interest lies in the plan of the building. Its centre is a shopping arcade of great height with a glass roof, and shops run all along the ground floor on the N and S sides."
As a working building, the Council House is only normally open to tours by appointment only. An exception to this is during Heritage Open Days (in September each year).
Please contact the Civic Office on 0115 915 5014 or check the website Nottingham City Council - Council House Tours for more information.
Publication No. WO/2010/066119 Published on June 17, Assigned to Golden Valley Optoelectronics for Power Type Light-Emitting Diode (Chinese Inventors)
Jun 17, 2010; GENEVA, June 23 -- Huosheng Zhu, Yuehua Wang and Changyou Bian, all from China, have developed a power type light-emitting diode....