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Preserving the Historic Town Hall: Tales of a Tapestry

02 September 2020
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One of the earliest examples of modernist architecture in Britain, Hornsey Town Hall is brimming with iconic fixtures and fittings. The team at Make Architects have been working hard to restore these period features, from repairing the building’s distinctive brick facade to refurbishing the original 1930s furniture and returning the art deco clock back to full working order.

They’re currently focusing on the historic Council Chambers, where the councillors of Hornsey Borough would meet to discuss and debate local issues. In 1966, Hornsey Borough Council became part of the neighbouring London Borough of Haringey, and without regular use and maintenance, many of the Chambers’ original features began to fall into disrepair. One such feature was the decorative wall tapestries, which would have dressed both sides of the room, emphasising its scale and grandeur.

Tapestries have long been a part of regional and national identity. Historically, they were valued for their portability. Unlike paintings, they could be rolled up and transported from one location to the next. Medieval kings and noblemen would hire weavers to depict religious imagery or scenes from battle, and the resulting tapestries would travel with them from manor to manor.

Over time, tapestries came to mean more than just ‘portable paintings’, and became an artistic medium in their own right. The 20th century saw tapestries become a vehicle for more abstract forms of expression. Those hanging in the Council Chambers of Hornsey Town Hall employed graphic lines and a metallic-type thread to complement the design of the building, reflecting the function and minimalism central to modernist architecture.

Unfortunately, these original tapestries have fallen victim to time, but Make Architects have teamed up with Hines of Oxford to create a modern-day replica. Drawing on archival information and photographs from the time, they’ve identified the same metallic-type thread and dyed cotton used on the originals, creating a bespoke tapestry that transports the glories of the past into the present day.

Hines of Oxford adds, “We’re very excited to be involved in the Hornsey Town Hall Council Chambers restoration project. We always welcome custom projects to replicate original tapestries, bringing life and personality back to these wonderful spaces. The Council Chambers are particularly captivating, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with Make to weave a beautiful tapestry that will last for many decades to come.”

 

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The Marketing Suite for Hornsey Town Hall is now open by appointment only.

If you do not wish to travel, virtual viewings are still available.

To arrange an appointment, please call Patrizia.

Address HORNSEY TOWN HALL, THE BROADWAY, CROUCH END, LONDON N8 9JJ
Hornsey Town Hall is a development by CROUCH END (FEC) LIMITED, Ground Floor, 12 Stanhope Gate, London, W1K 1AW, England (a company incorporated in England and Wales with company number 10448866).
Computer-generated images (CGIs) are indicative only and should not be relied upon as depicting the final as built development or apartment.