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County Hall

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County Hall

County Hall is a building in Lambeth, London, that was used as the headquarters of London County Council and later the Greater London Council (GLC). Today it is the site of many business and attractions including Saatchi Gallery, Dali Universe and the London Aquarium, as well as two hotels and several restaurants. Other parts of the building have been converted into flats and the London Eye has been built on its grounds.

It is situated on the bank of the River Thames, just north of Westminster Bridge. It faces west towards the City of Westminster. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo and Westminster.

History

The main building was designed by Ralph Knott and is six storeys, faced in Portland Stone and is in an 'Edwardian Baroque' style. Construction was started in 1911 and it was opened in 1933 by King George V. The later buildings (North, South and Island blocks) were completed later, the last in 1974.

For sixty-four years County Hall served as the headquarters of local government for London. Latterly, during the period in the 1980s when the powerful GLC (led by Ken Livingstone) was locked in conflict with the British Government (housed conveniently in the Palace of Westminster, on the opposite bank), the facia of County Hall frequently served as a billboard for slogans directed squarely at the government. When the Thatcher government abolished the GLC in 1986, County Hall lost its role as the seat of London's governance. The building was transferred to the London Residuary Body and eventually sold off to private investors.

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