Local Victoriana: Surrey County Hall









It has occurred to me recently that one of the towns I live near too, Kingston-upon-Thames has some wonderful Victorian gems. So it seems like a good idea to include some of this that I can see, experience and photograph first hand!

Back in 1889 things were a changing and the Surrey County Council was in need a home. The council itself was new as South London had now become part of London proper (Surrey used to stretch up to the banks of the Thames) and it was no longer feasable for the Surrey Court of Quarter Sessions to be held at the Elephant and Castle at Sessions House as they had done for the last fifty years or so.

The question was where to relocate to. A link railway was now essential and on 15 April 1890 Kingston won the selection outflanking Guildford, Wimbledon, Epsom and Redhill.

The County Hall was built on a two acre site on what was called the Woodbines estate, Woodbines road now being the only reminder. It faced the main thoroughfare between central Kingston and Surbiton station. It was designed by Charles Henry Howel, came in at the cost £41,964 and was built by Higgs and Hill.

It is a beautiful building and has been extended to the left brilliantly and around the back to the right hideously.