London, United Kingdom
April 11, 2002
The land was originally part of St. Mary’s Lambeth, and was called Peddler’s Acre after the varying myths over a peddler who had owned the land and bequeathed it to the church. The London County Council bought the land to built its large new home on and the building was mostly finished in 1922, with extra bits added until the late 1950s. While the foundations were being dug for the Hall a number of interesting Roman artefacts were found, including part of a wall and a Roman boat which was dug up and transferred to the Museum of London.
The Hall itself is a grand, enormous building. It’s built with a huge sem-circle in the centre, and two wings extending out along the river. The building’s grey stone, with columns along the front and a green, seemingly leaded, tower or spire above the centre and green leading along the windows where the walls meet the roof.
The Hall is no longer a local government building – it contains two hotels, a Marriott and a Travel Inn, and some flats, a gym, a couple of restaurants, and tourist attractions. The London Aquarium is here - this is a good place to take young children fed up with the round of old churches, national buildings and Old Masters! The variety of sea life here is amazing – with over a million litres of water, this is one of the largest aquaria in Europe. There’s a huge shark tank, and a recreation of a coral reef which is astonishing in its complexity.
Also in and around the County Hall is an exhibition of works by Salvador Dali, with a particular emphasis on his sculptures. Although you have to pay to get into the exhibition inside the Hall (about £7 for adults), there are some large works in front of the Hall, on the bank of the Thames, which can be seen by anyone walking past. They’re all huge – some 25 feet high, and can be seen even from the other side of the river, by Westminster.
The nearest tubes are Waterloo and Westminster.