Nottingham Architects, T Cecil Howitt

A tour of the Council House with the former Lord Mayor

Earlier this year, the former Lord Mayor of Nottingham Wendy Smith accompanied me on the Watson Fothergill Walk… this week she invited me to take a tour of the interior of the Council House with her. As a former mayor, she knows more than most about this historic building. Completed in 1929, it was designed by architect Thomas Cecil Howitt. Inside there are lots of beautiful original details, domes, stained glass, walnut wood panelling and made-to-measure furniture. Here are some photos from my visit.

The interior dome over the central staircase
Mural by Noel Denholm Davis representing “commerce” and statue “Welcome” by William Reid Dick
Council Chamber ceiling and frieze by sculptor Joseph Else
The author takes a turn in the Mayor’s chair in the Council Chamber. (It’s on rails so you can hutch up!)
The Ballroom (being made ready for a Citizenship Ceremony) view from the minstrel’s gallery.
Beautiful original Electroliers in The Ballroom (electric light chandeliers).
The view out over the Exchange Arcade (Murals by Noel Denholm Davis just visible) The rents from the shops help pay for the upkeep of the building. The Exchange Arcade was inspired by Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.
The architect of Nottingham’s Council House Thomas Cecil Howitt (photo displayed in the Lord Mayor’s parlour) – he also built some of Nottingham Council Housing in the post WW1 period, the Home Brewery and Raleigh’s HQ.
Stained Glass from the original Exchange Building which was demolished in 1926 to make way for this building. , representing architecture. (Lord Mayor’s Parlour)
Telephone Booth in the entrance of The Council House (one of a pair with the Enquiries booth).

All photos taken by Lucy Brouwer.

If you’d like to book a tour of the Council House please contact Nottingham City Council via this link. (Please don’t contact me – only special volunteers can lead the free tours!) You can also hire rooms in The Council House for weddings and special occasions.

Huge thanks to Wendy for showing me around and telling me all about the rooms, their functions and the history of the building.

I still have a few copies of Nottingham Civic Society’s book on the Council House with some excellent colour photos by Martine Hamilton Knight – available for sale in the webshop.

An earlier photo of the Council House by Lucy Brouwer

Remember to look up next time you’re in town and notice the decorations (sculptures by Joseph Else and his students outside and Noel Denholm Davis inside the Exchange Arcade) on Nottingham’s magnificent Council House!