The Old Town Hall, Staines, Surrey, by John Johnson (1843-1920). Built in 1880 (see date by enlarging the close-up view). "[W]hat a town hall!" writes Chris Howkins. "Surely this is Surrey's finest ... built in 1880 with all its classical detailing picked out in white.... The detailing gives it dignity and a certain richness yet refrains from ostentation" (163-64). Another commentator describes it in more detail as "an ornate building of white brick and stone, diversified with painted ornamentation. It has two storeys, surmounted by a steeply pitched roof behind a parapet and a central clock-tower flanked by small corner towers" (Reynolds). An Associate of RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects), Johnson was praised in his obituary in the RIBA journal as "a rapid sketcher and excellent draughtsman" (Vol. 27, 1919/1920, p. 459). Amongst his other civic projects were the Anstice Working Men's Institute, Madeley, Shropshire (1870); and the considerably grander Leyton Town Hall of 1894-96.

Photographs, caption, and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


Howkins, Chris. Hidden Surrey Town & Country. Newbury: Countryside, 1990.

Reynolds, Susan, ed. "Staines: An Introduction." A History of the County of Middlesex. Vol. 3. Shepperton, Staines, and so on. 1962. Viewed 28 December 2007.

"Specification of works required to be used in erecting & completing the Town Hall for the Local Board of Staines," naming Johnson as the architect, item 442 in Royal Holloway and Bedford New College's "Oliver Collection." Consulted in 2007.

Last modified 16 April 2016