The Council House

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The artist

Wren Sant

Wren Sant is an artist currently studying Foundation BTEC Art and Design at Walsall College, and most of her recent art is inspired by Russian Constructivism and Bauhaus. She is enjoying the use of bold primary colours, line work, typography, and geometrical shapes in her art. She especially appreciates taking the abstract components and combining them with collage to produce multi-layered pieces. Currently she is experimenting, taking her collage art and turning them into lino prints, creating unique and bold pieces of art. She also advocates disability and mental health awareness in her art. For example, some of her current work focuses on hidden disabilities and ableism in our society. She aspires to pursue a career in graphic design as she enjoys eye-catching art and branding.

The location

The foundation stone for the new building was laid by Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein on 29 May 1902. The building, which was designed by James Glen Sivewright Gibson in the Baroque style, was built at a cost of £98,400 (equivalent to £10.8 million nowadays and was completed in 1905. It was built adjoining Walsall Town Hall which had been commissioned a few years earlier as a public assembly hall. The main entrance to the council house was designed with a round head and Ionic order columns; the ground floor was styled with round-headed windows and projecting keystones while the bays on the first and second floors were separated by large Composite order columns. A large tower was erected at the east end of the building with open balconies on each side and a roof lantern above. The carvings on the exterior of the council house, including the seated female figure of Justice above the entrance, were designed by Henry Charles Fehr.

The council chamber inside the building was fitted out with fine neoclassical plasterwork as well as Ionic order columns and pilasters. A wooden board listing all the town mayors who have served since 1377 was erected on the wall of the council chamber ante-room. The council house served as the headquarters of the county borough of Walsall and, following the implementation of the Local Government Act 1972, continued to serve as the local seat of government of the enlarged Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, visited the council house as part of her silver jubilee celebrations and signed the visitors' book on 27 July 1977.

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