We are proud to be hosting this year’s event in the impressive County Hall – Westminster Bridge, with breathtaking views over The Houses of Parliament & Big Ben. Located next to The London Eye, Waterloo and Westminster underground stations are a six-minute walk – for venue map click here.
Designed by architect Ralph Knott, County Hall was officially opened by King George V and Queen Mary on 17 July 1922 after construction began prior to the First World War in 1911.
Further improvements were made to it until 1933. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the north and south wings, which were erected in 1939. Additional changes to the complex, as well as repairs of World War II air-raid damage, were completed by 1963, and the “Island Block” was added in 1974.
For 64 years, County Hall served as the headquarters of local government for London, initially the London County Council and later the Greater London Council.
The octagonal Council Chamber sits at the centre of County Hall, and provided seating for over 200 council members and four galleries overlooking the Chamber for the public and members of the press.
During the 1980s the then powerful Labour-controlled GLC led by Ken Livingstone was locked in conflict with the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. Since the Parliament buildings were just across the river from County Hall, the façade of County Hall frequently in more than one year of her tenure served as a billboard for opposition slogans. When the government of Margaret Thatcher abolished the GLC in 1986, County Hall lost its role as the seat of London’s government.
Westminster Bridge crosses the River Thames close to the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament. Built between 1738 and 1750, it was the second bridge built to cross the Thames. The current bridge, however, was designed by Thomas Page and opened in 1862. With a total length of 76.2 m spanning the seven arches and a width of 26 m, Westminster Bridge is a metallic bridge with Gothic details designed by Charles Barry (the architect who designed the Houses of Parliament). The bridge is well-known for its special green colour.