The Story Of The Great Hall
Until the mid 19th Century, Leyton was a rural parish in south-west Essex, but the expansion of London and industrial revolution transformed it into a London suburb.
Before the First World War, the current Great Hall in particular which was the former Leyton Town Hall was used for showings of early silent moving pictures and reputedly seated an audience of approximately 300 people.
The Leyton Town Hall was opened by Mr James Gallaher, Chairman of the Board in August 1894 and the building was opened in 1896. It was designed in a rich Victorian eclectic classical manner and built using a combination of red brick and Portland stone. The main body of the old Town Hall is surmounted by a decorative timber and lead fleche, which still dominates the local skyline.
The official opening of the building was on the 18th March 1896 by the Duke and Duchess of York (who subsequently became King George V and Queen Mary) at a grand civic ceremony presided over by Councillor Edward Bare LP Chairman of the Leyton Urban District Council.
The Town Hall became known as Leyton Municipal Offices in 2006 and, in recognition of its special architectural and historic interest, it was Grade ll Listed in 1986.
Michael Polledri MBE, chairman of Lee Valley Estates, had long been interested in what has been constantly described as the most beautiful building within the Borough. When the opportunity to purchase the site came about in 2007, Michael and his team put together a successful bid and secured the property from Waltham Forest Council with a primary focus on protecting and enhancing the Grade II site.
A recent addition made by businessmen Michael Polledri is a gallery of framed photographs and programmes in the entrance charting the building’s history so that visitors can be reminded of its significant place in local government history.