Hornsey Town Hall, the Haringey Council-owned grade 2* listed building in the heart of Crouch End, is currently playing a major part in national and international TV and film productions. Its fine wood panelled rooms, marble staircases and unique exterior are in strong demand for comedies, period dramas and even major feature films.
Its most recent appearance is in Armando Iannucci’s highly-praised satirical take on politics, ‘In the Loop’ (released in UK cinemas on April 17th) doubling as the US State Department Building, where James ‘Tony Soprano’ Gandolfini spent a couple of days on-set filming with the British cast, including Crouch End resident, Peter Capaldi.
Other recent credits for Hornsey Town Hall include feature films Derailed (staring Jennifer Anniston and Clive Owen) where it appeared as a Chicago office Lobby and De Lovely (the biopic of Cole Porter with Kevin Cline and Ashley Judd) playing Art Deco New York.
Recent television credits include the drama series Whitechapel, Silent Witness, Moses Jones, The Curse of Steptoe,10 Days to War and Auf Wiedersehen Pet . The Town Hall has appeared as a police station, mortuary, hospital, post office, Whitehall, courthouse, theatre dressing room and Ugandan nightclub, Cuban Embassy and the Buena Vista Social Club.
The town hall exterior can also be seen in comedies as diverse as Peep Show (watch out for it in the opening sequence) and the classic ‘rom zom com’ Shaun of the Dead. It’s even extended to a brief appearance as a plush hotel lobby in a Lynx advert.
Hornsey Town Hall has also recently supported emerging local filmmakers, being used as a location for Haringey Council’s North London Film Fund short film projects.
The interior features are also currently on display as part of a major Stanley Kubrick exhibition in the BFI Southbank Gallery until 26th April. The distinctive wood panelled offices and marble staircases were used as a backdrop for ‘Unfolding the Aryan Papers’ – a re-imagining of Kubrick’s unfinished film project by Turner Prize nominated artists Jane & Louise Wilson (www.bfi.org.uk/gallery).
The income derived from these uses goes towards the maintenance and upkeep of this award-winning building, built in 1935 by Reginald Uren.
Plans to restore this local landmark as a major centre for arts and the community are now gathering momentum. A public exhibition is being planned for 12-14 June. The project is a culmination of a number of years work in partnership by Haringey Council and the Community Partnership Board.
The refurbishment project will be part-funded by the development of Brownfield land to the rear of the building. It is planned that the Hornsey Town Hall Creative Trust (the successor body to the Community Partnership Board) will take over the running of the building when restoration is completed in 2012. Award-winning architects, John McAslan+ Partners (whose recent projects include The Roundhouse and the De Le Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea), have been appointed to bring the building back to arts and community use as part of a team led by Capita Symonds Ltd.