City Hall, Bristol, UK

Vincent Harris
Date Built
Completed 1952
College Green
This building owes its design to the 1930s but because of the war it wasn’t built until the 1950s.  It began life as Bristol’s “Council House” but in 2012 the incoming Mayor at that time renamed it City Hall.  The Grade II* building was designed by Vincent Harris, described in the citation from English Heritage as, “... the most celebrated civic architect of the first half of the C20.”

The City Hall has a concrete frame clad in what are described as, “very wide, thin bricks” with a dressing of Portland Stone. 

It features a steep roof and on each end of the building stand gilded unicorns.


The building is concave in shape with a moat-like pool of water. 

A Portland stone sculpture of an Elizabethan seaman takes pride of place in front of the entrance to the Council House.  It was created by Charles Wheeler circa 1950.

When it was listed in 1981, the inside was described as, “sparsely decorated in monumental manner and faced in plain ashlar; details include a central axial passage, and  good lamps in the entrance lobby, which has a marble floor;  complete original fittings throughout, those to the Committee Rooms being of particular note; horological clock in entrance hall; painted ceilings in the Council Room by John Armstrong  on the theme of Bristol and its history, and in the Conference Room by WT Monnington on the theme of molecular and atomic fusion.”