Wallasey Town Hall has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade II* by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport following advice from Historic England.
The upgrade recognises the exceptional architectural and historic significance of the building, highlighting its importance to the local community and its contribution to the heritage of Wallasey.
Originally listed in 1990 at Grade II, a recent review has upgraded the building due to its unusually monumental form, including a striking pyramidal tower crown and the renowned sculptor of its main tower features, William Birnie Rhind. At Grade II*, Wallasey Town Hall now stands alongside just 5.8% of England’s listed buildings, 91.7% of which are listed at Grade II.
The upgrade to Grade II* ensures the continued protection of Wallasey Town Hall for future generations by recognising its special character and the building’s unique features.
Built in 1914 and opened in 1920, Wallasey Town Hall was originally used as a military hospital during the First World War, serving more than 3,500 wounded soldiers.
Designed by renowned architects Briggs, Wolstenholme & Thornely, the town hall stands as a testament to the pride and ambition of the new borough created in 1913.
The architectural interest of Wallasey Town Hall includes a cascade of steps that command attention along the riverfront of the Mersey. The building’s exterior, constructed with cream Stancliffe sandstone, showcases a free Neo-Grecian style and embodies grandeur and a sense of civic identity.
The lavish interior, including the vast barrel-vaulted civic hall, boasts original fixtures and furnishings that have been well-preserved over the years.
Over the years, Wallasey Town Hall has witnessed several significant events, including visits by King George V, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth II. Despite undergoing alterations and modernisations, the building retains its architectural integrity and maintains a strong connection to local history and heritage.
Sarah Charlesworth, Listing Team Leader with Historic England, said, “Wallasey Town Hall is a very special piece of municipal architecture with a rich history, from treating First World War casualties, surviving a hit from a bomb in the Second World War, and hosting visits from three monarchs.
“We hope the upgraded listing will deepen people’s appreciation of this remarkable building and help to conserve it for future generations.”
Councillor Jerry Williams, Wirral’s Mayor and the Council’s Heritage Spokesperson, said, “It’s wonderful to see another of Wirral’s fantastic buildings being recognised in this way. Wallasey town hall is a landmark building on the banks of the Mersey and one of the most recognisable structures on our coast.
“For many years the town hall has also been the administrative centre for Wirral Council and while it is currently closed for maintenance and repairs while we look to bring forward regeneration in the area around it, Wallasey town hall will remain one of the iconic sights on Wirral’s skyline.”
Council leader Cllr Paul Stuart said, “The enhanced heritage status brings several benefits, including increased recognition, potential funding opportunities, and support for our restoration and conservation efforts across Wirral.
“The upgraded Grade II* status further solidifies Wallasey Town Hall’s role as a cultural landmark, preserving its place as a valued civic asset and source of community pride.
“Although currently closed to the public for refurbishment, we are excited by the upgrade in status and are moving forward in finalising a business plan to secure its permanent future. I look forward to the works being completed and the Town Hall being reopened and used to its full potential.”
Image: Historic England