The Great Hundred Club is a group of generous individuals who have collectively pledged more than £200,000 towards the restoration and redevelopment of our historic Grade II* listed building, the old Battersea Town Hall. In Part 1 of this series, we will celebrate their impact on preserving our building’s incredible heritage.
With support from The Great Hundred Club, we have been able to bring precious artefacts and our building’s radical history to life like never before. These generous donors have enabled us to carry out important restoration works to unique architectural features of Battersea’s old Town Hall, preserving them for future generations. Here are the key features that have been restored with support from The Great Hundred Club:
The Robert Hope-Jones Organ
Fortunately our unique theatre organ – a prototype of the Mighty Wurlitzer designed by Robert Hope Jones, a telephone engineer – was off site for restoration during the Grand Hall fire last year, so only the external casings were lost. What makes our Hope-Jones organ unique is its use of electric batteries, which was revolutionary for the time it was created. The Great Hundred Club’s contribution has allowed us to work with the top theatre organ restoration experts to carefully refurbish all its remaining parts. After it’s reinstated as part of the Grand Hall rebuild, it will be playable in its full glory for the first time in nearly 50 years. This means we will be able to use it for theatre shows (like in Orpheus) as well as for concerts, as it was when the Town Hall was built in 1893.
Jesse Rust’s Mosaic Floors
Jesse Rust, a glass-maker and chemist from Battersea, designed the colourful mosaic floor in our foyer when the Town Hall was built in 1893. During this phase of the Capital project, we’ve uncovered even more mosaic flooring around the building that had been hidden for decades. Our floors are one of the last remaining examples of Rust’s work in London, and the unique bee designs symbolise the collaborative spirit of the Battersea community. Support from the Great Hundred Club has enabled us to repair and relay damaged tiles with a specialist mosaic restoration company, and preserve them for future generations.
Our Painted Glass Dome
The glass dome above the Octagonal Hall was also rescued from the fire, suffering only minor smoke damage. The individual, leaded glass panels have been removed from their frame and are being repaired by specialists, to be reinstated when the Grand Hall works are complete. One of the most beautiful features of our building, the golden panes of the dome shine light onto two inscriptions, which read: “The purest treasure mortal times afford / Is spotless reputation – that away / Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay” (Richard II, William Shakespeare). The Great Hundred Club has enabled us to restore this remarkable piece of our building’s history and seal glass panes to protect the Octagonal Hall from leaks.