Mountview theatre school wins �500k lottery cash for move into Hornsey Town Hall

The iconic Hornsey Town Hall is a step closer to being transformed into a home for a leading drama school after the Heritage Lottery Fund pledged �500,000 to the project.

The Grade II listed building, off The Broadway in Crouch End, will be restored and brought into full use for the first time in a generation under a multimillion project to re-home Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in the building.

Sue Robertson, principal of Mountview, whose alumna include Britain’s Got Talent presenter Amanda Holden, said: “It is a great sign of their faith in the project to get this endorsement.

“Hornsey Town Hall is a beautiful building that deserves to be brought back to life.

“I think most people are convinced that this project is a win win - it gives us a home and keeps us in the borough, it provides a theatre for the public, which in the recession they wouldn’t be able to get any other way.”

The art deco building was designed in the 1930s by architect Reginald Uren and awarded a RIBA medal in recognition of its pioneering approach.

Its rooms, untouched for decades, were used as the atmospheric setting for the BBC hit television programme The Hour.

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But its future was thrown into doubt when owners Haringey Council announced in 2003 that the building was surplus to requirements.

Mountview theatre school, which takes its name from its first home in Crouch End’s Mount View Road, is embarking on a �19million project to restore the building and create a new theatre and education spaces within the site.

Around half the money will come form the sale of land at the back of the old town hall, but the theatre has to raise the rest itself.

Ms Robertson said the theatre had been waiting for the lottery’s public endorsement before it began canvassing its former students for donations.

“We have been waiting to reach the important milestone of getting Heritage Lottery funding,” she said. “Now we have got that sign of support for our project we hope to tap into other funding.”

Cllr Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Council, said “This is terrific news, both for Mountview and for Crouch End.”

Sue Bowers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “Hornsey Town Hall is a wonderful heritage gem in the heart of north London and a fine example of 1930s architecture and design.”