When Hornsey Town Hall opened in 1935, there were 76 clocks all wired to the same mechanism, so that councillors didn't miss a meeting.

But by the early noughties, time had stopped for dispensing local government from its modernist halls, leaving the problem of how to fill the extensive, neglected, civic spaces.

Plans to turn the Grade II* listed building into a theatre school then a community arts venue failed - even as water coming through the roof left a mounting repair bill.

Ham & High: An impression of the lobby of Dao by Dorsett at Hornsey Town HallAn impression of the lobby of Dao by Dorsett at Hornsey Town Hall (Image: Dao by Dorsett)

To the disappointment of campaigners, Haringey Council decided the best solution was to sell to developers the Far East Consortium, who have built 146 flats on the former car park - some already occupied - and are restoring the Hall into a boutique hotel with community arts spaces.

Opening in late summer, the former council chamber, vast assembly rooms - where Queen played an early gig - a rooftop bar and cinema, basement room and co-working spaces will host film, music, dance, talks, comedy and performances run by Time + Space Co.

New food and drink outlets will overlook Town Hall Square where fairs, exhibitions, markets and festivals are promised to "bring the community together." Eleven social housing flats will be built atop the current marketing suite.Ham & High: The former council chamber will be restored and used as a community arts and events spaceThe former council chamber will be restored and used as a community arts and events space (Image: The Arts Centre operated by Time + Space)

Dao by Dorsett, the £200-a-night 'aparthotel' will have 68 studio and one-bed apartments with some, such as the former Borough Treasurer's room, boasting original timber panelling and ironmongery.

Architects Make are tasked with retaining Reginald Uren's original design features; windows, marble tiling, signage, chandeliers, door handles, walnut panelling, tapestries, the horseshoe of councillor's seats - and those clocks - will be restored or recreated and replaced.Ham & High: Hornsey Town Hall has 76 clocks all wired to the same mechanism to keep meetings on timeHornsey Town Hall has 76 clocks all wired to the same mechanism to keep meetings on time (Image: Bridget Galton)

Chris Meehan director of sales and marketing for Dorsett Hospitality said: "We're trying to make sure it's restored to its best, to retain as many original features as possible, and bring out the design of this unique location."

He sees the assembly hall as a "multi-purpose event space for the local community" hosting weddings and concerts just as it has for decades.

"A space the community can come and we are able to add value."Ham & High: The first floor committee room can be subdivided into smaller arts and events spacesThe first floor committee room can be subdivided into smaller arts and events spaces (Image: The Arts Centre operated by Time + Space)

Meanwhile the hotel will not be a "traditional short stay experience."

"The aparthotel concept was growing, but Covid, when everyone wanted to be in their own bubble, fastforwarded the trend. It means you get more space and the benefits of living at home, with a kitchenette to cook your own food, but still have a concierge and be able to order room service."

Given Crouch End's infamous lack of tube and train stations it could be a risky venture, but Meehan sees potential guests ranging from ticketholders to Ally Pally, to wedding parties and relatives visiting north Londoners.

Ham & High: The Rooftop bar overlooking Town Hall SquareThe Rooftop bar overlooking Town Hall Square (Image: The Arts Centre operated by Time + Space)

"There aren't many hotels in the area and there isn't anything like what we are doing," he says. "Rather than a risk we see an opportunity to complement this fantastic area with so many independent shops and restaurants. With this unique building we are looking for a more independent approach as opposed to the cookie cutter of the big brands, and a chance to build something and be part of a community."

David Winskill was born in Crouch End in 1965 and was a local councillor for 12 years. His earliest memory is of being wheeled down to the Town Hall for his vaccinations and he later collected his O level certificates there and got his first job in the post room. Like many locals he has myriad memories of jumble sales, pantos and concerts there.

"As I.T came in, The Town Hall went from having 15,000 to 4,000 people working there and gradually bits got mothballed and neglected until Haringey asked why have we still got it on the books?"

Ham & High: One of the proposed co-working spacesOne of the proposed co-working spaces (Image: The Arts Centre operated by Time + Space)

Before the Town Hall's final closure he recalls it bursting with small businesses and community arts - from silent discos to art exhibitions. A petition backed by the Crouch End Festival and Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Sociey aimed to keep it in community ownership.

"There are those in Crouch End who feel it's a done deal and just want to see it reopened, but others feel Haringey went a quick route and that in a place like Crouch End, with so many top artistic people living there, it should have been possible to come up with a community solution."

Ham & High: Hornsey Town Hall in the 1950s. Picture: Haringey Council

Hornsey Town Hall Timeline

1903 Hornsey becomes a borough administered from small offices in Southwood Lane, Highgate.

1921 Hornsey's population nudges 90,000 and a plot is purchased on Crouch End Broadway for a new municipal centre

1933 A competition is launched to design the new £100,000 centre including a 1,000 performance space and council chamber. New Zealand archictect Reginal Uren wins and work starts on the 27-year-old's design, influenced by Dutch modernist Whilhelm Dudok and including a 'Doge's tower' inspired by Venice.

1935 The Town Hall is opened by the Duke and Duchess of Kent and although one journalist compares it to a jam factory it wins several wards.

1963 The assembly hall hosts dances, pantomimes, political functions and concerts including Muswell Hill local Ray Davies who appears with The Ray Davies Quartet, and later returns fronting The Kinks.

1965 The GLC is formed. London's 100 boroughs become 33 with Hornsey Tottenham and Wood Green almalgamated to form Haringey Council, headquartered in Wood Green. Hornsey Town Hall continues to be used as offices including planning, careers, and social services.

1971 Queen play Hornsey Town Hall.

2000's The Town Hall is deemed surplus to requirement but is on English Heritage's at risk register.

2011 A multi-use £19 million regeneration plan including local theatre school Mountview is approved, but then falls through and Mountview relocate to Peckham.

2015 Hornsey Town Hall Community Interest Company bids to restore it for arts, community and educational use fails

2017 Haringey sells to the Far East Consortium and approves plans to build flats and restore the building.

2019 Work begins with a completion date of late summer 2023.