Town Hall - Buildings, people and power shines light on the beauty, guts and glory of our civic buildings.

Some of the country’s most beautiful civic buildings could be under threat following a decade of austerity. Our stunning new coffee table book highlights 32 of the country’s municipal town halls and civic centres in a series of stories told by local government experts and employees, politicians, architects and historians.

The buildings include architectural Victorian gems like Todmorden Town Hall – sometimes called the most beautiful town hall in the country, bold art deco buildings like Waltham Forest and modern civic centres of concrete and red brick.

Author and Editor of Town Hall, Dawn Reeves said: “These stories are fascinating because they’re told by the people who work in our municipal buildings, care about them or understand their importance in our towns and cities. But increasingly these buildings are taken for granted and can become symbols of a bureaucracy that doesn’t work.

“That means when councils are wrestling with making difficult decisions about cuts to frontline services after a decade of austerity, they have to look at the cost of maintaining and preserving their civic headquarters – they’re often old, expensive and in need of repair – and ask themselves if they can still afford them.

“And yet so many important stories about local government happen inside these amazing, beautiful, ugly, impractical and sometimes contested buildings that are the civic heart of a place. This is where local democracy lives.”

Sir Michael Quicke, of CCLA, who sponsored the book said: “This book celebrates our great municipal buildings - the good, the bad and the ugly - and invites people to look at them and their councils afresh.”