Merton Civic Centre will be opening its doors to the public over the London Open House weekend giving residents and visitors a rare opportunity to see areas of the building not normally readily accessible to the public.
Tours will include a visit to the roof viewing platform, office areas and the Council Chamber and will last about half an hour.
Crown House: It was Morden's location at the end of the Northern Line providing vastly enhanced transport links that was responsible for its rapid development from a sleepy village to a bustling residential suburb during the 20th Century. The proximity of the station made Morden an ideal location for new office development.
Originally a speculative office and supermarket scheme, with the grand title of 'Morden Development', the main tower building was designed in 1959 by A. Green ARIBA and was built between 1960 and 1962. The engineers were Clarke, Nicholls and Marcel and the builder Bernard Sunley & Sons.
The building was named Crown House after the public house that originally occupied a corner of the site. The new building, which originally comprised offices with a large supermarket at ground floor level also incorporated a new public house (The Crown).
The Civic Centre: In the 1980s Merton Council acquired the building and refurbished the offices and replaced the supermarket with a new extension designed by 'Organised Office Developments' which incorporated new lending and reference libraries and a modern Council Chamber with an entrance to the newly created Civic Centre which was opened in April 1985.
There are two plaques on the ground floor, one dated May 1962 in commemoration of the date the building was open and the other April 1985 commemorating the opening of the Civic Centre.
Merton – a Green Council: Merton Council in south London has recently been named as among the greenest councils in Britain. The recognition is largely a result of its innovative 'Merton Rule' that requires renewable energy production capability be incorporated in all new developments above a certain size.
In 2007 Merton demonstrated its willingness to practice what it preaches when it installed four wind turbines on the roof of the Civic Centre. The wind turbines can be seen from the roof viewing platform which is open to the public over the Open House weekend. Monitors are located within the adjacent lobby showing the amount of electricity being generated. The turbines are expected to generate enough power to run around 100 computers.
The roof also provideds dramatic views of the London skyline, and in the distance, to the north the Millennium Wheel can be observed and further to the west the new Wembley Stadium.
The roof viewing platform is available for schools visits by arrangement with the Council's Facilities Management Team.