Set in a niche with two recessed panels, receding like columns, at either side. Standing on columnar plinth with fluted base, overlapping moulded cornice at base like a sill.
Standing male figure, robed and bearded, hands clasped in front and looking down. Portrait of William Morris, whose childhood home was nearby. Walthamstow's crest (on frieze of Assembly Hall) has the motto "Fellowship is life and lack of fellowship is death".
Walthamstow Town Hall was designed by P.D. Hepworth as a result of a competition in 1932 attracting 70 competitive entries. The building was not actually begun until the end of 1937, and the onset of the Second World War meant that materials needed to be modified and scaled down in accordance with restrictions imposed by the war effort. Nonetheless, the completed building, finished in 1942, remains an impressive architectural feat. The original design incorporated five vacant niches at the rear of the building outside the council chamber. In 1938 Mr Hepworth proposed that five slightly larger than life-size figures representing allegorical virtues, activities and attributes should fill these niches. At a council meeting of the New Town Hall Committee held on Friday, 9 December 1938, three bids were considered to supply these figures, from Messrs Kavanagh, Armitage and Parker respectively, and
the bid from Mr. J.F. Kavanagh was accepted at a price of £88 each, totalling £440. These figures, all classical in style, were to represent:
"FELLOWSHIP" - placed centrally, and shown in the guise of William Morris, a native of the borough.
"MOTHERHOOD" - originally titled 'Maternity' but undergoing a change of name as a result of a later meeting of the New Town Hall Committee.
"EDUCATION" - like Motherhood shown as a female figure with a small child.
"WORK" - a male figure positioned to the extreme left of the group of five.
"RECREATION" - another male figure, on the extreme right flank of the group of figures, shown in Pharaonic pose standing, stylised, with one leg slightly raised as if stepping forward.
The figures were begun in December 1938 and formed part of the complete building, opening in 1942.
Related works : WF017 Motherhood, WF018 Education, WF019 Recreation, WF021 Work
PMSA recording information