The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Plymouth Civic Centre, Photo © Grace Etherington

40 Buildings Saved

12. Plymouth Civic Centre

Status: Listed Grade II
Architect: Hector Stirling with Jellicoe, Ballantyne & Coleridge
Owners: Plymouth City Council
Location: Princess Street, Plymouth


The former Civic Centre, which was opened by the Queen in 1962, was one of the last elements added to the ambitious plan to re-build Plymouth city centre following the devastating bombing of WWII. Departing from the relatively traditional scale and urban design of the rest of the plan, the building designed by the city architect Hector Stirling with Jellicoe, Ballantyne & Coleridge, included a tall office slab and lower Civic Hall and Council Chamber, set in a landscape of paving and ornamental pools. The interior included artwork by John Hutton, Hans Tisdall and Mary Adshead. For the first time, all of the city’s municipal departments were housed together.


Around the year 2000, the city council felt the building was becoming too expensive to maintain and too large for its needs.


Fearing it was going to be demolished, the C20 Society made a successful application for listing at Grade II.  This created a storm of protest and several city councillors unsuccessfully lobbied DCMS to reverse their decision. C20 remained resolute that the building had the potential to be successfully adapted to new uses.


Now it is poised to be reinvented as part of a housing and retail scheme by Urban Splash, but C20 remains concerned about alterations to the well-designed hard landscape and water pools at the base of the building as well as unsympathetic alterations to the façade.

Search 40 Buildings Saved

Browse the list of the 40 buildings or search for individual buildings or architects.

  • Search

  • Or