The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Society challenges backlash over Plymouth Civic Centre listing

The listing at Grade II of Plymouth’s Civic Centre has caused a furore in the city. The Twentieth Century Society asked English Heritage to assess it in April 2006, due to its innovative design, important art collections and its historical significance to Plymouth’s rebirth after the devastation of WWII—we were convinced that it was a nationally important example of post war architecture

The result of the decision by EH to list the centre, has meant that The Twentieth Century Society has come under fire from local people, the local press and local politicians, three of whom have recently handed a petition to Downing Street to get the decision overturned.

A flood of emails, and letters, many using language not suitable for a press release, have come into the office expressing acute displeasure about our actions but on the flip-side, we are pleased to note that we have also had a great deal of support from people in Plymouth.

Assuming the building remains listed (and no evidence to challenge the relevant critieria has been produced to date) , what is needed now is proper, open debate about its future and a full assessment of the costs of refurbishment or re-use. Figures in the press have so far ranged from £10 million to £40 million, suggesting that no detailed assessment has ever been made.

English Heritage have here made a landmark decision, not just for Plymouth, but for the preservation of our post-war heritage nationally. The C20 Society, despite the local storm, remain convinced that this is a significant building that should lie at the heart of the city’s current regeneration and will be an asset to future generations.



For more information, please contact:
Jon Wright, Casework Officer, The Twentieth Century Society on (020) 7250 3857 or jon.wright(at)