The history of the Civic Centre

Learn about the build and design features of the Civic Centre in Uxbridge.

The build

The Civic Centre was designed by architects, Robert, Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners to contrast with other buildings in Uxbridge town centre, yet blend with local styles at the time. 

Inside, the traditional town hall layout of small offices was abandoned in favour of open-plan office floors, linked to a civic suite of meeting rooms, councillors' offices, the Mayor's parlour, the council chamber, civic hall and registry office. 

Building work started in 1973 and was undertaken by a main contractor, Higgs and Hill, together with 40 major sub-contractors.  

Traditional materials were used, including red bricks and pitched tiled roofs, were used (similar to those that can be seen on homes throughout the borough. 

Covering an area of 8 acres, including extensive gardens and the paved entrance square, the building cost £18.5million. 

Official opening 

The Civic Centre opened to the public in 1976 and the complex was completed in several further phases during the next 18 months. 

The building was officially opened on 28 April 1979 by the-then Chairman of the British Airports Authority, Norman J Payne, CBE. 

Bones staircase in the Civic Centre
Eye-catching wood sculpture by John Phillips.
Design features 

Above the reception area doorway is a large stained-glass window, designed by Mrs Jane Gray. Its theme is town twinning, with the stained glass forming Hillingdon's official badge and the halved coats-of-arms of the borough's twin towns of Mantes-la-Jolie in France and Emden and Schleswig, both in Germany. 

Inside the civic suite, an eye-catching yew wood sculpture hangs the length of the stair well. This is made up of 14 abstract pieces weighing a total of 350kg. The sculptor, John Phillips, saved the wood from destruction when the trees were cut down in nearby Buckinghamshire to make way for the M40. 

At the top of the staircase, is the Mayoral Roll. The names of Hillingdon's Mayors are recorded on this slate panel. The decorative border is made up of all the letters of the alphabet and was designed by the original artist, David Kindersley, as a guide for future engravers. 

In May 2018, buildings across England considered post-modern in design were given listed status, including the Civic Centre. Read more on the BBC's website 

Page last updated: 20 Jan 2022