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Civic Centre Southampton
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The Civic Centre in Southampton is the home of Southampton City Council.
It hosts the SeaCity Museum, council offices, the Guildhall venue, the well-endowed city art gallery, and the city library. It is a grade II listed building.
Since the 1870s, there was debate in the council over the housing of the borough offices: all departments were currently scattered around the town, making co-ordination and timely response fairly difficult, with the old Audit House opposite Holy Rood Church now being totally inadequate.
The first serious attempt at constructing a civic centre to accommodate these scattered departments occurred in 1924. In a public meeting in the following year, however, the proposals, presented by former mayor and alderman Sidney Kimber, were met with objections, including from notable residents, over its location, size, and practicality.
As a result, an architectural competition was held and the then-president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, J A Gotch, selected H Austen-Hall as the competition assessor. The designs of architect Ernest Berry Webber were chosen, involving four blocks, erected as separate contracts, but interconnected to create a distinct building. The plans were costed just within the £385,000 budget. In 1928, the necessary land was appropriated.
On 1 July 1930, Prince Albert, Duke of York, laid the foundation stone, in a ceremony presided over by mayor Hector Young.
April 2nd, 2013
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