Coventry University in Dagenham

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Coventry University in Dagenham

Coventry University in Dagenham

Dagenham Civic Centre

The Civic Centre in Dagenham is a large, grade II listed municipal building in Becontree Heath, an area within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The building was designed in Art Deco by the prolific municipal building designer E. Berry Webber in 1936 and was completed the following year. The building currently consists of 550 local authority staff from the Dagenham and Rainham constituency. In 2017 it is due to be refurbished and will be the site of the new university CU London.

 

History

The National Government of the United Kingdom purchased 135 acres under a private Act of Parliament in August 1928 with the intention of using the area as public space. Planners decided to earmark the entrance to the area, since named Central Park, as the site of a new municipal building which was intended to be the work premises for members of the local authority.

Construction of the Civic Centre began in 1936 and was completed in around October the following year. It was built to an Art Deco design by E. Berry Webber who was a prolific designer of English municipal buildings. Berry Webber originally intended for it to be part of a complex which was also to include a fire station, library, shops, assembly hall and theatre. The plan never came to fruition. The building featured lily ponds within the grounds which became known as “blue lagoons” by the locals. The ponds were illuminated and filled with goldfish. The fish gradually died out, and in 1953 the ponds were filled in.

The foundation stone was laid by Harry Snell, 1st Baron Snell on 11 July 1936.  It was officially opened on 16 October the following year by Sir Kingsley Wood who was at that time the Secretary of State for Health.

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