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Thursday 23 January 2020

Frances O’Grady formally opens Centenary House


The FDA has now moved into its new home at Centenary House, 93-95 Borough High Street, which was formally opened by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady on 22 January 2020.

History and sustainability

Our new head office is a Grade II listed building on one of London’s oldest streets, within a Conservation Area in the London Borough of Southwark.

A testament to this area’s historical significance, an archaeological investigation under the building ahead of construction work unearthed a total of 166 shards of Roman pottery, as well as a range of fabrics from the second century. Over the past two years it has undergone an extensive redevelopment. Great care has been taken to retain the building’s historical charm, while ensuring it is a fully accessible, modern workplace.

We have been keen to make sure that the development of Centenary House is undertaken as sustainably as possible. Projects of this nature generate a considerable amount of waste and a total of 6.7 tonnes of waste has been removed from the site. We’re pleased to say that 97% of this waste has been recycled and turned into new substance or product, with none of the waste from the site being sent to landfill.

A space for the FDA and beyond

While the top three floors provide ample space for the FDA’s head office staff, the new building is intended to be much more than just a head office. The ground floor provides a 70-seat capacity, theatre-style conference facility, which will serve as a vital resource for FDA members to host branch meetings, conferences and training events.

This is a flexible space, with adjustable dividing walls giving the options of three smaller meeting rooms to suit members’ needs. It is also complimented by fully-stocked catering facilities, complete with state-of-the-art kitchen and a large breakout area.

These improved facilities will also give the union the opportunity to develop a commercial income stream, helping to mitigate day-to-day costs and complement the FDA’s long-term financial planning to keep subscriptions rates affordable.

New home, new name

FDA’s headquarters is very much our members’ building and, as such, we wanted to give members the chance to name their union’s new home. All current FDA, Keystone and MiP members were eligible to take part and we were sent through a wide range of suggestions from all corners of the union, with themes including the history of the FDA and the civil service.

A judging panel, made up of Executive Committee members as well as staff representatives, considered building’s new official name. Centenary House was chosen to celebrate how far the union has come in its first 100 years and mark this significant step forward as we enter our second century. Following this theme, the building’s new conference and meeting facilities have also been named. It will be known as the Dame Alix Kilroy Suite, after our extraordinary first woman leader, elected in 1944 (when the union was run
by its President).

Securing our union’s future

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman described the purchase of Centenary House as “a vital part of our long-term financial planning to secure the union’s

“This will be the first time in its history that the FDA has owned a property,” Penman said. “So, it’s fitting for it to officially open following the celebrations of our centenary. This will help boost income for the union and allow us to expand our offer to members with greater capacity for FDA Learn events, seminars and training for reps.

“Over the longer term, Centenary House will help to provide strong financial foundations for the union as an accumulating asset and ultimately an opportunity to be mortgage free, saving the FDA around 8% of its running costs.”

We hope to welcome as many members as possible to their union’s new home, so do keep an eye out for a wide-range of events and conferences throughout the year.

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Find us
FDA, Centenary House, 93-95 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1NL