Below shows an image of how the Civic originally looked. At the time of the photo, the building was called The Jarrow Mechanics Institute. On 22nd July 1863, Mrs Jane Palmer of the Palmer Ship Building Family, laid the foundation stone. The buildings famous clock was a gift from Lady Northbourne, who also gave Christ Church to the people of Jarrow.
The building was gifted to the town by famous shipbuilding magnate Sir Charles Mark Palmer in 1877. The building boasted an extensive library and reading rooms, again, donated by Palmer. The Mechanics’ Institute went on to become the town’s most famous dance hall, throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s, when it was popularly known as ‘The Max’.