If you’ve ever paid a trip to Harrow Town Centre and seen the giant golden statue opposite Harrow on the Hill train station, you may have wondered what or who this remarkable sculpture is. Today, we’re going to take a look into the history of ‘Hygeia’ and find out a bit more behind the story.
The Hygeia Building in Harrow is a remarkable office building that was constructed in 1991. An impressive sight, arranged over the ground, mezzanine, and five upper floors surrounding a central atrium. The glass wall-climber lifts give the building an ultra-modern feel.
Located in Harrow Town Centre, directly opposite Harrow-on-the-Hill Underground station and bus stations, the Hygeia Building is one of the most prominent in the entire town. It is also situated adjacent to the two shopping centres of St Ann’s and St George’s, which was built around 5 years after.
One of the most notable features of the Hygeia Building is the huge statue of Hygeia located on the front at the top facing the station. Hygeia is a goddess from Greek and Roman mythology and is associated with health, cleanliness, and hygiene. Her name is the source of the word “hygiene,” and her statue serves as a symbol of the building’s commitment to wellness and hygiene.
Hygeia is related to the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius, who is the son of the Olympian god Apollo. Hygieia and her four sisters each performed a facet of Apollo’s art: health, cleanliness, sanitation, recuperation from illness, the healing process, and radiant good health. Her role as a goddess of health can be found in the Hippocratic oath, which is taken by physicians and includes a pledge to follow a code of established ethical standards of practice, with Hygeia as one of the healing gods named as witnesses.
The worship of Hygieia was closely associated with the cult of Asclepius. While Asclepius was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. In fact, the incorporation of Hygieia within the cult of Asclepius can be seen in medical iconography on numerous ancient Graeco-Roman coins.
Unquestionably, the Hygeia Building in Harrow is a remarkable example of modern architecture, with a strong connection to history, ancient mythology and the values of health and wellness. The impressive central atrium, glass lifts, and location in the heart of Harrow make it one of the more notable buildings around town, while the statue of Hygeia serves as a reminder of the importance of hygiene and well-being.