Author Archives: Websolve

Interior view of Pitzhanger Manor designed by Sir John Soane

June 2015

H+R have attended initial briefings at Clandon Park. We gave provisional consultancy on managed drying down of the structures and environmental monitoring, utilising our experience gained at Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle and Glasgow School of Art.

We have achieved a prestigious commission at the Grade I listed Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing. Pitzhanger was the country residence designed by Sir John Soane for his own use. We will be undertaking a wide range of investigations, including flue mapping by Ground Penetrating Radar and specialist assessment of the cantilevered staircase and decorative plasterwork.

Our developer client at Royal Star and Garter in Richmond has appointed H+R for two other residential projects which are being started on immediately. There has been an increase in demand for independent advice for problem resolution concerning contemporary new build projects for customer service departments of developer clients. This includes render failures, forensic investigation of poor detailing, leak detection and timber decay. Surveys are challenging as most of the units are occupied by new purchasers.

From the present day back to the 15th century, one of our H+R surveyors has learnt a new skill and has been abseiling inside Winchester Cathedral to conclude the investigative work started in 2012 of the timber vaulted ceiling. One of our other church projects has had a long time lag. A second visit to All Saints Church on the Isle of Sheppey has been undertaken after our first visit which was in 2008!

One of our surveyors attended the IHBC Annual School in Norwich this month. The experience was found to be highly interesting and thought provoking with an excellent calibre of speakers.

Work has started again at Caistor St Edmund Roman Town in Norfolk, where H+R are providing contract administration services for the consolidation of parts of this ancient monument with funding from Natural England.

Finally, one of our timber scientists began investigations in one of the oldest buildings in Bracknell; The Bull Inn dating to the 15th Century. It was found to be an interesting investigation with excellent examples of original timber framing.

The New Bond Street façade in the Mayfair area was surveyed using a cherry picker.

May 2015

The month opened with the tragic events at Clandon Park. The smoke resulting from the almost total loss of the fabric was witnessed from H+R’s main office at Netley House. One member of H+R, who is a retained fireman, worked through the night controlling the blaze and still reported at 9:00am the next day as usual for his day job as an H+R surveyor! The loss at Clandon is felt very keenly in the local area.

H+R have regrettably been responsible for three days of busy road closures in the Mayfair area due to Cherrypicker deployment for a façade survey. Our surveyors put in extra time over the weekend to help limit disruption.

It was a privilege to visit a private house project in Richmond near our current activities at Royal Star and Garter. The 1800s mansion is to be comprehensively refurbished with H+R’s help. It is the biggest private home in Richmond and includes the longest private gallery space constructed in the 20th Century.

The clear result from the General Election immediately led to a surge of enquiries and project confirmation, especially in the premier residential districts of London. The increase in work experienced over the last year is set to continue.

The National Memorial Arboretum.

April 2015

H+R have been appointed to undertake a series of Stage 1 ‘risk management’ investigations by a new developer client. The project is a series of 1900s buildings in Hampstead once belonging to King’s College, London. The area is notable for the fine architectural detailing of the period and we look forward to liaising with the Conservation Officer.

One of the most sensitive and poignant commissions that H+R have undertaken was completed this month. The project involved specialist investigation and remedial consultancy on stone conservation to the principal memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Our previous work for armed forces charities, including Royal Star and Garter Homes, together with the Services background of some H+R staff helped provide valuable context to these investigations.

We continually develop our portfolio of services and this month, fire performance investigations at a large Covent Garden development were undertaken.

H+R staff continue to improve their skills with attendance at a range of training opportunities ranging from heritage disaster recovery and salvage to the use of Oak in buildings.

An external view of the Glasgow School of Art.

March 2015

This month has seen another large scale barn redevelopment on behalf of a developer, this time in Hampshire hot on the heels of the work undertaken for another developer on a complex of eight listed timber framed barns in Trumpington, Cambridgeshire. Work has started in earnest on the King Street, Covent Garden redevelopment where we have expanded our portfolio of specialist services to include acoustic performance. We also had the pleasure of returning to Earlham Hall, the law faculty at UEA for detailed timber condition investigations after 4 years.

Our involvement in the Covent Garden area continues to grow with approval given to start a wide range of investigations on the buildings recently housing the Sanctuary, notorious for the old cinematic scene of a naked Joan Collins on a swing over the pool complex! We have also been appointed to undertake one of our biggest commissions to date covering the largescale redevelopment of the Grade I listed 20 Hanover Square and a swathe of New Bond Street and Brook Street.

British Land Have appointed us to undertake timber condition investigations of the largest remaining undeveloped area of Spitalfields, an area first assessed by H+R in 1978! In the past, H+R have undertaken timber condition investigations of the Spitalfields Market roof.

With the recent appointment of Page and Park as Architects for the restoration of Glasgow School of Art, we look forward to continuing to provide our expertise in assessing timber condition and the managed drying down of the historic structures subject to fire and flood.

We are very proud to have been a part of the St George’s Chapel project in Great Yarmouth which was recently included in the list of winners of the 2015 Civic Trust Awards. The awards are given to projects that make an outstanding contribution to the quality and appearance of the environment.

The HMS Warrior in Portsmouth.

February 2015

We enjoyed the opportunity to visit HMS Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to undertake timber condition and timber species investigations in the very few areas of the ship that were not of iron construction – such as the magazine! This survey was informed by our investigation in 2014 of the Napoleonic-era HMS Unicorn in Dundee. In London, we were pleased to undertake specialist damp investigations at the Royal Academy of Engineering in Carlton House Terrace for the same Architect who commissioned us to undertake specialised timber condition investigations at Magdalen College, Oxford.

Carriage Court in Covent Garden is the oldest pre-fabricated iron framed building in London.

January 2015

The month was preoccupied with external investigations at Carriage Court in Covent Garden; the oldest pre-fabricated iron framed building in London and the first multi-storey ‘car park’ – but for horse drawn carriages! We investigated the iron framework as well as audited historic fixtures and fittings amongst other packages. Work has also continued on assessing building material performance at the contemporary Student Village buildings for Winchester University.

The old Odeon Cinema in Bradford which had a seating capacity of 4000.

December 2014

Confirmation has been given for H+R to start timber condition appraisals of the old Odeon Cinema in Bradford which on construction in 1930 had a seating capacity of nearly 4000. The roof area is the largest we have surveyed in 2014.

It was a pleasure to revisit the Grade 1 roof structures of the Brighton Dome as part of the forthcoming major refurbishment. Perhaps as a reflection of being so close to the sea, it is easy to imagine the whole structure resembling an inverted timber framed ship.

One of the buildings in the Camden Town Lock area which was mothballed following H+R’s advice.

November 2014

The old skittle alley at Chatham Historic dockyard provided interest in relation to timber condition investigations because this is only the second recreational sporting space constructed of timber that H+R have investigated. The first was the 1900s roller skating rink in Worthing. Consultancy has been provided in the past of the listed 1900s timber roller coaster in Margate. The on-going redevelopment of the Camden Town Lock area has seen us return to buildings ‘mothballed’ in previous years following H+R advice. This process has successfully prevented further deterioration prior to current full scale redevelopment. We were pleased to be appointed by the developer at Enderby Wharf in Greenwich to provide a full portfolio of investigations on the sole surviving listed building on this industrial site which once manufactured submarine cabling for worldwide use.

The old Young’s Ram Brewery, Wandsworth, was the UK’s oldest brewery in continuous operation.

October 2014

We have experienced an increase in enquires from the representatives of foreign high net worth individuals for buildings within the Belgravia, Chelsea and Eaton Square area. Including what is reported to be the most expensive house in London! On this latter project, H+R were also tasked to undertake measured drawings of the historic windows to research re-glazing in bullet proof glass! A hazardous materials investigation has begun at the King’s Cross Basin redevelopment which is the largest industrial renaissance site in London. This month, we have also completed our risk management investigations at the old Young’s Ram Brewery site in Wandsworth which was the UK’s oldest brewery in continuous operation until the 1980s complete with early Victorian beam engines still in-situ. We are now looking forward to undertaking more detailed investigations of the site on behalf of the Chinese developer client. The project will be H+R’s first for a property company headquartered in China and a foretaste of the future.