logo for UK Construction Blog

Blog Details

Read About the Latest News on a Founders Hall in London, Redcar Steel Plant Demolition, Hanley Building Fire, and Isle of Wight Halifax Store

In today’s construction news, we will look into the Founder’s Hall in London, the humorous, sensitive, post-Modern structure that developed in the wake of the City’s post-war orgy of destruction. The “biggest demolition” of its kind in the past seventy-five years was carried out at the Redcar steel plant. Updates about a fire at the Hanley building are sending plumes of smoke into the air. The unsightly Isle of Wight Halifax retail building in Newport is scheduled to undergo renovations.

Founders’ Hall, London: A clever, sensitive, post-Modern edifice built after the City’s post-war damage.

Original Source: Founders’ Hall, London: The witty, sensitive, post-Modern building that emerged in the wake of the City’s post-war orgy of destruction

Founders’ Hall in Cloth Fair in the Smithfield Conservation Area is less than 40 years old yet has historic charm. Its height contrasts with nearby ancient structures. The structure houses a mediaeval livery company and income-generating flats and offices.

The Founders moved here in 1983 from their Victorian residence in St Swithin’s Lane (near the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street). The new structure was finished in 1986, with a ceremony led by the Lord Mayor of London. This plaque was cast by a member of the Founders’, a City livery company that, like the Goldsmiths’ and Fishmongers’, still practices its original craft, including brass and bell casting.

Sam Lloyd of Green Lloyd and Adams designed the new livery hall. Architect Curtis Green’s grandson (whose masterpiece is now the Wolseley Restaurant, Piccadilly). The firm flourished for three generations, and Founders’ Hall is its swansong and an example of the City’s ability to manifest unbroken antiquity in modern clothes.

At the time of its completion, Roderick Gradidge (Country Life, November 3, 1988) praised the hall as an example of sophisticated post-Modern design, a contrast from the drab concrete commercial modernism of the post-war decades. Gradidge praised Founders’ Hall as an example of the dynamic, friendly street architecture all communities need.

Gradidge’s optimism 40 years ago appears poignant now, when harmful large-scale building — frequently backed by unaccountable, offshore interests — seems so ubiquitous. The subtle Regency landscaping of St James’s Park has been overshadowed by over-scaled office blocks; the views from Westminster’s World Heritage site are diminished by high-rise construction upriver at Vauxhall/Battersea; and the City itself grows steadily taller with buildings that claim ever-larger building plots.

It seems appropriate to examine some of the works, such as Founders’ Hall, carried out between the 1970s and the millennium, which enriched London and helped restore it as a beautiful European metropolis after wartime destruction and inadequate post-war planning. Three decades of architectural restoration can teach modern architects, planners, and bureaucrats a lot.

In any study of architectural planning in the last third of the 20th century, the most significant development was the 1967 Civic Amenities Act, conceived by Lord Kennet and implemented by Richard Crossman as Housing and Local Government Minister. It provided for the “maintenance and improvement of architectural or historic buildings and character regions” as well as the preservation and planting of trees. This Act required permission to demolish listed buildings, halting the post-war devastation of country residences and town centres.

This legislation protected whole townscapes by designating conservation areas, an idea pioneered in New Orleans in the 1920s but only adopted in England 50 years later, where it proved popular.

The 1967 Act required new buildings in conservation areas to improve them. This changed architectural urban planning, fostering neighbourliness and better design.

The first City of London conservation area was designated in 1971, surrounding St. Bartholomew the Great Church, Cloth Fair, and nearby old streets and alleys. The Founders’ Hall was a new edifice at the east end of St. Bartholomew’s church (Fig 3). The towering, thin, gabled elevations and projecting square bay windows evoke the mediaeval homes that previously bordered Cloth Fair (Fig 4).

Its red and brown bricks and cast-metal grilles and monogrammed medallions depict the livery crafts, so it integrates into the roadway and indicates its role. It’s a model of the Civic Amenities Act-encouraged architecture: original and characterful but respectful of the surroundings in scale, materials, and architectural handling.

The Founders’ Hall is one of many 1970s and 1980s London developments that respected their historical surroundings. The latter included Richmond House (for the Department of Health) in Whitehall, designed by William Whitfield, which used red brick and Portland stone in the manner of Norman Shaw’s New Scotland Yard and paid tribute to the lost Holbein Gate of Whitehall Palace; Paternoster Square next to St Paul’s, with ingenious spaces and vistas and Wren-inspired brick and stone details; and the Comyn Ching triangle in Seven Dials by Terry Farrell, which completed a group of Wren-inspired It’s hard to imagine a 21st-century London building with such visual brilliance.

The GLC Historic Buildings Division helped revive and improve London in those years (transferred to English Heritage in 1986, but subsequently emasculated and dismantled). This multi-disciplinary team of historians, architects, and surveyors worked for the GLC architects’ department and advised local planning authorities on listed buildings and conservation zones. It was active for more than 30 years, recording, revitalising, managing development, and designing Covent Garden, Spitalfields, Islington, Notting Hill, and sections of Bloomsbury. Because of those years, these districts have decent-looking, well-functioning mixed-use streets.

The GLC Historic Buildings Division was the British version of the Commission du Vieux Paris (1897), which has safeguarded Paris’s centre for more than a century. As with the Paris Commission, the London Historic Buildings Committee featured elected councillors and national figures such as John Summerson, John Betjeman, and Nikolaus Pevsner.

Founders’ Hall reflects the positive planning environment after 1967. It’s an example of enlightened livery firm patronage. Its former St. Swithin’s Street buildings simply had offices and a parlour. The goal was to take advantage of the ground value of the former hall, a not particularly remarkable building acquired in 1844 and restored in 1877, and transfer it to a more spacious site where they could build an outstanding mansion with a hall. This would allow livery dinners and better display the company’s assets, such as manuscripts, heraldry, artefacts, bells, and artists’ cast bronzes. The latter comprised small castings for Jagger’s Paddington Station and Hyde Park Corner war memorials, presented by his sister (Fig 6).

The hall (Fig 1) is lit by oculus windows from St Bartholomew’s churchyard garden. It survives below modern street level. The hall features postmodern clichés and metal-founding references. Oculi keystones are at the bottom of windows, not the tops, and form bases for miniature bronzes silhouetted against the light (Fig 2). Aluminium grids cover the ceiling. Doric columns with gilded capitals and strategically placed mirrors accentuate the space. Jagger’s war memorials are mounted on ebonized plinths. A gilded wall with beautiful heraldry of bygone masters forms a polychrome backdrop. The livery hall is entered through a foyer featuring early-20th-century stained-glass heraldry (Fig 5).

The entrance hall features stone panels with the names of all the masters from 1369 to the present and a depiction of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which cast the company’s bell. The parlour is off the entrance hall on the north side. It contains a carved neo-Georgian chimneypiece and other parlour fixtures (Fig 8). The Royal Charter issued by James I in 1614 and the Grant of Arms from Clarenceux, King of Arms, Robert Cooke in 1590 are presented here. The crest features God’s hands grasping pincers and casting a brass vessel in a furnace.

The main stairway is full of light from a bay window overlooking Cloth Fair (Fig 7). John Ryan, creator of Captain Pugwash, painted Hephaestus on the lower landing.

The Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London awarded the Founders’ Company livery status and enrolled its Ordinances in 1365. The 1980s hall is a living testament to the company’s lengthy history and a clever, sensitive postmodern response to positive planning and architectural conservation initiatives of the day. The building complements one of London’s most historic streets.

“Biggest demolition” in 75 years at Redcar steel plant

Original Source: Redcar steel plant: ‘Biggest demolition’ of its kind in 75 years

One of the largest single explosive demolitions in the UK in 75 years took place at a former steelworks.

The BOS Plant in Redcar processed molten iron from blast furnaces until 2015.

The 65m (213ft) structure was levelled with 1.6 tonnes of explosives.

Teesworks is being created on the site.

The destruction was part of a £25m effort to remove massive industrial sheds and seven tall chimney stacks from the 30-acre steelmaking plant.

To prepare the 105,000-tonne steel structure, major plant items and equipment were removed.

Eight miles away, the blast was audible.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen detonated the explosives. “Each demolition of the former steelmaking structures on this site is a bittersweet event,” he added.

“We must never forget why we’re doing this while remembering our past.”

“We can only create fresh possibilities by dismantling old structures.”

We’re opening up more land to entice international investors to Teesworks.

Redcar Steelworks was mothballed in 2010 until SSI UK took over control from Tata Steel in 2012. Three years later, it entered liquidation, claiming more than 2,000 jobs.

Updates on the Hanley building fire

Original Source: Hanley building fire sends smoke billowing into sky – updates

Tonight, Hanley firefighters are battling a fire at a boarded-up building. Videos show the dilapidated Hope Street property spewing smoke.

Longton’s aerial ladder platform team is also on site. Firefighters have closed off the road.

A Staffordshire FRS spokeswoman said: “Three crews are at a vacant building. We have crews from Hanley, Newcastle, and Sandyford, as well as one from Longton.

“We received a call at 7:09pm, and the workers are still there.”

Live updates are posted below.

Both highways reopened

Per INRIX, Hope and York have reopened.

Closed Hope Street

Yesterday’s fire stopped Hope Street in both directions this morning. York and Hope streets are also closed.

Two-way Hope Street is closed.

Inrix monitors traffic. “Hope Street between Sampson and Stafford is closed due to a fire.” good traffic flow.

Sampson Roadway, a one-way street, is being diverted the wrong way.

Isle of Wight Halifax store to be renovated

Original Source: Isle of Wight Halifax shop building eyesore to be upgraded

After a threat of enforcement action, the Grade II-listed Halifax building in Newport will shortly be repaired.

Residents have called the construction an eyesore due to multiple delays.

George Chastney of Cowes said: “This is another blow to the Island capital’s empty high street.”

Halifax’s top floors, like those in many retail buildings in this and other towns, might be repurposed to house individuals on the housing waiting list.

Halifax needs authority to perform renovations because the building is Grade II-listed.

“We’re in talks with the local government and will start work as soon as we acquire authorization.”

A council representative added, “We were twice told work would be done, but it wasn’t.”

The authorities warned the owners that enforcement action was anticipated to remove the boards and fix the windows and masonry.

“Work will begin in November, per confirmation.

“While the property is within the Newport High Street Heritage Action Zone, it is not being funded by the plan.” However, if completed, such work will benefit the town centre and the High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed the Founder’s Hall of London. Despite being less than 40 years old, Founders’ Hall in Cloth Fair, which is located in the Smithfield Conservation Area, exudes an air of ancient allure. The Redcar Steel Plant, which had formerly functioned as a steelworks, was the site of one of the largest single explosive demolitions to take place in the United Kingdom in the last seventy-five years. Firemen from Hanley are working to extinguish a blaze that has broken out in a building that has been boarded up. The Grade II-listed Halifax building in Newport is going to be repaired very soon, despite the fact that enforcement action was threatened.