2nd May 2019

Conserving our historic buildings – our work with the National Trust

We have been working closely with the National Trust on the refurbishment and repairs of their historical buildings and structures. These have ranged across their portfolio of properties in London and the south-east of England.

The work varies from the assessment of dilapidated folly structures, historic mill buildings, clock towers to bridges at Morden Hall Park. We have also assisted with the Quinquennial Assessment and building fabric survey at the Robert Adam designed Grade I listed Osterley House in Isleworth. At Sissinghurst Castle in Kent an increase in visitors was problematic for the site, we investigated the current layout and designed the resurfacing of the external areas to better support the growth.

Many of these projects often require complex but sympathetic structural remedial work, requiring careful consideration to the historical characteristics of the listed structures. One such project is the Grade I listed Red House in Bexleyheath, built for William Morris by architect Adam Webb. We have been helping to restore and repair the surface water drainage around the historic property. The existing system had malfunctioned and led to settlement and damage to the building. We value and see the importance of understanding the original design of historical buildings prior to developing remedial proposals. For the Red House, we visited the Victoria & Albert Museum and retrieved the original Webb drawings. From this we discovered a large disused underground rainwater harvesting tank, which we then incorporated into our design. This has now been restored and reconnected to provide much needed water storage for maintaining the magnificent garden.

A wall forming the boundary of a major Augustinian priory built in the 12th century had partially collapsed in the centre of Merton. Following this several sink holes also began appearing in the ground between the wall and the adjacent River Pickle.  We carried out an assessment of the existing structure, recorded the existing condition of the wall and investigated likely causes of the collapse. We identified the areas requiring remedial works and developed a sensitive repair and remedial works strategy for the wall. As part of the refurbishment we also advised on the landscape design to create a new public realm adjacent to the wall.

The varied work we have undertaken in aiding the conservation of these wonderful historic structures has created a solid understanding of refurbishments in our team. We understand the complexities entrenched in existing and listed buildings and approach them with established strategies and sensitivity. The works have been both intellectually stimulating and incredibly rewarding.  We are proud to work with the National Trust and to help them to maintain their portfolio of buildings so that the public can continue to enjoy them for years to come.

Conserving our historic buildings – our work with the National Trust