Sinclair Johnston & Partners Newsletter: November 2018

Although we are beginning to wind down for the year, the work never stops here at Sinclair Johnston & Partners. This month we have seen some great progress on some interesting projects, here are just a few of them.                                                                                                                                      .


London Chest Hospital: Planning Victory


The London Chest Hospital was founded in 1848, predominantly by Quarkers, to deal with diseases of the heart and lungs, particularly Tuberculosis.

The housebuilder, Crest Nicholson, who last year sold over £1bn worth of property, became immersed in a planning battle over this scheme.  Earlier this year they decided a fresh approach was required. New advisors were added to the team, including SJ&P on structural conservation.  The scheme was revised and planning granted on the casting vote of the planning committee chairman. A result!

London Chest Hospital

Bank Buildings, Belfast


Bank Buildings is a landmark structure occupying a prominent location in the centre of Belfast. Built in 1899-1900 to design by WH Lynn and faced in sandstone and granite, it was severely damaged by a devastating fire in August 2018.


SJ&P are working with client Primark Ltd to rescue this Grade B1 listed building, advising on the structural condition of the remaining fabric, safe methods of retention and dismantling and conservation and redevelopment of the structure. Following an initial visual inspection of the structure from a crane, we have developed methods to carefully take down unstable structures and advised on retention options. Together with the wider design team, we are coordinating our conservation strategy with the city’s authorities and heritage bodies to ensure that most of the surviving historic fabric is retained while the site is made safe and the surrounding wider area is released back to public use.

Belfast 2

Bridge House, London Bridge


We are currently working on the redevelopment of Bridge House for GMS Estates. This building is listed due to the original façade, but the internal structure was replaced in the late 70’s. At the same time the building was extended to the west,  towards Southwark Cathedral. Current proposals are to add an additional storey to the rear, whilst at the same time raising the original façade to create a more generous top storey. This project is currently in for Planning, with the hope that it will start on site in Spring next year.


A Moment in History: Cleopatra’s Needle


Known to be one of London’s oldest standing structures, Cleopatra’s Needle, has recently been in the news, as the Egyptian government criticised the office of London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for his disregard of such an iconic piece of history and have demanded it’s return!

Located on the London Thames Embankment, this 3,500 year old obelisk, was gifted by the Sultan of Egypt & Sudan in 1819, erected almost 60 years later in 1878. Titled Cleopatra’s Needle, this monumental feature is truly one of London’s hidden gems that has been obscured by the surrounded trees and towering mansions along the embankment.

Back in 1992 Sinclair Johnston & Partners were commisioned by Westminister City Council, to carry out a detailed inspection and assement on the stability and condition of the needle. Pictured below, Sinclair Johnston can be seen many metres above ground inspecting the the hieroglyphic decorated structure.


Over time, it’s condition has deteriorated, with it’s pink granite exterior turning black due to the smog of the city whilst sustaining second world war bomb damage, which has yet to be repaired to the despair of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiques, who just can’t comprehend how it has been subjected to apparent neglect by Britain.

SPAB Gloria e Marco Award Fundraiser


Members of the Sinclair Johnston & Partners Conservation team were in attendance at the SPAB Gloria e Marco Award Fundraising Auction back in October.

This annual award was created in memory of the two talented young architects, Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi, who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. All money raised from the auction will go towards the award which has been designed to support other young talented Italian graduates who have an interest in Conservation, offering support and encouragement whilst studying and gaining support in the UK.

If you would like to donate directly to the fund, do check out the SPAB website for further details.