Regents University London is delighted to announce substantial progress of ongoing repairs to heritage and listed fabric within their main campus estate in central London. Confirmed spending towards the repair of the timber casement windows of the Grade II Listed Halls of Residence and its adjoining buildings will help to ensure that the University buildings will be watertight for future generations to come.
RRA has been working closely with RUL and the Crown Estate’s administrators to restore a significant number of windows in University buildings that form a part of the student halls, teaching spaces and staff facilities. RUL’s repair project will help the University to preserve the significant windows in the building, improving the student and staff experience on campus.
The student accommodation – the Grade II Listed Reid Hall – is one of the buildings constructed for the expansion of Bedford College, founded by Mrs. Elizabeth Reid as a Ladies College in 1849. The lease for the new campus in Regent’s Park dated from 1908 with the commencement of new buildings constructed between 1910 and 1913. Reid Hall was originally constructed as two buildings named Reid and Shaen Halls of Residence. The College buildings were seriously damaged during a bombing raid of 1941 and the destroyed buildings were re-constructed from the mid-1940s onwards including a number of new infill buildings and extensions to the original buildings.
The ongoing work forms a part of the University’s mandatory five-year cyclic maintenance programme to improve the façade’s appearance each summer, whilst the campus is in recess.
With RRA’s involvement commencing in May 2015 and continuing into future tranches of work, improvements are undertaken on a window-by-window, repair-by-repair basis looking beyond an aesthetic level to ensure works are carried out on conservation and restoration levels. A number of other heritage repair activities will happen, in particular brick restorative repairs to prominent cornice and feature details and a number of roof repairs including lead flashing and guttering.
RUL and the Crown Estate are pleased with progress and investment in the listed fabric at this time. Without significant repairs and restoration carried out in conjunction with the cyclic decoration programme, the windows would have been in danger of being lost.
Completion of the current tranche of window and façade improvements is planned for end of Summer 2016, with further buildings to undergo similar treatment in 2017 and beyond. With RRA carefully scheduling and monitoring improvements, identification of recommended future works to assist RUL in securing trustee-granted funding. All activities and the restoration work aim to heighten awareness of RUL and improve student & staff facilities on campus.
About Regents University, The Crown Estate and Regents Park in London
Regent’s University London is a private non-profit university with its main campus located in Regent’s Park and other facilities located near Marylebone High Street. It was created in 1984 and granted taught-degree conferring status from 2012-2013 becoming a member of the ‘Independent Universities Group’, which was set up in January 2015. It is one of five private universities (and one of two non-profit) in the country, and is one of six private institutions in the United Kingdom to have been granted taught degree awarding powers.
The university has an international student body with 15 per cent of applicants from within the UK, 10 per cent from the United States, and the rest from all over the world.
The Crown Estate, a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch, is one of the largest property owners in the United Kingdom with a portfolio worth £12 billion.
The Crown Estate has a fascinating history with Regent’s Park. In the 16th century the area was passed to the Crown with Mary I trying unsuccessfully to sell it off but with Elizabeth I and James I using the park’s buildings both as a manorial residence and hunting lodge. In the mid-17th century, the park was eventually sold with the purchasers carrying out extensive felling of the trees before turning the area over to dairy farming.
The mixed agricultural use continued into the 18th century when the Duke of Portland leased the area and attempted to develop what was becoming a valuable piece of real estate that was then at the edge of the expanding city. Although the land was put up to auction in 1789 no plans were implemented and the Crown took back ownership.
The result of a change in ownership was the holding of a competition with, strangely, but one entrant by an architect called John White. It was, however, the development of Regent Street by John Nash, a favourite of the Prince Regent, later George IV that allowed the development of the park to become a reality. Nash’s plan centred around two eccentric circles, or circuses, that were to be linked by broad, tree lined avenues. Not all of the plan was accepted by the Crown and financial difficulties stemming from the Napoleonic wars meant that the development did not commence until 1812.