A development project has been launched at the former Strand Union Workhouse in Fitzrovia, a site said to have inspired Charles Dicken’s classic novel Oliver Twist.
Morgan Sindall Construction has signed a Pre-Contract Services Agreement (PCSA) which will see the company work on the first phase of development, overseeing and enabling the safe excavation and removal of over 2,000 burials at the site.
The scheme will see 40 per cent of the existing buildings retained, including the imposing Grade II listed workhouse. New public space and communal gardens, designed to reveal and enhance the historic character of the listed building, will be created within the heart of Fitzrovia.
The contractor will also deliver a new mixed-use development consisting of commercial, healthcare and residential space behind the workhouse. The eight storey building will house 34 residential units in the heart of Fitzrovia, approximately 70 per cent of which will be affordable for social rent and for key workers. The building will provide circa 5,000 square feet of commercial space and healthcare facilities including a new MRI Imaging Suite with six new MRI machines at basement level.
Under the first phase of work on the development, Morgan Sindall Construction is delivering the enabling works at the site. The multifaceted works package will see the company support and enable archaeologists to safely excavate and remove thousands of bodies buried at the site, linked to its historic use as a local cemetery and workhouse.
During these works, three other buildings at the front of the site will be refurbished by another contractor, making collaboration and effective coordination fundamental to the success of both projects.
Richard Dobson, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction’s London office, said: “This is a fascinating project in an area of London that has huge cultural resonance on a global scale and it’s our privilege to be working alongside the expert archaeological team to enable the safe excavation and removal of these precious remains.
“This is a delicate and complex operation that will be delivered while works on a number of live projects around the site continue at pace. This requires expert coordination, cross-party collaboration and the experience of working effectively with minimum disruption on major schemes on logistically challenging, tight, urban sites.
“This is a challenge our team has the experience and expertise to deliver upon and we look forward to enabling our colleagues to safely secure the historic legacy of the site, while work on the development continues to schedule.”
The project for Middlesex Annexe LLP, a subsidiary of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Charity, is part of The Bedford Passage Development, which falls within the Charlotte Street Conservation Area, and is part of the Fitzrovia Area Action Plan.
The excavation works are due to start in January 2020. Once the enabling works are completed, works to the main building will commence in 2021.