We are currently in the process of up-dating, amalgamating and expanding the three existing volumes of the Seven Dials Renaissance Study. This will be published as a website, making it accessible to a wider audience. Web designers Radford Wallis have been contracted to design and build the site.
The Seven Dials Renaissance Study is the the key document in the work of the Trust. It provides a detailed framework for the care and enhancement of the total environment of the Seven Dials area. An example of its influence and efficacy is that freeholders Shaftesbury PLC have invested more than £3 million implementing its recommendations for restoring façades.
The first print editions of The Study were hailed as a first for Camden and London as a whole. Following a short congratulatory debate in the House of Lords, the Trust was invited to apply for funding for a second print edition as a national exemplar. It presents a long term holistic and practical vision for the maintenance and enhancement of this area and one which is being implemented by the local authorities and key freeholders working in partnership with the Trust. This approach relates to the Localism agenda and the emerging Neighbourhood Plans in central London Conservation Areas.
The revised and updated Study has been extended across the borough boundary down to Long Acre in Westminster and covers an enlarged area in Camden. Architectural photographer Guy Archard has produced brilliant images of over 300 buildings and architectural historian Dr. John Martin Robinson has completed his façade analysis and recommendations. The texts of the three previous volumes have been amalgamated and updated and a new section on harmonizing the streets has been commissioned.
We have acquired 300 historic images from the London Metropolitan Archives (kindly grant-aided by the Charles Hayward Foundation) and these will sit beside the current architectural images — probably the most innovative feature of this project and a first according to the LMA who kindly waived their reproduction license fees.
The new web edition of the Study is dedicated to the memory of Francis Golding (1944-2013). Francis chaired the Trust's Environment Committee from 1994 and in particular chaired the Monitoring Committee which brought the last edition of the Seven Dials Renaissance Study to fruition. Francis died from injuries sustained whilst riding his bike home in November 2013.
A substantial proportion of the funding for the web edition is made up of donations in Francis's memory. The Trust is thankful to all who donated and hopes that it will be a fitting tribute to his life and work.
Brief look at the process, influence and efficacy of the Renaissance Studies:
Notification of the Environmental Study Consultation Group meeting in 1990.
The Study area map 1987
The new Study has been extended on the Camden side and now crosses the borough boundary down to long Acre, covering a larger area. The Westminster area is known as Covent Garden Area 3 and the public realm works here - streets and lighting - link up with those in the Camden side.
The Golden Hind, symbol of the Parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields, was adopted for street furniture and signage in Seven Dials and has been used to create an integrated set of street furniture, replacing the previous large, unsightly variety of bollards and litter bins.
Façades in Monmouth Street, beautifully restored by Shaftesbury plc in accordance with the detailed recommendations of The Study.
Seven Dials c. 1890, a rare hand-coloured lantern slide, acquired by the Trust, showing fashions, transport, street surfaces and much else in vivid detail.
The Rose and Three Tuns, Little Earl Street and Keeley's the barrowmakers, Neal Street - just two of the many archive photographs which will show Seven Dials over more than a a century.
Feature article in Urban Design, May 1992.