…In support of London Underground’s Listed Building Consent Application for protective works, September 2014:
“…Built in 1929 as the headquarters of the National Westminster Bank, 1 Princes Street was designed by Sir Edwin Cooper in the classical style. The five storey Portland stone elevations include a Doric frieze and cornice above the ground floor. The corner elevation incorporates a group of statues by Ernest Gillick. A plaque records that Mrs Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), Prison Reformer, lived at the site from 1800 to 1809.
1 Princes Street has a predominantly architectural and artistic significance relating to the façade detail and sculpture, and its role as an integral part of the historic townscape of prominent stone commercial and public buildings beginning at Bank Junction and flowing down King William Street. As such its setting incorporates Bank Junction and King William Street and these areas contribute positively to its significance. The retained elements of the interior of the original building are also significant. There is no significance attached to the 1990s modernisation. Finally, the site has historic significance as the former home of Elizabeth Fry, though the present building does not have a connection with her or her former residence.
The elevations of 1 Princes Street have large discontinuities, for example large openings under heavy cornices. The south-eastern (corner) elevation is especially sensitive due to the group of statues at attic level above a large opening. Should strain concentrate at this area, there is a small possibility that cracking to the cornice beneath the statues may result in movement of the statues, loss of fixing stability, and damage to carved detail.
The BSCU project involves a major upgrade of the Bank Monument Station Complex which is currently one of the most congested on the London Underground network. The overarching aim is that Transport for London continues to provide a fit-for-purpose public transport station complex to support the City of London. It shall do this by:
increasing the capacity of Bank Underground Station so that it is able to handle present and forecast demand, and thereby support the economic growth of the city;
minimising passenger journey time through the station, and thereby reduce crowding;
improving the quality of access, interchange and ambience, including the provision of step-free access routes from street level to Northern Line trains and provide step-free interchange between Northern Line and DLR trains; and
improving emergency fire and evacuation protection measures.
Stage 2 Building Damage Assessment modelling of likely horizontal and vertical strains combined with heritage and structural assessment of 1 Princes Street predicts potential settlement of up to 26mm to the southern and western elevations of the building and maximum 0.057% tensile strain, as a result of the new infrastructure being constructed directly below the building.
It is considered that specific areas of discontinuity in the Portland stone façades may be sensitive to the predicted settlement, and therefore protective works are proposed to provide additional support to the group of statues at attic level on the southern elevation. The detailed design of these works will be informed by non-invasive survey.
It is acknowledged that these works will lead to a temporary adverse impact on the significance but that this impact will be outweighed by the benefits of the protective works in providing structural support and preventing substantial damage to the remaining historic elements of the building.
All making good to the external appearance of the building will follow the principle of like for like repair, and there will be no long term impact to the building beyond a small material change to the statue fixings which will not devalue its aesthetic, architectural or historic significance. The impact of the works will constitute ‘less than substantial harm’ as defined by the NPPF…”