A number of heritage features were preserved during the redevelopment of London Bridge station, which involved the demolition of a Grade II listed building under listed building consent.
Protecting & Conserving Heritage
Redeveloping London Bridge: A Grade II Listed station
One of the conditions of the demolition (part of the S106 obligation) was to retain various elements of the train shed roof for potential reuse, namely 10 of the upright columns and 10 of the foliate spandrels (decorative angle pieces).
These parts of the Grade II‐listed structure have been retained to form the cornerstone of the planned new locomotive museum in Aberystwyth. The railway, which operates small steam trains for tourists in mid Wales, will be home to a ‘unique historic collection’ of around 30 locomotives and rolling stock, much of which was built in the UK and had never been displayed in public.
Heritage features preserved
Removal of columns and spandrels
The S106 obligation required the production of a condition survey to identify the columns and spandrels most suitable for retention and a method statement to ensure the safe removal of the columns and spandrels intact.
The process was complex, in part due to the complications of working round Network Rail operational requirements; in part due to the logistical difficulties of the demolition process as a whole and also due to the nature of the retained objects – made of brittle cast iron and in the case of the columns weighing approximately 10 tons each. The removal of the columns has been further complicated by the fact that their base plates are buried within concrete below platform level.
The platform area surrounding those to be removed intact had to be excavated down to the base plate level and then the four bolts connecting the column to the base plate removed. The base plate and columns were then split apart prior to lifting out of the columns to which the spandrels (in most cases) were still attached.
Whilst the column and spandrel removal process was underway, Network Rail had successfully negotiated with the Vale of Rheidol Railway to take all the agreed savage items together with various additional materials. The retained elements (16 columns and 14 beams) were transferred to their new owners, discharging and exceeding the outstanding obligations. The western concourse was refurbished and extended, featuring a vaulted roof ceiling.
St Thomas Street & Joiner Street
At London Bridge the Grade II listed brickwork wall along St Thomas Street and the Grade II listed Warren Trusses at Joiner Street were both refurbished. Network Rail worked closely with English Heritage, the Railway Heritage Trust and the Southwark Conservation officer to uphold high levels workmanship.
Train shed roof
The listed train shed roof, which needed to be demolished, was replaced with a piece of contemporary architecture designed by Grimshaw and praised by Southwark Council for its design quality.
An arcade of two-way spanning “quadripartite” arches was extended with a new concrete structure, formed to match the original profile. The Western Arcade houses part of the station retail offer, and links the Underground station with the main concourse.
Heritage installation at Stainer Street
As part of planning condition 37, a heritage installation within Stainer Street was developed to share the history of the station.
The content of the installation was agreed in principle with Southwark Planning Authority. It comprised plaques covering four key dates of the stations development: 1836, 1845, 1872 & 2018.
A panel on each plaque provides descriptive text of the development of the station. A second panel provides a contemporary plan of the station. The panels were first unveiled during the official opening of the Stainer Street public walkway in October 2018.
Joiner Street Warren Trusses
The Warren trusses at London Bridge are significant as they represent surviving examples of the development of composite iron construction in the 1840s. They take their name from the engineer James Warren (1802–1870) who took out a patent for this form of truss in 1848.
Network Rail worked with the Railway Heritage Trust to clean up and restore the trusses as part of the station redevelopment. As can be seen at Joiner Street, a Warren truss consists of a series of equilateral triangles joined by top and bottom chords. The trusses are of varying lengths, from 15m to 21m, to accommodate the layout of Joiner Street at its junction with Tooley Street.
Overview of the elements of the London Bridge station redevelopment programme supported by the Railway Heritage Trust, including:
- Train Shed Roof
- St Thomas Street
- Warren Trusses
- Western Arcade – Quadripartite Arches
- Tooley Street
- Bermdondsey Street
- South Eastern Railway Office
- Other notable features.