Client: London Borough of Enfield
Forty Hall is an important example of a Manor House dating from 1632 and is a Grade 1 Listed Building. Within the grounds is the site of the Tudor Elsyng Palace which has Scheduled Ancient Monument Status, and the extensive grounds are included within Higher Level Stewardship scheme and therefore many of the works were carried out under Archaeological and Environmental watching briefs. The house had been refurbished in 2012.
Our contract was to restore the grounds and historical features to their original layout and enhance the overall landscaping of the gardens and Country Park, including the provision of natural play structures in the grounds and restoration of listed brick abutments and bridge replacement. We were the Principal Contractor for the project which was funded by London Borough of Enfield, Forty Hall Estate and HLF.
Scope of works:
- Site clearance to remove old street furniture, surfacing, trees and dead vegetation throughout the Estate
- Path construction using a variety of surfacing; self-binding and timber edging in country park areas, tarmac and kerbed edging around the car park, York-stone paving surrounding the Hall and courtyard
- Installation of natural play equipment
- M&E works to power lighting bollards, borehole, CCTV cameras and pumped drainage systems
- Bridge and weir restoration including resurfacing of the footpath over the bridge, repointing and vegetation clearance around the weir system
- Resurfacing and formalisation of the car park to create more parking bays and better accessibility for motorists
- Installation of gravel surfacing
- Re-configuration of listed access piers and feature walls
- Installation of fencing and gates; timber and metal throughout the gardens
Challenges / overview:
The project included improvements to the ornamental lake within the estate. A temporary cofferdam was installed and fish relocated to one half of the lake whilst dredging, desilting and improvements to the edging were carried out in two sections, during the operation some fish were removed by electrofishing and moved to other locations within the park. The process required involvement from our Ecology Team to ensure that the newt and fish population were protected. Great Crested Newts on site required that works were subject to working under license. Prior to construction works, several terrapins were found and relocated to a nearby rescue centre as they were non-native species of the area.
Within the pleasure grounds, vegetation clearance and selected trees were removed in consideration of existing trees with TPOs. Paths were constructed through the gardens using self-binding surfaces which are sympathetic to the location. The natural play area was situated within a thicket of trees. Due to the deeper excavations needed to install large pieces of equipment; a survey was carried out prior the works on the area, and a watching brief provided by an Arboricultural Consultant. Operations were carried out manually.
Works also included the repair of listed brick walls in the Walled Garden and renovation to Warreners Cottage, a listed building within the grounds, and the listed entrance gates were taken down and moved to a new location. These works required satisfying planning conditions and liaison with English Heritage to agree method statements.
Prior to commencing on site, and throughout the construction phase, our teams worked in collaboration with Estate staff to ensure that works did not conflict with scheduled events. Forty Hall is regularly used for weddings, TV and film recording, and corporate events. A clean, tidy, and well-maintained external area is required by the Hall’s clientele for wedding photography, and filming requirements. We ensured that excellent housekeeping was maintained throughout the works. Works were programmed so that when the Hall was in use for such events our teams concentrated on tasks out of view of cameras.
It was important to the client that access around the Estate was maintained for visitors such as walkers, runners and visitors to the café and Hall. Where works along paths required access to be closed or restricted, alternative routes were implemented and signage installed to advise of these.
The project won a BALI Award in 2015 within the Restoration and Regeneration Category.