Renovating your way out of a recession

Builders in Oxford Street, London.
Builders in Oxford Street, London.

I am sure that there are new building projects being commenced all over the UK, but I was struck by the amount of renovation, rebuilding and new builds I saw last weekend in Central London.

Of course, there is the amazing, ongoing massive underground engineering project Crossrail that comes to the surface every now and then and creates a major building site. Crossrail is a deep underground railway service due to open in 2018 allowing a traveller to cross from an area south-west of London to south Essex without coming up for air! A service more for commuters than tourists, but aimed to relieve Central London congestion.

Elizabeth breaks through at Liverpool Street in January 2015. Photo from Crossrail.
Elizabeth breaks through at Liverpool Street in January 2015. Photo from Crossrail.

But back on the streets many London landmark buildings are receiving a little tlc and maintenance.

neo classical pediment
Apsley House, Hyde Park Corner – ground floor a muddle of scaffolding, but the neoclassical pediment is still striking.

Even the prestigious and pristine Athenaeum on the corner of Pall Mall and Waterloo Place has a protective structure over their statue of Athena. It is a gilded work by Edward Hodges Baily and I’m not sure if the cover is due to renovation work or whether it is the statues annual protection to keep the worst of the winter weather from the gilding/gold paintwork.

The Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London. Pristine neoclassic building designed by Decimus Burton.
The Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, London. Pristine neoclassic building designed by Decimus Burton.

And, down the other end of Pall Mall the building work has spilled out over the pavement and another building under plastic is detracting from the beautiful St James’s Palace.

Despite many buildings being smartened up even in Central London there are some prime position properties awaiting a visit from the renovation ‘angel’.

Part of 90-93 Piccadilly on the other side of the road from these splendid gates opening onto Green Park.
Part of 90-93 Piccadilly on the other side of the road from these splendid gates opening onto Green Park.

These houses, 90-93 Piccadilly are a grade II listed terrace that overlooks Green Park. It has an amazing view through a set of well-maintained ornate gates all the way down to the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace.

View across Green Park down to the Victoria Memorial. (Not sure how the glass office tower block behind got planning position!)
View across Green Park down to the Victoria Memorial. (Not sure how the glass office tower block behind got planning position!)
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Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

4 thoughts on “Renovating your way out of a recession”

  1. Wow – had no idea about that commuter tunnel under London. We are so backward here with our outdated subway. London housing does seem to be recession proof no matter what happens elsewhere in your country – do you think that’s right or is it an across the pond misinterpretation?

    1. Crossrail is a magnificent endeavour that would have made our Victorian forebears very proud and a project they could have understood. Actually it will be useful for visitors too as it will quickly (one hopes) link a couple of major mainline stations. My sister visits from the West Country and her journey (the London part) from Paddington to Liverpool St will be a 10 minute trip instead of 20 plus minutes on the Circle Line tube. Looking at the Crossrail webpage it may be possible to change trains way before London and come up the other side!! London housing at first glance does look recession proof, but it has gone up and down a little over the last decade, but yes, the overall trend is most definitely up. However, it is mostly driven by oversees investment from all round the world – London has more in common with other major capitals than with UK regional cities. I lived in London for 12 years, and my daughter is currently at university in London and has found the cost of living significantly higher than Norfolk. My grandparents were all Londoners and would have been amazed at Crossrail and totally dumbfounded by the eye-watering London house prices.

      1. You make me think that another visit to London is overdue with so much going on. Interesting point you make about it having more in common with other world capitals than the country it resides in.

      2. I think change is more noticeable when you’re a repeat visitor and not a resident. I think you’d notice quite a few developments if you’ve not been over for a couple of years or so. I worked for a while overlooking Hyde Park Corner and nothing much appeared to happen except for the odd vehicle prang as four lanes of traffic whizzed round the Wellington Arch.

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