Our story began in 1977 when Seven Dials was in a state of dereliction, with 90% of the housing stock having lain vacant for more than 40 years in anticipation of wholesale demolition and redevelopment. To kick start the process of regeneration and encourage private investment, Camden Council established The Seven Dials Housing Action Area (1977-1984) - six residents and six businesses supported by a group of Camden officers. Grants were made available to freeholders and the local authority could, in extremis, undertake works. Our HAA had great success, with over 200 residential units rehabilitated, initial public realm improvements implemented and further public and private housing secured.
On the expiration of the HAA we were invited by Camden's CEO to set up a group to continue further improvements in the area and to reinstate the lost Seven Dials Sundial Pillar. This group became a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, known first as The Seven Dials Monument Charity (1984) and then The Seven Dials Trust (2003).
The Trust has established a fruitful and exemplary partnership between the voluntary sector, local authorities and the private sector, driving complex, long-term projects to completion through changing political priorities and ownerships. We have initiated and raised funds for projects designed to celebrate and enhance the distinct identity of Seven Dials. Our work has encouraged substantial investment in the public realm from the private sector.
The Trust’s vision is set out in the Seven Dials Renaissance Study.
The Trust is managed by a board of trustees, some of whom have long links with Covent Garden, going back to the days of the famous 1971 Covent Garden Public Inquiry, when much of the area was scheduled to be demolished. This continued commitment is invaluable due to the long-term nature of many of our projects. When funds are available, the Trust employs a part-time Coordinator.
We are grateful to all our funders and supporters – the many generous individuals, local and national agencies, organisations and companies who have contributed to our work since 1984. In addition to sponsorship and grant-aid this support includes thousands of hours of unpaid work, pro bono expert advice and in-kind contributions.