This scheme celebrates the individuals, companies and institutions who have made a contribution to the area and, in some cases, nationally. Over 120 names have been identified and researched in detail by historian Steve Denford, author of The Streets of St Giles. Twenty-eight have been shortlisted by a group of local residents and businesses and trustees. The plaque design, by trustee Paul Draper, complements the Trust's new street name plates and other street furniture as part of the holistic approach to the public realm as set out in the Seven Dials Renaissance Study.
We are currently in the process of up-dating, amalgamating and expanding the three existing volumes of the Seven Dials Renaissance Study. This will be published as a website, making it accessible to a wider audience. Web designers Radford Wallis have been contracted to design and build the site.
The Seven Dials Renaissance Study is the the key document in the work of the Trust. It provides a detailed framework for the care and enhancement of the total environment of the Seven Dials area. An example of its influence and efficacy is that freeholders Shaftesbury PLC have invested more than £3 million implementing its recommendations for restoring façades.
Our pioneering Seven Dials Renaissance Studies were carried out by a multi-disciplinary team. Francis Golding (above left holding a Camden Report) chaired the Trust's Environment Committee from 1994 and in particular chaired the Monitoring Committee which brought the last edition of the Seven Dials Renaissance Study to fruition. His consummate skills and experience had a great influence on the successful outcome, and his laconic style and pithy wit were much appreciated. Francis died from injuries sustained whilst riding his bike home in November 2013 – tragic news for all those who knew and worked with him.
The first stage – lighting the dial faces – has now been implemented. Camden has removed the ugly lamp columns from around the Dials and replaced them with three elegant 'Brompton' style columns which feature the crest of the old Borough of Holborn. These now provide support and power for the brackets holding the spotlights as well as lighting the Dials.
Street improvements have been a partnership - initially between the Trust, Camden and the Kleinwort Benson Property Fund (KBPF) and latterly with Shaftesbury PLC, the area's major freeholder. Improvements to date have been based on the template set out in the Seven Dials Renaissance Study, which is intended to set high standards for street improvements where London has lagged behind many European cities. The work in Monmouth Street, using multi-coloured dressed setts has influenced works throughout the West End and elsewhere.
The Seven Dials Exhibition covers history, architecture and horology. The first version was made and sponsored by the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. It was displayed so many times that it wore out. A second version was then prepared by Peter Heath, design director of W.S. Atkins. Comprising 36 large laminated boards it has proved more durable. Though many of the boards — those dealing with the making of the Sundial Pillar, the history of the area and horology — are permanent, the boards dealing with the public realm are in need of updating. Feedback from the venues where the exhibition has been displayed demonstrates a fascination with the area's past and more historical images have become available since the original research was undertaken.
The Seven Dials template of multi-coloured dressed setts and York Stone has now been copied throughout the West End and has become the standard template for the Covent Garden Area adopted by Westminster City Council in their ‘Westminster Way’ and used by Capco in King Street and TfL in Shaftesbury Avenue.
Our Street improvements have been a partnership - initially between the Trust, Camden and the Kleinwort Benson Property Fund and latterly with Shaftesbury PLC, the area’s major freeholder. They have been based on the template set out in the Renaissance Study which is intended to ‘set high standards for street improvements’ (Camden Design Awards) where London has lagged behind many European cities.