The Seven Dials Trust continues to work to encourage the use of its Covent Garden Lantern™ throughout Covent Garden and beyond. The original scheme saw the installation of the Trust's bespoke façade-mounted lanterns from Shaftesbury Avenue down to Long Acre in 2014.
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.
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.