communit y Newsletter winter 2012
V ic t or ia’s new fa sh ion HQ
i l l u s t r at i o n p e t e r j a m e s f i e l d
Victoria has always been well heeled, but never more so than now, as luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo moves its headquarters from Kensington to the recently completed 123 Victoria Street. An icon of Seventies design, the magnificent building will provide elegant new offices as well as smart shops at retail level.
A f for da ble lu x u r y Welcome to the Victoria newsletter – you’ll see we’ve had something of a makeover this month! This is our way of keeping in touch with you, the local community, letting you know about the latest news, improvements and developments in the area. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself: my name is Jonathan Alabaster and I look after community liaison for Land Securities, the property company redeveloping Victoria. I have principal responsibility for the Victoria Circle project: five brand-new buildings next to Victoria Station that will become the jewel in the crown of Victoria’s transformation. It’s my job to address queries and concerns before they become problems, so please do get in touch with your comments and feedback; I look forward to hearing from you. I’m sure you’ve noticed that Victoria is changing. We at Land Securities have a 10-year, £2 billion vision for the future of this historic part of London, introducing new shops, offices, homes and public spaces, transforming Victoria into a more desirable destination for living,
working and visiting. 2012 has been a great year for Land Securities, with successful completion of 123 Victoria Street and Wellington House, and we look forward to the completion of 62 Buckingham Gate in spring 2013. An important part of the transformation process is working with the residents, businesses and organisations that have already chosen Victoria as their home. We are also working closely with TfL to communicate all development plans for Victoria. This issue of the Victoria newsletter boasts an interview with Lady Lucy French on the new St James Theatre and a feature on Victoria’s wonderful charity, the Cardinal Hume Centre, and we meet the fascinating Mr Charles Brooking, founder of the Brooking Collection of Architectural Detail. I do hope you enjoy our new-look newsletter, and more importantly, your new-look Victoria. Jonathan Alabaster firstname.lastname@example.org
One of Victoria’s most historic streets is set to be returned to its former glory, as Castle Lane’s Victorian townhouses are restored and sympathetically converted into 63 new homes. An integral part of Land Securities’ vision for the future of Victoria, these new properties will offer affordable, high-quality modern living accommodation while retaining the charm of the original buildings.
Work of a r t Pop down to the corner of Buckingham Gate and Petty France to see the recently completed Wellington House, a brandnew luxury residential development with a difference. The building’s eye-catching façade, a motif of feathers etched into the red stone cladding, was custom designed by artist Georgia Boyd Russell. ‘I didn’t want it to be too figurative,’ said Georgia, ‘I wanted to suggest the fleeting sensation of birds flying in groups around the building and leaving their shadows on the wall.’
V I P v i sit We at Land Securities are committed to our Employment Programme that offers training and jobs in construction to disadvantaged young people and the long-term unemployed. We were thrilled to welcome Prime Minister David Cameron to Victoria this October, to celebrate the scheme and its participants. Since the launch of the programme in 2010, Land Securities has helped 204 people with training and secured 83 jobs for Londoners. Mr Cameron toured the site of Kings Gate and the Zig Zag Building on Victoria Street – luxury apartments and office space with views across the Royal Parks and the Thames. Plans are well underway and Lend Lease has been appointed for the construction of the two buildings.
A new lo ok for Por tla nd Hou s e We had a great turn-out for our Portland House exhibition – a public consultation event on the proposals to refurbish Portland House – and we’d like to thank everyone for coming. The feedback was invaluable, and we were pleased that so many of you like the new designs. It was also an excellent opportunity to hear your concerns, which included retail amenities and the disruption during construction, and we will be working hard to address all the issues raised. For updates on the project, follow us on Twitter @PH_Consultation and go to the website for more information: portlandhouseconsultation.co.uk
Sav v y shoppi n g
Victoria’s new landmark
Shopping and socialising in Victoria just got even easier, with the launch of the Victoria Privilege Card that gives users exclusive offers and promotions on dining, shopping and leisure activities in the area. Go online to get yours and to see the latest offers from Hotel Chocolat, The Perfume Shop, House of Fraser and many more. victoriaprivilegecard.co.uk
As you have probably noticed, demolition is now well underway on the 5.5-acre site where our Victoria Circle scheme will stand. We believe this destination development will become the new vibrant heart of the area’s transformation. Victoria Circle comprises 910,000sq ft of offices, residential, retail units and facilities for community use, distributed across five buildings. Public space will more than double with the creation of two new pedestrian routes – one running north-south and another arranged east-west across the scheme. Phase 1 is expected to commence in the summer of 2013 with the construction of two HQ-standard office buildings and 170 private apartments. The project will generate local and regional jobs, and boost existing local businesses with increased awareness and footfall. We look forward to watching the progression of Victoria’s new landmark.
Not lon g t o g o
Br i g ht you n g t h i n g s
A Christmas Carol One of the UK’s leading stage actors, Clive Francis, stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in this remarkable one-man production of the classic tale at the St James Theatre. The perfect way to round off a year celebrating the bicentenary of its writer Charles Dickens’s birth. 10–16 December; stjamestheatre.co.uk
New Contempories is an organisation that supports fine-art graduates by means of an annual, nationally touring exhibition that acts as a showcase for their talent. Returning to the ICA for a third time running, an expert panel has curated the work of this year’s most promising young artists. The selection panel – Cullinan Richards, Nairy Baghramian and Rosalind Nashashibi – have chosen pieces from more than 1,200 submitted works by some of the most promising emerging artists in the UK, including Jack Brindley, Anita Delaney, Simon Senn and Nicola Frimpong. One of last year’s big hits was Nicole Morris’s ‘I Am Here’ – if you want to see the latest crop of exciting new works, you need to get down to the ICA. Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, 27 November–13 January; ica.org.uk
It’s hard to miss the brand-new glass masterpiece that is 62 Buckingham Gate, a Modernist 11-storey office building and a spectacular addition to Victoria’s transforming skyscape. Construction is progressing well – with extensive roofing now on – and due to be completed in spring 2013. We at Land Securities are grateful for residents’ patience during the noisier works, which we tried to minimise using acoustic screens and other measures.
Cr a sh pa d Just minutes from Victoria Street and within sight of Westminster Abbey, InterContinental’s first new London hotel in 36 years is as well placed as it is luxurious. The hotel has been designed to reflect its location and, with many specially commissioned pieces of artwork, gives a nod to the area’s political history. The hotel’s crowning glory has to be the Blue Boar Smokehouse and Bar. Serving American pit-master-inspired food with a unique British twist, highlights include the treacle-marinated 12-hour roasted beef brisket. And Emmeline’s Lounge is the perfect place for an aperitif or cocktail. ichotelsgroup.com
C a r d i n a l c a r ol s Head to Cardinal Place between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday 15 December: the Gospel Touch Choir will be singing carols in aid of the Wellfound Charity, as well as getting you in the festive spirit and making Christmas shopping that little bit easier.
c u lt u r e
c u lt u r e
S t J a m e s T h e at r e words Michael Prodger
A b ove, f rom lef t : Two -h ander mu s ic a l D addy Lon g L e gs; Cindere ll a , G r imm-s t y le
he West End has just shifted a little to the south west. Tucked around the corner from Buckingham Palace on Palace Street is London’s first newly built theatre complex for 30 years. The St James Theatre, which opened in September, stands on a site first occupied in 1766 by a chapel. That building was converted into a cinema in 1924 and, in 1931, it became the Westminster Theatre, which was gutted by fire in 2002. For many years it was owned by the Moral Re-Armament movement, which used it to stage performances with an edifying message. The new theatre may have a wider brief, but is nevertheless nurturing and entertaining the souls and minds of the SW1 public. Although London is well stocked with theatres, what it has previously lacked is the more intimate ‘off-Broadway’ style of venue where new productions can run before they transfer to the West End. The idea behind the St James Theatre is to provide such a venue. The space – centred on a sweeping staircase, sculpted by designer Mark Humphrey from six tons of spectacular grey Italian marble – comprises a main auditorium, a studio, a restaurant and two bars. The main space can be organised in three configurations, seating an audience from 260 to 312 – with the stage
protruding into the auditorium so the audience is almost wrapped around the players. The studio can house another 100 or so. What is offered is performance in close-up. The director of development, Lady Lucy French, hopes the theatre will be ‘an incubator for exciting works that wouldn’t always see the light of day’. So the opening production was Bully Boy, a play about the consequences of war by Sandi Toksvig (and starring Anthony Andrews), followed by a musical romance, Daddy Long Legs, from the director of Les Misérables, while the Christmas production is a Grimm-style version of Cinderella. Robert Mackintosh (brother of Cameron) and David Gilmore, the creative and artistic directors, refuse to let the place be pigeonholed. They also want it to be a cultural hub for the area – a place, says French, that ‘residents and workers will see as their local theatre’. So the studio runs a full programme of jazz, comedy, cabaret and film evenings. The theatre has to be light on its feet: it is entirely privately funded with no public subsidy. But, as Bully Boy received standing ovations every night, French is optimistic: ‘So far, the response has been fantastic, people are very excited.’ stjamestheatre.co.uk
cardinal hume centre w o r d s r o s i e s t e e r ph o t o g r a ph y m i n g t a n g - e v a n s
O pp os ite, c lo ckw i s e f rom lef t : Vo lunte er co - ord in ators Em ily Hy ne s and F lora Swar t l and; and H il ar y N ig ht in ga le, m an a ger of ex ter n a l p ar t ners hips A b ove, f rom lef t : A vo lunte er te achin g En g li s h ; and ot hers he lp in g in t he nurs er y
he Cardinal Hume Centre was set up 26 years ago by Cardinal Basil Hume, the Archbishop of Westminster. It was he who identified homelessness as a major problem in the area and founded the centre on Arneway Street, off Horseferry Road in Victoria, principally for young people living on the streets and families in need. ‘Today, we want to stay true to the founding ethos of the centre, offering sanctuary and providing a welcome,’ explains Hilary Nightingale, the centre’s manager of external partnerships. ‘It was set up to provide housing, family services and a medical centre. As the years have gone by, the services have grown and adapted to the changing times.’ The Cardinal Hume Centre uses a holistic approach, focusing on key areas where individuals may be lacking support: housing, employment, education and immigration. The core services are shaped around these themes. ‘We want to provide an opportunity to help people tackle poverty, reduce social exclusion and develop independence and choices through improving skills and knowledge of the opportunities available,’ says Nightingale.
In 2011–12, 1,428 people came through the Cardinal Hume Centre’s doors, seeking information, advice and support. Accommodation is often an immediate issue; the housing team works with individuals facing various difficulties, from structural issues such as damp to problems such as overcrowding or eviction. Other clients need to find work, for which the employment team offers specific support. Volunteers work one-to-one with clients at the jobs club, helping with CVs, mock interviews and so on. Nightingale explains, ‘We’ve embraced a coaching culture – we want to help people to identify their goals and work towards them.’ The Cardinal Hume Centre Hostel is an invaluable service, supporting 16-21 year olds who have been homeless. Residents stay at the hostel for up to a year, with a one-toone coach and 24-hour support available. In addition, the centre is currently developing five self-contained units for those moving on from the hostel, enabling greater independence within a supportive environment. The Family Centre is another core service, which provides an invaluable resource for families living in often cramped
Charles Brooking The curator of a huge collection of architectural detail says Victoria has been a happy hunting ground ph o t o g r a ph y r i c k m o r r i s p u s h i n s k y
A b ove: Vo lunte er in g in t he C ard in a l H ume Ch ar it y S hop
mainstream, so being part of something is very valuable.’ Immigration is another increasingly complex area and advice officers help clarify clients’ status and fight for their rights if they have a case to stay. Volunteering is an important part of the centre, with more than 100 volunteers lending their assistance. ‘Our volunteers add value to what we do and bring their own skills and experience,’ says Nightingale. The mentorship scheme is dependent on the involvement of volunteers who meet regularly with clients. ‘We are well staffed and extremely fortunate with our volunteers. In addition, other organisations we work with can add an extra level of expertise’, says Nightingale. ‘Land Securities is a good example of this – as well as giving us grants over the years, the company has recently offered us advice on outreach and the materials we use for this. Land Securities has also helped to raise awareness of the Cardinal Hume Centre in the local area with a residential leaflet drop and promoting the centre at local libraries, health centres and schools.’ cardinalhumecentre.org.uk
i n t e r v i ew CATE LANGMUIR
‘ We a r e e x t r e m e l y for tunate with our volunteers – they add value with their skills’
accommodation with poor facilities. The crèche cares for young children while parents use the service, and the Ofsted-registered nursery offers 15 hours a week of flexible childcare for two- to five-year-olds. The Family Centre staff are also on hand to offer advice to parents and refer them to the relevant specialist services. The surgery at the Cardinal Hume Centre is one of the few GP surgeries in London where patients don’t require a registered address. This is an important resource: for the entrenched homeless, health issues can escalate if they remain unaddressed. The Cardinal Hume Charity Shop is another great local asset that has existed since the centre was founded and raises vital funds. Communication can be a major barrier to progress. Fourteen volunteer teachers run English language classes and the centre also provides adult learning support for literacy and numeracy. Nightingale explains that this contributes significantly to the clients’ confidence and sense of belonging: ‘There is a great feeling of community in our English classes – a lot of our clients feel excluded from the
ome of my earliest memories are of coming up to Victoria on the steam train in the Fifties, with my mother, who was a picture restorer. I remember the soaring arches and all the noise and drama of Victoria Station. The area’s Victorian architecture was inspiring. I developed an interest in joinery and started collecting architectural detail as a boy. I opened my first museum in 1968, aged 15, in a shed. By the early Eighties I’d amassed a huge collection, was running courses for architects and holding exhibitions. The collection includes windows, domestic stained glass, doors, door furniture, staircases, fire grates and rainwater heads. I specialise because it’s such a vast field. There are probably about 300,000 items, dating from the 16th century to the Sixties. From the Sixties onwards, London went through such immense change, I was kept busy rescuing pieces, often from the jaws of bulldozers.
I’ve got a lot of Victoria in the Collection: parts of the Army & Navy Stores, bits of the station, a lovely 1819 window from Vauxhall Bridge Road. I have a few bits of Buckingham Palace and a garden door from 10 Downing Street, dated 1736. It’s good to see the back of the bland buildings that went up in the Sixties, such as the Thistle Hotel. Some exciting buildings have already replaced them – I love Cardinal Place with its sweep of glass. If modern architecture improves on what was there before I’m a fan of it.
Land Securities has been very helpful with access. At the Victoria Circle site I’ve found classic Regency shutters, architraves and sash windows dating from the 1820s. Land Securities has donated hundreds of pieces over the past 30 years. Some of the Collection is more personal: I got access to the art gallery my mother had owned, with all its cabinets, left behind after she closed it in 1951. My partner and I temporarily display the highlights of the Collection at our house in Surrey. Since
losing the sponsorship of the University of Greenwich, which housed the Collection for 23 years, much of it is in storage. It is my life’s work and has given me great pleasure but I want to organise it so that it can be a useful national resource, and available online, to students and those involved in any restoration, be it a country mansion, a public building or a terraced house. The Brooking Collection is open by appointment – thebrookingcollection.com or call 01483 274203
To find out more about the new Victoria, go to www.createvictoria.com or contact: jonathan alabaster telephone: 020 7024 3896 email: email@example.com Philip Barron telephone: 020 7024 3838 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Published for Land Securities by Show Media Ltd www.showmedia.net