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Transforming heritage – the construction challenge

Bouygues UK

RLH progress shots

Bouygues UK is working in partnership with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to deliver a new town hall for the local community in Whitechapel.

The new town hall is being built on the site of the former Royal London Hospital on Whitechapel Road, bringing this striking Grade II listed building back into community use. The project is expected to complete in Spring 2022.

The former Royal London Hospital building in Whitechapel is one of London’s most famous landmarks and has been at the heart of the borough’s history since it was opened to patients in 1757. Having been vacated by Barts Health NHS Trust in 2012, it has lain empty ever since, but is now being brought back to life by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Bouygues UK in a new £109.5m development that will retain the building’s features while adding new elements.

The new town hall – which will be part refurbishment of the existing Grade II listed building and part new build – will provide nearly 300,000 sq ft of civic office space, including an open-plan workspace on the upper floors as well as a publicly accessible ground floor, which will host the council chamber, a café, the council’s local presence functions as well as other public services.

Work so far

Bouygues UK has been on site carrying out preparatory work since August 2018, which included a sensitive soft strip of the building’s interior and the removal of all asbestos from the building. This was carried out under a controlled and managed procedure in accordance with the Health and Safety Executive guidelines. These vital works completed in August 2019 and were accompanied by an archaeological watching brief to ensure the protection and preservation of the historic building and its assets.

These preparatory works, which also included the demolition of two recent wings, enabled the construction phase of the new town hall to get underway at the end of the year and was crucial in protecting the historic features that make this project so special.

Working in partnership

Bouygues UK has been working in partnership with Tower Hamlets for some time, having built over 20 schools in the borough, so it is fantastic to be involved in a project that will provide a high-quality working environment for council staff and improved facilities for the local community. 

Bouygues UK will be working closely with the council throughout the project to fully capitalise on the council’s exciting vision for the site. When it opens in 2022, the new town hall will be part of an ambitious future for the wider Whitechapel area – one of London’s largest regeneration projects including the opening of Crossrail at Whitechapel Station, a new £300m life sciences campus, seven new public spaces and 5,000 jobs.