Regeneration Photo Blog – Breaking Ground

Regeneration Photo Blog – Breaking Ground

By Karen Hart and Keith Greenough

At last the day arrived when I placed our precious building into the hands of the contractor who will be restoring and transforming Toynbee Hall over the coming year.  Over 5 years in the planning, the progress in the first 5 weeks of construction has been very encouraging. The modern extensions are almost fully demolished and the internal strip out underway.  It was not long before busy builders began revealing lost ceilings, fire places that had been boarded for many a year and an unused flight of stairs.

It is a joy to have the works underway at last and to see our vision for the building, the organisation and our sense of place begin to take shape.

Keith Greenough, Photographer

The hoardings are up and the contractors are on site. It was great to visit the Toynbee Hall again, now that the regeneration process has begun in earnest. Outside, the most obvious change is that the ‘temporary’ buildings at the rear have been demolished, revealing the original building without these unattractive appendages. Inside, what struck me immediately was how light and airy it felt as many of the partitions have been removed. It’s going to be a great place to work! In its current state the interior feels rather like an archaeological site with the walls stripped bare revealing generations of maintenance and decorating activity. Blue polythene tunnels emerge in surprising places giving the place a surreal quality – these are being used for the safe removal of asbestos.

It’s also very clear that great attention is being paid to the preservation of the original features. The old staircase for example is cocooned in a wooden protective envelope. It’s early days but it’s clear that real progress is being made.

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