Last Updated on November 10, 2022

Here at whitworth we were recently appointed to provide a solution to a problem that affects many historic buildings and grounds. A retaining wall in the grounds of a historic building in Greenwich (London) was leaning in a way that could become dangerous.

The historical retaining wall supports a height difference of 2.4 metres between our client’s garden and the land beside it. This height difference places a considerable amount of pressure on the wall. Because the wall is historic, demolishing and rebuilding the retaining wall was not an option. It was also identified that it would be preferable not to repair the situation by drilling holes into the wall, or making amendments that might damage the structure.

We worked closely with structural engineers to arrive at a solution that would cease the movement of the wall, but would not damage the wall. The answer to the challenge was elegant, intelligent and avoided the need to make direct changes to the wall.

A colonnade of arches was built along the wall with substantial concrete foundations to the columns to resist the sideways forces from the wall. The arches butted up to the wall but did not require any mechanical fixings, a solution which was granted Listed Building consent by Greenwich Borough Council. The outcome of this work was that the wall was stabilised with no physical interventions other than some re-pointing along the top of the wall.

This project is just one example of practical and innovative solutions for historic buildings in which the architects and surveyors at whitworth have decades of experience.