Hammersmith's Smallest Listed Building to Be Restored

St Paul's Bothy helped protect Generals planning D-Day Landings

Grant received from the Heritage of London Trust

September 22, 2023

Hammersmith’s smallest Grade II listed building, the Victorian St Paul’s Bothy in St Paul’s Gardens on Hammersmith Road is to be restored to its original condition.

The bothy was designed by renowned architect Alfred Waterhouse and built around 1884 as part of the gardens for the new St Paul's School when it moved to Hammersmith from the City of London.

The bothy building was originally used as a gardener's tool shed and together with the adjoining brick boundary wall, has survived long past the demolition of the main school building in 1968. The only other surviving building is the school’s Highmaster House, which is now St Paul’s Hotel.

The only changes made to the bothy during its history were three 'gun-ports' which were likely to have been added during World War II to help protect the 21st Army Group who used the school and grounds as their headquarters between 1943 and 45.

The group, led by Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, were planning the D-Day Landings, an operation called Operation Overlord, which proved a turning point in the war.

In 1919, celebrations were held in the gardens to mark the 75th anniversary of the operation, and a blue plaque and information board installed at the entrance tell visitors the full story.

Information board at St. Paul's Gardens
Information board at St. Paul's Gardens

Though it has survived, the poor condition of the bothy has led to it being added to Historic England's at risk register, and it is now to be fully repaired and restored as part of Hammersmith & Fulham’s Heritage and Conservation.

A planning application was submitted for:

Full refurbishment and restoration of the St Paul's Bothy, a Grade II listed building in St Paul's Garden, Hammersmith, including the removal of a brick pier and concrete slab (not part of original design) from the building's interior; and the reinstatement of a window and new brickwork to replace the existing bricked-up openings (not part of original design).

The application has now been approved, with the planning officer saying: “ The special architectural and historic interest of the listed building and the character and appearance of the conservation area would be preserved in accordance with s.66 and s.72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The proposal is also considered to be acceptable in terms of its impact on the amenity of neighbouring residential occupants.”

The planning officer adds however, that before the work can go ahead, a bat survey must be carried out, with an internal and external search for evidence such as droppings and roost entrance/exit holes.

If the bat worker finds it likely bat roosts may be present, further activity surveys will be needed, looking for bats leaving the building at dusk and re-entering at dawn, and if they are discovered, work has to stop immediately and expert advice sought from a licensed bat worker.

The application, and documents showing the Scope of the Work required, can be found on the council’s website using Ref 2023/00733/FR3.

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