Harmonising the Streets

Progress to Date

Much has been achieved since publication of the first Renaissance Study in 1991. The Trust and partners have simplified and unified all street furniture based on the ‘Golden Hind’, symbol of the ancient Parish of St Giles, referencing the area’s history. The area has been re-lit using the Trust’s bespoke Covent Garden Lantern, crossing the borough border into Westminster.

There is still much work to be done on street surfaces. They remain discordant within the formal and historic Seven Dials streetscape, though the use of multi-coloured dressed setts pioneered in Monmouth Street has become the norm for wider Covent Garden as a whole.

Montage of photographs of street lighting showing damaged columns and different forms
Examples of poor practice with lighting installations that needed to be harmonised.
Montage of photographs and drawings of bespoke Covent Garden lantern showing design and installed.
The Covent Garden Lantern and examples of well-disguised power feeds.
Montage of photographs of different types of rubbish bin and bollards used before rationalisation
Uncoordinated street furniture before the Renaissance Project.
Montage of examples of the Golden Hind symbol used on street furniture including bollards, bins, street name plates and People's Plaques.
Use of the historic Golden Hind symbol gives a strong identity to the area.

The existing streetscape – There is a great variety of materials, some no longer fit for purpose. Old setts too rough for people with disabilities, utility grade concrete pavers, painted kerbs and jarring tactile slabs, ‘patio’ scale square pavers in brick-bond pattern and a mixture of materials that should be unified within the formal townscape.

Montage of variety of street finishes

The streetscape harmonised – Materials to harmonise this formal townscape favour the following where inappropriate materials are expunged and a street renewed: five coloured sawn (flat) setts on the streets radiating off the Dials, or tumbled cobbles limestone paving, granite kerbs and resin bound infill to tree planting areas. Square pavers and setts preserved at the dials.

Sustainability, re-use of material that can be upcycled and access for people with mobility and sight impairments in particular may involve some compromises in character and texture within the overall framework. Old kerbs and rounded setts may need to be grouped and re-worked rather than thrown away.