BINA GARDENS

In common with many London squares, Bina Gardens lost its original cast iron railings for scrap at the beginning of World War 2 and suffered further damage from the construction of a large emergency water tank over much of the northern end.    The concrete base of this structure and the wire mesh and concrete posts which replaced the original railings were still in place in 1991 when we were first commissioned .

Bina Gardens is shared by houses in the late19th century terrace, Gledhow Gardens, backing onto it and is bounded on it two open sides by Bina and Wetherby Gardens.

Impetus for the project came from the garden committee, drawn from residents of all three streets, and was triggered by the possibility of grant aid from the Royal Borough of Kensington and English Heritage.      It became a viable proposition through the major contribution offered by the freeholder, the Gunter Estate.      The involvement of the Estate allowed the removal of the tank base to be included in the contract

It was a condition of the funding bodies that the design of new railings should be historically correct.    The general arrangement and detail design of the original enclosure was established from site investigation, historical research and surviving elements including two gates.    The railings had been heavy and ornate and had been set into a cast iron base cap over a rough brick plinth – a more elaborate arrangement than leading them directly into a stone curb as found in earlier designs.     It was decided to reproduce the base cap, intermediate posts and rail finials in cast iron, taking moulds from original fragments where these remained but to substitute steel for the vertical and horizontal rails and to use pre-cast concrete curbs below the base in place of the original brickwork.     An additional masonry pier was introduced to take up changes in level.

The general building work and the two sub-contracts for metalwork and pre-cast concrete curbs were tendered separately.    A close working relationship was established to agree  construction methods and programming.

The project was Highly Commended in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Environmental Improvement Award Scheme for 1995 and gained a Special Mention by the Civic Trust in 1996 for its contribution to the improvement of the environment.