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The Thomas Homes development at 16-40 London Road has been shortlisted for Best Refurbishment Project for the prestigious House Builder Awards to be held at The Intercontinental Hotel at the O2 on 24 October. Winners will be announced on the night.

The buildings at 16-40 London Road were constructed in the late 18th and early 19th century. These Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings had been vacant for 12 years. They were in a poor state of repair with St David’s Hall itself being on Historic England’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register.

Situated on the University of Reading’s London Road Campus, located within the Kendrick Road Conservation Area and surrounded by other significant listed buildings; St Mary’s Hall (Grade II), St David’s Hall (Grade II*) and St Laurence’s Hall (Grade II) have been restored in a careful and considered fashion. A number of changes had been made to the buildings over the years by the University. Although they were deemed necessary at the time, the alterations to the layout from their original layouts had harmed the historic significance of the buildings.

These accretions have been removed during a process of sympathetic conversion; red brick and Bath Stone detailing, stone sills and mullions, sliding sash windows and countless historic hallmarks now tell the story of a bygone age. Internally significant works have been undertaken to restore the original layout allowing the rooms to be returned to their original proportions. As many original features as possible have been retained; original fireplaces, basement cooking ranges, high skirting boards, detailed cornicing, staircases and balustrades and front doors have been preserved and meticulously repaired. Sash windows have been retained and updated with high performance secondary glazing.

Particular consideration has been made to the use of sympathetic materials where possible and modern technologies employed with regard to sound and heat insulation using the latest techniques. Clever use of space, high ceilings and restored windows deliver rooms bathed with daylight while modern kitchens and bathrooms boast ‘A’ rated energy efficient appliances and contemporary fixtures and fittings.

The redevelopment works have enhanced the significance of these buildings and the brickwork has not been over-restored, so retains the patina of age and change. The repairs that were necessary to prevent further deterioration, and the restoration of the layout, have enabled the buildings to be appreciated as grand residential homes.