Ivy Conduit

June 2004: The site is in an extremely poor condition and is on English Heritage’s ‘Building at Risk’ register.
©English Heritage
The works completed in August 2004 have provided effective drainage and secured structural stability for this threatened building.
©English Heritage

Region: London

Local Authority: Kingston upon Thames

Owner Type: Private

Funding Body: Private, English Heritage

Year of Intervention: 2004

Summary: This Scheduled Ancient Monument was steadily deteriorating and inaccessible to the local community. The owners, Royal Borough of Kingston and English Heritage have worked in partnership to find the correct conservation solution, both in terms of the building’s care and also its presentation and interpretation. Ivy Conduit was removed from the English Heritage ‘Buildings at Risk’ register at the end of 2004 due to its successful restoration.

Description: Ivy Conduit was constructed in the mid 16th century and is one of the three conduit houses collecting water from springs on Coombe Hill for transportation down three miles of lead pipes to Hampton Court Palace.  It is located in the Coombe Wood Conservation Area.
Issue: The condition of this Scheduled Ancient Monument was steadily deteriorating and it was added to the English Heritage ‘Building at Risk’ register. There is a lot of local interest in the conduit system, but Ivy Conduit had to be closed by a fence due to health and safety. Two other conduit houses are in Guardianship and one: Gallows Tamkin, owned by Royal Borough of Kingston, is nearby on Coombe Wood Golf Course.

English Heritage worked in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kingston’s Conservation Officers and have been aided considerably by the owners, The Holy Cross School, whose efforts and enthusiasm made the project possible.  The objective was to provide effective drainage and to consolidate the existing fabric from further collapse following lack of repair since WW2 bomb damage and tree invasion.  There was no intention to rebuild at this stage due to lack of evidence of pre-war appearance and limited funds.

The Holy Cross School appointed a consulting engineer: John Wardle who drew up the specification, in consultation with English Heritage, and managed the project.  Following tender, contractors Simmonds of Wrotham were appointed and works included the provision of new drainage, structural support and brickwork conservation.  Specialist sub-contractors DHD Structural Ltd and Simpson Brickwork Conservation Ltd were used and Hampton Court Palace has been actively involved in the specification and provision of the new bricks. Archaeological investigative works were carried out by Sutton Archaeological Services.
The Holy Cross School see the restored Conduit as a heritage asset and are keen to allow public access to visitors by appointment and on Heritage Days. Active community involvement is leading to the design and production of interpretation boards and a leaflet which will detail the whole of the conduit system. Nearby Gallows Tamkin (SAM 60) is also a ‘Building at Risk’ and the owners, Royal Borough of Kingston, begun a first phase of repairs in August 2004.

Outcome: The owners, Royal Borough of Kingston and English Heritage have worked together to find the very best solution both in terms of the building’s care and also its presentation and interpretation.  The monument will need regular maintenance/monitoring and it is hoped to establish a Management Agreement for this purpose.  Ivy Conduit also represents a successful partnership between heritage professionals and the local community.

Keywords: Repair, Reconstruction and Restoration; Preservation and Maintenance, Management Plans

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