Dorset House, Marylebone

Conservation & Reconfiguration

The Grade II listed building contains 185 flats, with shops, restaurants and an underground parking garage. It occupies an entire street block between Marylebone Road and Gloucester Place in central London. London Stone Conservation carried out the conservation of the original stonework and the addition of new masonry features. 

Dorset House was built in 1934 by architects T P Bennett and Son with consulting architect Jospeh Emberton. One of the most impressive complexes built in the Moderne style, it is constructed of brown Flemish bond brick and Portland stone dressings, with curved balcony fronts and distinctive green painted wrought iron balustrades. The Gloucester Place entrance is flanked by large Portland stone reliefs carved by Eric Gill and a monumental inscription baring the name of the building.

The entrance had been unsympathetically altered to allow for a new canopy over the main resident entrance, which concealed the uppermost part of the relief carvings. London Stone Conservation won the tender as specialist stone contractor for the recent major reconfiguration of the entrance, canopy and forecourt. To allow for the safe construction of the new canopy by the main contractor all stonework surrounding the entrance was carefully dismantled and transported to the London Stone Conservation workshop for cleaning, repair and storage. This included the columns, entrance reveals, soffits, and planters but not the flanking walls or relief carvings, which were to stay in position with applied conservation grade protection. Following the workshop cleaning and repair program the stonework was redelivered to site to coincide with the completion of the first phase of construction. All stone details were reinstated to the original positions and orientation, including a new Portland stone masonry facade to unite the two flanking walls. The Gill reliefs were carefully cleaned using bespoke poultice applications, consolidated with dispersed lime treatment and missing elements remodelled in a permeable lime putty mix. The works have allowed the full composition of the sculptures to once again be visible, now set within a sympathetic entrance and forecourt and one deserving of this unique Moderne building.