St James’s Gardens, Euston

Dismantling, Crating & Transport of Listed Monuments

In 2019, London Stone Conservation was instructed to carry out the careful dismantling, crating and transport of two listed monuments located in St James’s Gardens, immediately to the west of Euston railway station.

The Gardens were originally opened in 1788 as the burial ground for St James’s Church in Piccadilly. The four-acre site was in use until 1853, with an estimated 61,000 interments. In 1887, the former burial ground was converted into a public garden, whilst retaining the original funerary architecture. These included the Grade II listed granite Monument to the Christie Family and the marble Obelisk to Baron Southampton.

The dismantling methodology was to deconstruct the monuments one block at a time, working from the top down. Each component was rigged to an aluminium A-frame, with the weight supported by the lifting straps, before being released at the bed joint. Diamond wire and fine tungsten hacksaw blades were used to carefully cut through the mortar and any physical fixings. The salvaged blocks were assigned a unique reference number, with all construction details and condition carefully recorded for the future repair and reassembly of the monuments.

Each individual unit was lifted into a pre-fabricated storage crate, constructed of marine plywood with internal supporting struts and reinforced with an external timber framework. The crates were built to conservation grade designs, to include floating support bases, dispersed load cushioning and ventilation to the vertical faces to improve air circulation. All stonework was wrapped in a vapour permeable membrane and protected using high-density polyethylene foam.

The works were carried out under an archaeological watch, within the largescale dig set up to exhume and relocate the thousands of interments from the former burial ground. Careful planning and constant communication in the site interface zones was key to the safe and efficient progress of the works in such a vast and complex dig. The project was undertaken in accordance with the Heritage Agreements set out by HS2 and their stakeholders, helping to maintain the high standards and objectives established at the outset of the venture. We are proud to share in these values, at the core of which is an innovative and pragmatic approach to the protection and preservation of historic structures and artefacts.