Old Guys Hospital General Court
DescriptionThis historic group of buildings, built between 1725 and 1739 was originally commissioned by Thomas Guy, a wealthy philanthropist who was a Governor of the nearby St. Thomas’ Hospital, as a hospital for incurables. He never actually saw it completed, as he died a year before the first buildings were finished and is buried in the crypt of the chapel which forms one of the wings of the group of buildings. Guys Hospital gradually moved south from the original buildings, which were taken over as part of Kings College Hospital and remodelled and partially rebuilt after the second World War following extensive bomb damage.
The main quadrangle or General Court, completed in 1738, was used for many years as a car park for employees of the hospital, and featured a number of mature trees surrounding the statue of Thomas Guy. Boland House, the wing to the East of the General Court, was identified as an ideal building to house the new Science Gallery, to connect art, science and health, and to drive innovation in the heart of the city, and the General Court to be opened up to the public for their enjoyment.. This new free gallery has been constructed in this Listed building, and the General Court has been remodelled, incorporating new trees to replace the removed ones, planted in GreenBlue Urban systems where uncompacted soil volumes were not easily accessible.
This ancient area, with history dating back to the Roman era makes any excavation challenging. Archaeologists had to attend and supervise any digging, and a number of bones were found during the tree pit installations. In addition to these obstructions, numerous utility pipes and ducts were found and the tree pits were constructed around these so as not to disturb these essential services.
Working alongside ESL Landscape Contractors and Landscape Architects LDA Design the trees will provide benefits to all for many years to come with sufficient soil volumes by the use of RootSpace 600 soil cells, with the many utilities found on site there was much need for Root Management - stabilisation with ArborGuy and above ground Castle Tree Grilles to complement the paved areas.
Now complete, the General Court is a fine example of a tranquil public space available in a highly urbanised position. New stone steps running along both sides of the courtyard provide adequate seating areas, a café and shop deal with the needs of visitors, and the trees are growing healthily – making this spectacular plaza at the foot of the Shard one of the guaranteed popular visitor attractions for years to come.
GreenBlue Urban – creating canopies for centuries.