Major British Project to Reveal Secrets of Historic York City Walls

A major excavation has been announced to investigate the famous city walls of York. These walls have played an important part in the history of Britain and many exciting discoveries are expected.

York is a beautiful city in the north of England, and it is extremely popular with tourists, drawn by its architecture and history. These ancient fortifications have come to symbolize the identity of the city. The city has many miles of walls and they are generally 13 feet high and 6 feet wide (4 by 1.8 meters). They are especially popular with visitors who can walk the walls and view its many towers. One small section of the ramparts showed sign of stress because of the massive weight of the walls’ walkway.

Rampart with crack, giving way to stress from weight of walkway. Simon Hulme / Yorkshire Post

Worrying Cracks in Tower

Urgent work is needed to reinforce a 14 th-century tower on the walls, which is showing some signs of instability. For the past five years, the tower has begun to fissure and crack because of the infill from a walkway. The tower, known only as number 2 is situated between the larger Baile Hill tower and the curiously named Bitchdaughter Tower. It was built to strengthen the city’s original walls and the walkway that is now causing it to buckle was constructed in the 1700 or 1800s. Little more is known about its history.

Dr Louise Hood who helps to manage the walls told the Yorkshire Post that ‘Normally if we found a crack, we might pin it together, or put mortar in’. However, it was deemed that the best approach to stabilizing the structure was to excavate the walls. During the excavations under the walls, stonemasons will work to restore the tower. The project is supported by Historic England and will take up to four months.

The curiously named Bitchdaughter Tower, on the York wall. This tower was once much larger, 2 or 3 storeys, and used as a Royal prison. ( © Matthew Hatton / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

The Northern Roman Stronghold

The planned excavations are hoped to reveal more about the history of York’s walls. Roman legions built a castle ( castra) here in the 70s AD. Eboracum, as it was known by the Romans, was one of the most important Roman settlements in Northern England. In an earlier article, Ancient Origins reported that ‘This settlement became a city and one of the most important in Roman Britain and Yorkshire over time became increasingly Romanized’. But by the 5 th century AD, it was abandoned after the withdrawal of the Roman legions to Gaul in 410 AD.

Viking York

There are hardly any remains of the original Roman walls apart from a sole standing tower. Britain Express reports that ‘The most notable Roman remain is the Multangular Tower’. This 10-sided structure was one of the 10 towers on the walls and it was built by Emperor Septimius Severus (210 AD). The planned excavation may reveal if there was a Celtic settlement on the site before the coming of the Romans.

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The Roman Fortifications showing wall and Multangular Tower in Museum Gardens York. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

After the end of Roman rule, York became part of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom, and it seems that the walls fell into disrepair. In the 9 th century, the Vikings of the great ‘Heathen Army’ occupied this part of England and made York the capital of a powerful kingdom, known as Jorvik. Over time they rebuilt the ancient ramparts and ‘began by covering the Roman walls with a broad earth embankment crowned with a timber fence’ according to The History of York . William the Conqueror during his campaign to subdue the Anglo-Saxons in Northern England took York and during this attack, its walls were severely damaged.

Authentic Medieval Walls of York

The city prospered because it was the seat of the Archbishop of York. The majority of the walls were built between the 12 th and the 14 th century when the city was one of the most important in England. They probably replaced wooden walls. York was the headquarters of Charles I in the English Civil War, but the city was besieged and captured by the Parliamentarians (1646), the walls escaped relatively unscathed at this time.

The only additions to the medieval walls were the walkway in the modern period. Unlike many other cities and towns in Europe, York managed to preserve its medieval walls. “Most people walk the city walls and think they are standing on Roman walls, Dr Hood told the Yorkshire Post.

Dr Hood is quoted by the Yorkshire Post as saying, ‘We’ve got this fantastic opportunity, with an excavation and trial pits, to see if we can find out what was there before’. The work means that they can better understand when the tower was built, and an insight into what structure existed there previously. The work may reveal something about an abandoned fortress that once stood in this part of the city. A new temporary walkway has been erected to allow visitors to walk the famous walls and enjoy the sights of York.

Major British Project to Reveal Secrets of Historic York City Walls - History

The BBC has been developing a collection of stories to demonstrate how WW1 affected people and places in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The strategic aim is to connect the audience to this past viscerally by bringing home how the global war was experienced locally in the domestic settings and workplaces in homes and streets and factories of cities, towns, villages, hamlets. Helen Weinstein, Creative Director of Historyworks has been involved with BBC Strategy for the marking of the Commemoration of World War One. In addition, Historyworks has made a range of products for the commemoration, with Sam Johnson as Researcher, Jonathan Cowap as Presenter, Helen Weinstein as Producer, Jon Calver as Sound Engineer/Editor, and John Oxley as Advisor.

These WW1 pieces include a BBC Radio Feature series about York's experience in World War One, a Drama about Conscientious Objectors in York which was made as a sound installation for the Guildhall in York, and a History Trail App showing York's Experience of World War One which you can experience in situ using the app/map or via audio on youtube if you do not have a smartphone. You can find all of these items as audio files and further information below on these pages.

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To find a vast range of resources, do go to the BBC World War One Website, where you can search by locations, themes, and by BBC Region/Radio Station. All BBC Regional and Local Radio stations will be commemorating the Great War on Monday 4th August by broadcasting the features on these pages:


York Art Gallery: Show time

Τo a child, the concept of secrecy is a magical construct filled with intrigue, mystery and adventure. Secrecy is vigorously enthused into the stories and games that enchant us in our youth and it is only when we grow older and our imaginations contract that it becomes something to fear rather than favour.

And in architecture, it is the buildings that keep secrets that are sometimes the best. York Art Gallery was once one of these and its own secret, as vividly described by York Museums Trust chief executive Janet Barnes, has formed the conceptual basis for the extensive £8m renewal and refurbishment project that has now been completed. “There was a narrow corridor that led from one of the upper galleries,” whispers Barnes conspiratorially. “It had a concealed door and when you opened this door, you were suddenly met with the most incredibly elaborate Victorian ceiling, soaring over a void between the roof and the ceiling below. I would love seeing the surprise on people’s faces when I showed it to them it was our very own secret gallery.”

The original building features a grand Victorian facade

This gallery has now been unlocked courtesy of a competition-winning scheme designed by a joint venture between two architects, Ushida Findlay and conservationists Simpson & Brown. Their proposals beat off stiff competition from a renowned shortlist containing Rick Mather Architects and 2015 Stirling Prize nominees MUMA. Tragically, co-designer Kathryn Findlay died before the building was complete so in many ways, the gallery’s rebirth now stands as a poignant final built legacy to her life and work.

York Art Gallery itself, which was closed for almost two years during the refurbishment, is one of England’s most important regional galleries and contains an impressive collection of both contemporary and classical artwork and paintings. It also contains the world largest collection of British studio ceramics.

The gallery overlooks Exhibition Square right in the centre of historic York and while its Victorian front facade is a ponderous and unduly blank affair, it occupies an enviable position beside the ancient city walls and overlooked by the towers of the magnificent York Minster nearby. But of course, like many old civic buildings, York Art Gallery was built for a different purpose to the one it serves today and the incremental nature of its evolution is central to why its “secret gallery” became secret in the first place.


The British ceramic studio reveals how the new structure has been anchored to historic structure

It was completed in 1879 by architect Edward Taylor to host the second Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition, inspired by the Great Exhibition in London of 1851. Today’s gallery building was only a small part of the original building behind it once stood a huge timber-frame hall that housed the main exhibition space. Even though this hall was intended to be temporary, after the exhibition it was retained and was converted for various uses, including the former York School of Art. In 1892 the front building was elevated to the role it still serves today, City Art Gallery.

Unfortunately the rear hall was destroyed during the Second World War leaving the front building as the sole gallery premises. The front gallery building had a hall of its own at its centre, smaller in size than its bombed-out equivalent to the rear but more elaborately decorated with sprung ornamental arched trusses spanning a soaring barrel-vaulted roof.

However, the destruction caused by the war sparked a long post-war period of insensitive, piecemeal additions and alterations to the remaining building that gravely damaged both its built fabric and historic integrity. A poorly built and incongruously functionalist 1950s wing was slapped on to the back to conceal the internal walls left exposed by the destroyed rear hall.

And in the 1970s the remaining hall was savagely subdivided by a series of screens and partitions, the most damaging of which was a false ceiling erected at first floor slab level which halved the height of this lofty space and effectively covered its intricate vaulted roof from view for the next 40 years to all except an awestruck Barnes and her smuggled guests.


The concept behind the gallery’s restoration has been a simple one: to unlock the secret spaces that previous inappropriate redevelopment had created. As the front facade of the grade II-listed building has been left untouched, this mandate starts in the entrance lobby. This was once a cluttered space incongruously crammed with shops and a cafe.

But the relocation of York’s city archives, which previously occupied the north wing of the ground floor, has allowed the cafe to be relocated to the former archives reading room to the side of the lobby. This in turn has enabled the lobby to become a clear open space and a fitting entrance to the gallery for the first time in decades.

And it is here where the theme of uncovered secrets makes its first appearance. The original chequerboard-tiled floor, previously obscured by ungainly vinyl covering, has been restored and exposed. And two glorious granite columns and capitals which form a screen that separates the lobby from the main hall have been liberated from the crude plasterboard housing into which they were inexplicably boxed in the 1970s and are now on resplendent full display.

Beyond the lobby we look upwards to catch our first tantalising glimpse of the ornamental roof that had been hidden from view for decades. But first there are three new galleries on the ground floor to navigate, two on either side of the main hall and a central gallery directly ahead in the main hall itself concealed behind a glass screen.

Because this central gallery is pushed back from the front edge of the hall, it wisely permits the brief, double height void which allows views to be drawn upwards and daylight to pour downwards.

After much agonising debate between client and architects, the decision was made to retain the vertical subdivision in the main hall and keep the ground floor as separate gallery space. “The rational move was to create more usable space,” says Barnes, “to demonstrate the public benefit of the restoration works.” Accordingly, gallery space has been increased by 65%.

But there was another important reason too, as Simpson & Brown project architect Tom Van Hoffelen explains. “We liked the idea of a mezzanine with the new gallery above, and we felt that the benefit of this new raised gallery with its newly exposed ceiling would far outweigh any drawbacks in maintaining the subdivision below.”

Secret gallery

And this raised gallery space is indeed the centrepiece of the project. Reached via a sumptuously restored stone staircase to the side of the lobby, this gallery space occupies the lofty upper level volume underneath the gloriously restored Victorian ceiling. Flooded with daylight from slanted skylights above and with its walls crammed bazaar-like with its ceramic exhibits bejewelled in glass cases, there is a celestial otherworldliness about the space that makes it impossible to conceive how it could have been callously hidden from view for so long.

The entire room, both ceiling and walls, has been painted in two shades of white and while this familiar monochrome gallery palette uniformly applied on to a Victorian interior might have jarred, Van Hoffelen explains that it was derived from curatorial as well as architectural decisions. “We wanted simple, modelled surfaces of glass and white mixing with shadows. Colour would have been too dominant and decorative, the white background is not only good for the exhibits but it enables the room itself to appear sculptural.”

In many ways this room summarises the entire project. The Victorians may have conceived and left it as an ornamental showcase but it has now been embalmed in conformist white that mirrors the unassuming and understated approach the design has adopted. “Functionality was the key,” says Van Hoffelen, “we wanted to make things usable and we wanted to avoid flashy new elements and overt statements.” This they have certainly achieved to the extent that their interventions are marked by a passivity that almost renders them invisible. Those who like their architecture virile and red-blooded might be underwhelmed, but the project still represents a studious, if quiet, resolve to stitch a broken and fragmented building back together.


An attic storey features glazed ceramic tiles that reference local paving as well as the gallery’s artefacts

Other key internal interventions on the first floor are another ceramics gallery inserted into a space formerly occupied by a pitched roof to the south of the hall and the refurbishment of the rear 1950s brickwork extension block to house a shop, studio and lift. The shop leads out on to a broad balcony terrace which provides generous views out across newly landscaped gardens that are to replace the site of the main hall bombed in the war.

Suspended stairs lead down into the garden with both stairs and terrace forming an expansive timber structure whose rather clunky articulation seems at odds with the more discreet touches inside. More successful is the tall brick parapet wall that wraps around the top of the 1950s block to conceal new plant. With its intermittently projecting bricks, it reads like a decorative embroidered trim whose studded surface apes the decorative ceramics inside.

A new landscaped alleyway also snakes along the north side of the gallery from the gardens to Exhibition Square at the front of the building. With the kind of linguistic contortionism that could only be attempted in Yorkshire, twisting, hidden alleyways like this, of which there are several in York, are known as “snickelways”.

The ornamental timber ceiling in the ‘secret gallery’ has been painted in two shades of white

This one will now be open to the public and offers a starkly utilitarian, back-of-house view of the gallery whose walls here reveal the hectic series of patches, add-ons and repairs that indicate the physical changes the gallery has undergone over time.

With some grammatical licence, Simpson & Brown partner Andy Davey refers to this as an “haphazardry of materials” that characterises the building. “York is a city of dead ends,” proffers Barnes, as a metaphor for the series of abutments and transitions that define the gallery’s side and rear walls.

Both these themes inform the gallery’s final architectural flourish, an extraordinary attic level that runs along the gallery’s south side clad entirely in tessellated hexagonal glazed ceramic tiles that softly undulate from shades of blue to green. Set loudly against the warm yellow brickwork of the building this comes as something of a shock after the monochrome rigour of the central hall.

After the studious restraint elsewhere, such belated raucousness might be seen as a piece of cheap and desperate exhibitionism. Not so here. First, the pattern is based on a historic paving pattern that is again found on several of York’s snickelways. But even more vividly, like a key glinting amidst a pile of padlocks, it offers a knowing wink towards the decorative secrets that lie within.

Project Team

Client York Museums Trust
Architect Ushida Findlay Simpson & Brown
Main contractor Simpson of York
Structural/Mechanical engineer Arup
QS Aecom
Project manager Appleyard & Trew

My first library

When I was around six or seven years old, circa 1954, my mother would collect me from Huntsman’s Gardens Schools, in the depths of Sheffield’s industrial east end, and call round at Attercliffe Library for her weekly fix of books to read. Though she had left school at fourteen, she was an omnivorous reader.

I have a clear memory that, while she browsed, I would make a beeline for the bottom shelf of the music section, dig out a score of Handel’s Messiah and stare in wonderment at the multiple staves of the ‘Halleluiah Chorus’, amazed to see how much music could be going on at one instant.

How I reached this I’ve no idea. Somehow I must have known that the ‘Halleluiah Chorus’ was part of Messiah and that it had been written by George Frideric Handel, but the piece is actually buried at the end of Part II and so isn’t easy for a little kid to find.

Attercliffe Library, built in 1894, still exists, an elegant Jacobethan building next door to the older Attercliffe Baths of 1879. It was designed by Charles Wilke, about whom next to nothing is known.

For nearly a hundred years it provided knowledge and entertainment to Attercliffe workers and their families and then, when the houses eventually came down, it closed in 1986.

It’s now a rather fine restaurant, spearheading the cultural renaissance of Attercliffe as a place to visit:

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Later Mediaeval York

Restaurant Design

Avocado Sweets Design Studio – Moto Pizza

Moto is a new rodizio-style pizza concept where the scene is set from the exterior signage design. The authoritative stamp-like quality of the monochrome logo with a playful ‘t’ motif is then built into the physical fabric of the interior to cement the brand familiarity. Inside, the space boasts a careful combination of colour, materials, textures and patterns to relax, reassure and excite. Taking disparate textures, colours and styles, the team knitted together a cohesive space that is both effortlessly cool and warm and inviting. The floor space is carefully zoned to accommodate a range of covers for lunch and dinner. The open kitchen and wood-fired oven take centre stage, clad in a monochrome mosaic of tiles spelling out Moto Pizza – a striking visual cue to instantly communicate the quality and care of the product, the theatre of the cooking, and to cement the new brand identity .

LXA – Ena

The brainchild of Greek entrepreneur Lena Maniatis, Ena offers authentic Greek cuisine, inspired by a genuine love for the ‘real’ food you find in homes and villages. In a highly distinctive, modern setting, the restaurant’s interior evokes the experience of sitting on a rocky island, under an olive tree, watching the sea by candlelight. Because Lena insists on using natural ingredients in her dishes, there is a focus on natural materials – especially different types of stone – using them as a backdrop for contemporary Greek artworks. The use of natural raw stone gives the impression of the dramatic rugged terrain and is used as a wall-feature set behind glass, a subtle homage to site excavation as the rock reveals its secrets contrasting with polished stone sculpture.

SMC Design – Spirit of Discovery: Coast to Coast

SMC Design were tasked with creating a modern, fresh interior that evoked the design of a classic champagne and oyster bar for their client SAGA Cruises. The design of the room takes on coastal influences with aqua, teal and turquoise colours found within the soft furnishings, complemented by a dark timber herringbone floor and the clever use of kiln-formed toughened glass and mirrors to accentuate the size of the restaurant. The coastal influence follows through to the specially commissioned artwork by Beth Nicholas set within brass framing. Tan leather ribbed chairs and teal fabric buttoned banquettes offer seating options to diners, with copper cutlery and dining plates inspired by the room signage decorating the tables. Located on the promenade deck of the ship, all guests to this restaurant have the ability to fine dine whilst looking out to the ocean in this modern, crisp interior.

These White Walls – HIDE

These White Walls was approached by Hedonism Wines to create a concept and interior aesthetic for its flagship fine-dining venue HIDE in Mayfair, which is a joint venture with acclaimed chef Ollie Dabbous. The venue would be a rustic-yet-refined dining haven, set over three floors, housing two restaurants, five private dining spaces, a bakery, wine cellars and a rare spirits bar. The brief was to create an interior that felt hedonistic yet homely, be luxurious yet accessible, and ultimately a unique experience that reflected the personality of its owners. The studio created an interior scheme based upon the theme of ‘dwelling’. The concept takes traditional emblems of domesticity and re-imagines them in unexpected ways, expressing beauty and ethereality. Each floor – Above, Ground and Below – was given a distinct narrative and shifted the palette of materials in relation to nearby Green Park to create an evolving sensual experience for guests.

Twenty2Degrees – SOMOS Restaurant: Crowne Plaza Porto

SOMOS Restaurant is a Mediterranean restaurant and bar space that references the charm and detail associated with local building and spaces within the city. The use of timber, terracotta finishes and decorative hand-painted floor tiles are a direct reference to traditional Mediterranean building materials. Uncomplicated rustic details and simple building methods complement the refined yet effortless local cuisine.

Project of the Week: SBID Awards Winners 2019

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features the playful charm and intoxicating narrative of Torno Subito for Massimo Bottura the Italian restaurateur’s latest venture in Dubai. Vibrantly captured by Bishop Design by Paul Bishop, the SBID Award winning project for the Restaurant Design category is an explosion of utterly beautiful reminiscence.

Ultimately la dolce vita, with colour-bombs and beachside terrace, Torno Subito is situated within the latest W Hotel offering upon The Palm Jumeirah Dubai. The venue beautifully fuses design, food and influences from the golden days in one harmonious offering, through an intoxicating reflection of Massimo’s affection with the past also mirroring his culinary approach of ‘tradition in evolution’. With its distinctive storyline, Torno Subito brings a playful charm to the UAE as it completely immerses guests within its narrative infused with sunshine-yellow tiles, Italian-punk inspired artworks and a Polaroid photo feature ceiling. Entirely ahead of its time, Torno Subito revolutionises the F&B (food and beverage) landscape as a pioneer of immersive dining.

SBID Awards: Restaurant Design winner sponsored by Perennials and Sutherland

Company: Bishop Design by Paul Bishop

Project: Torno Subito

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

What was the client’s brief?

Torno Subito, situated within the latest W Hotel upon the Palm Jumeirah Dubai, is a visual celebration for famed World’s number one chef and 3-star Michelin Holder Massimo Bottura. The chef known for passion, creativity and even his quirkiness saw a unique opportunity with this venture, in that he could recreate his childhood memories through intelligent design and an innovative food offering. The brief was simply to realize the sentiment of Massimo having fun. A metaphysical manifestation of beachside days reminiscent of Rimini’s coastal playground in the 1950s/60s – fun-filled days enjoying amazing food, drinks and ultimate relaxation. The interiors were to transport you to destinations beyond imagination through an intoxicating reflection of Massimo’s affection with the past. Film was to be an integral expression throughout as inspiration from Fellini films took precedent. The venue was to be a beautiful fusion, bringing together design, food and influences from the golden days into one harmonious offering.

What inspired the interior design of the project?

An intoxicating narrative of bygone days sets Torno Subito far beyond alternate offerings in the region, elevating the design as one of the most revolutionary in the country. Ultimately La Dolce Vita, with colour-bombs and beachside terrace, “Torno Subito” is an explosion of utterly beautiful reminiscence. Massimo’s “tradition in evolution” approach to food enticed the design direction to inherit the best of the past and carry it forward to the future. Days of Italian pop culture were to be relived in a bewitching series of pure memoirs, satisfying Dubai’s crave for an authentic experience in its absent nostalgia.

What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?

To capture a vision belonging to someone so passionate as Massimo was challenging, yet we superseded expectations by perfectly creating his desired narrative. So far beyond solely an F&B venue, the walls tell a beautiful story inspired by Massimo’s memories, enabling guests to relive Italian food markets and beachside days in 1950s/60s Rimini. Even the name itself “Torno Subito,” translating to “I’ll be back soon,” reflective of Italian shopkeeper window signs, perfectly captures the sentiments of the venues story, whilst playing a tongue-in-cheek reference to Massimo’s presence at the restaurant.

What was your team’s highlight of the project?

We had never worked to realize such an inspiring story as the one told Torno Subito. The narrative was enhanced through physically diversifying materials and installations evoking a recollection of memory and re-collection of object. Pastel tones compliment the bold color mélange contrasting against a morphing monochromatic floor that seamlessly blends into a unique, three-dimensional sand-print flooring. An eclectic array of black and white Polaroid photos suspends from the ceiling, including films of Fellini and Massimo’s collection of nostalgic 1960s summers. Cinematic ideologies evolve through corrugated iron forms representative of cinema curtains, surrounding the WC entrance. Animated graphic-stamped ceiling panels float in irregular lines representing the canopies of old Italian food market tents that Massimo has been visiting since he was young.

Why did you enter the SBID Awards?

Showcasing projects of the highest calibre all over the world, the SBID Awards stand as a desirable platform for every designer to share their work. It truly is a privilege to be able to submit a selection of our projects and be crowned SBID Award winners, as we become inspired year on year with the unprecedented talent and expertise that the awards showcase.

Questions answered by Paul Bishop, Owner and Founder of Bishop Design by Paul Bishop

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring SBID Award winners for CGI & Visualisation with the stunning visualisations of their skyscraping penthouse project, click here to see more.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s Restaurant Design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

Project of the Week

This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a brand new classic and, at the same time, trending BBQ restaurant design concept for a fast-growing city in the Emirates. New to Dubai, it includes a central open barbecue fire-pit with six different grills from around the world. As visitors enter, they are stunned by the spectacular sight of brick brazier spanning from floor to high ceiling, taking centre stage and serving as the focal point of the entire space. Together with the striking open-fire barbecue-pit, guests are entertained and as much a part of the culinary action as they spectate their carnivore feast being prepared AtmosFire is more than just a restaurant – it is a dining destination.

Sector: Hospitality Design

Company: 4Space Interior Design

Project: AtmosFire

Project Locati on: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

What was the client’s brief?

Our client, already firmly established within the F&B industry and owners of its own famous and prestigious brand – Barbeque Nation, was seeking to build a BBQ restaurant with a design that is inspired by the traditional grilling techniques from all over the world.

What inspired the interior design of the project?

The main inspiration is the fire pit – where people gather around to enjoy a sumptuous meal while sharing life stories. We pitched the concept of having a central open fire pit with 6 different grills that will cater the best meats around the globe.

What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?

There were a few hurdles we had to overcome to make sure the restaurant design could be executed safely and effectively:

  • Executing the Brazier and the brick installation – It was spanned from a double height ceiling that made it more difficult to complete.
  • Placing the 2 tons fire pit in the centre that is surrounded by the seating area.
  • MEP design – a major challenge is to ensure a good ventilation bringing comfort to people sitting around the fire pit.

What was your team’s highlight of the project?

The spectacular sight of massive brick brazier spanning from the floor to high ceiling, taking centre stage, serves as the major highlight of the entire restaurant design scheme. Another highlight will be the fire pit itself. It came from a well-known brand in UK – Clay Oven. They customise different grilling techniques depending on the requirements of their client. In addition, the seating area on the central pit can be a highlight as well. It was designed to socialise and be part of the action. Guests can experience the finest meats prepared and aged onsite and then grilled and roasted to perfection.

Seeing how the individual design elements we specified came together was also an exciting moment for us the terrazzo material that had been applied to most of the spaces – floor, walls, tables, and counter tops was as a result of our design vision and gave us the ability to achieve a contemporary yet classic look. We added corten steel walls on the ground level with ember linear lighting inspired by the grilling effect on the meat. The ‘broken bricks’ effect on the ceiling and walls creates a shift between the sleek surfaces to an aged appearance to create an atmosphere of classic history in one of the world’s youngest cities where residents and visitors crave a vision of heritage. A mild black steel was applied to the meat agers cabinet also around the pit area. This design continues to provide the design theme of contemporary and aged imperfection. The mezzanine floor presents a pleasant surprise as the detail of the upholstery, joinery and finishes is punctuated by perfect lighting to create light yet a calm dining atmosphere. Our materials were used to allow maximum creativity from several viewpoints at every angle of the dining area and bar. The dining chairs are 100% leather upholstery.

Questions answered by Firas Alsahin, Design Director at 4Space Interior Design

If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a contemporary kitchen design in sleek, bold tones to blend into its surrounding architecture, click here to see more.

We hope you feel inspired by this week’s hospitality design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire

Six of the best English country gardens

An English country garden is a sight to behold and there are plenty within an hour’s journey of central London that can easily be visited on a day trip. Here are just a few suggestions of some of the best late summer season gardens to visit before autumn sets in.

The Royal Horticultural Society has a wonderful gem in the heart of Surrey with its gardens at Wisley – there’s a rich variety of areas to visit and it’s a garden that continues to evolve. Last year saw the opening of its new Exotic Garden, a beautiful showcase of plants with a tropical look but which can grow well outdoors in a typical British summer climate. You’ll find a dazzling array of flowers, palms and dahlias, which look their very best up until late summer. Discover pretty mixed summer borders, as well as visit the exciting, vibrant displays at the Trials Field, designed to inspire visitors and demonstrate good environmental practice. The many roses at Wisley are in stunning bloom and August is also a great month to view the vivid blues of Agapanthus. Garden lovers should put the 4-9 September in their diaries for the RHS Wisley Flower Show expect to see a Flower Bus, Anita Nowinska’s exhibition of floral artwork and more than 100 dahlia exhibitors.

Getting there: Take the train from London Waterloo to Effingham Junction (45 minutes) then a taxi to Wisley (ten minutes).

The numerous, magnificent gardens of Cliveden – ranging from the Water Garden, Walled Garden, Round Garden, the Long Garden, the Parterre and all the spectacular garden sculptures – are maintained by the National Trust and are as glorious to visit in the late summer months as they are early in the season. All summer long there’s a riot of colour and scents from its Rose Garden, where more than 900 roses bloom until September. The Rose Garden was recreated just four years ago, based on an original 1950s design by famed garden designer Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, and include various elements of the gardens’ original 18th-century wilderness landscape. A lovely way to top off a trip to Cliveden’s gardens is by booking tickets to an event in its formal gardens. Bring a picnic hamper and enjoy performances ranging from a new adaptation of a David Walliams novel to a reworking of a classic Sherlock Holmes case. And while the historic Cliveden House, on the wider estate, is now a luxury hotel, you can buy a ticket for a short-guided tour available three afternoons a week until the end of October.

Getting there: Take the train from London Paddington to Bourne End, (50 minutes) then walk a pleasant two miles through countryside to Cliveden.

History emanates from every corner of Hatfield House, the home of the seventh Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family the estate has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. As well as the chance to see some of the finest examples of 17th-century architecture in the country, visitors will find Hatfield’s gardens just as impressive. Explore the roses and herbaceous plants in the West Garden, designed more than 100 years ago, and the Sundial Garden that was commissioned to mark Hatfield’s 400th anniversary in 2011. It’s also a wonderful place to discover contemporary sculpture set within the gardens – the new ‘Renaissance’ water sculpture by renowned sculptor Angela Connor, sits on the North Front of the House – as well as attend performances during its summer Theatre in the Park programme. Look out for the unique event on 1 September when the Urban Soul Orchestra performs classic Ibiza anthems in this gorgeous setting.

Getting there: Take the fast train from London Kings Cross to Hatfield, (20 minutes) and walk 15 minutes from the station to Hatfield House.

Leeds Castle is perhaps one of the most attractive castles in England – and its gardens are just as spectacular there’s more than 500 acres of stunning parkland and formal gardens. Its Culpeper Garden – named after the 17th-century owners of the castle – is a fine example of an English country garden, an informal layout with roses, poppies and lupins creating a wonderful colourful display. Its Woodland Garden runs alongside the River Len and is currently being redeveloped to create six magnificent individual gardens to explore. Visit in September (15-20) for its Festival of Flowers discover floral displays inside the castle and around the rest of the grounds, all themed around ‘Ladies Day’ in 2018. Admire the creativity of award-winning floral designers, participate in floral workshops and watch specialist talks and demonstrations. Fortunately, if you like what you see, your admission ticket allows you to visit as many times as you like over 12 months, so it’s worth returning to admire the gardens in different seasons.

Getting there: Take the train from London Victoria to Bearsted (one hour) and take the coach shuttle service from the station to the castle, which runs between April and September.

Eltham Palace has an illustrious history starting life as a medieval palace, it became a Tudor royal residence and was turned into an Art Deco mansion created by millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in the 1930s. The palace is a must-visit, yet so are its 19 acres of historic gardens, which, like the home, boast a mix of medieval features in its landscape. Late summer is all about its long herbaceous border that encircles the medieval palace, which becomes a riot of purples, yellows, blues and coppers. It’s also home to 18 different varieties of oriental poppy plus a huge assortment of peonies and clematis. Wonderful scents arise from the plentiful roses in the Rose Garden and the Rose Quadrant, which include several historic rose varieties late summer is also the perfect time to see the wildflower meadows and colourful dahlias.

Getting there: Take the train from London Charing Cross to Mottingham (25 minutes) and then walk to the palace (ten minutes).

Set in 360 acres of land, RHS Garden Hyde Hall was donated to the RHS in 1993 by renowned gardeners Helen and Dick Robinson and is in one of the driest parts of the UK, with an average rainfall of just 600mm. Hyde Hall's Clover Hill is a patchwork of colour, with vast swathes of grasses and herbaceous perennials flowing through its landscape. There are plenty of horticultural highlights Hyde Hall holds the national plant collection of Viburnum, numbering around 250 accessions the Dry Garden is one of breathtaking beauty even where there is very little rainfall. Don’t forget to visit the Global Growth Vegetable Garden, which opened last summer and features unusual fruit and vegetables from around the world. Plans for next year include the Big Sky Meadows, an ambitious planting project to create up to 50 acres of perennial meadowland.

Getting there: Take the train from London Liverpool Street to Chelmsford (30 minutes) and take a taxi or bus to Hyde Hall (20 minutes).

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  • Council chiefs have backed plans to end all ‘non-essential’ vehicle journeys
  • Historic York has faced criticism for generating high levels of air pollution
  • To combat pollution no vehicles will be allowed to drive in the city walls

Published: 01:24 BST, 1 January 2020 | Updated: 01:25 BST, 1 January 2020

York could become the first city in Britain to ban private cars from driving in the centre.

Council chiefs have backed plans to end all ‘non-essential’ vehicle journeys into the city centre by 2023.

Historic York, which attracts almost seven million visitors a year, has previously faced criticism for generating illegally high levels of air pollution.

To combat congestion and pollution, no vehicles – apart from buses and those used by disabled drivers – will be allowed to drive in an area within the city walls.

The ban will apply to both diesel and petrol cars. It is likely to apply to electric and hybrid vehicles too.

It follows news that Bristol is set to become the first UK city to ban diesel cars by 2021.

A bus stop on Rougier Street was the most polluted spot in 2018

The City of York council aims to become carbon neutral by 2030, two decades before the government’s target date for net zero emissions. Twelve locations in the city centre exceed national air quality standards, according to a pollution map released last year by Friends of the Earth.

A bus stop on Rougier Street was the most polluted spot in 2018, followed by a taxi rank outside a railway station.

Deputy council leader Andy D’Agorne said: ‘York is committed to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030. Reducing congestion and supporting more residents and visitors to move around our wonderful city through walking, cycling and public transport is essential to meet our ambition.

‘Our largely pedestrianised shopping areas have already transformed the city centre and we are looking at options to take this to the next level.

'A car-free and thriving city centre, which is accessible to those with limited mobility like blue badge holders, is achievable but only through detailed planning and engagement with those most affected by the proposals.’

A bus stop on Rougier Street was the most polluted spot in 2018, followed by a taxi rank outside a railway station. York (pictured).


First World War Centenary (Imperial War Museum) homepage:

Operation War Diary

Operation War Diary brings together original First World War documents from The National Archives, the historical expertise of IWM and the power of the Zooniverse community.

First world war: share your letters, photographs and stories

Crowdsourcing project asking readers to participate by uploading letters, diaries or photographs from any relatives or friends who were involved in the first world war.

Quaker Diaries

An online Quaker storytelling project marking the centenary of World War One. It will follow in real-time the story of five Quakers in a blog and Twitter feed.

No More War

This website focusses on the Quaker and conscientious objector stance within the war years.

Conscientious Objectors Project

A website resource that documents the history of conscientious objection during the First World War.

No Glory in War 1914-1918

A partner website to the No Glory open letter. It identifies the importance of remembering the devastating impact of the war and provides links to articles that debate what it identifies as the celebratory commemoration of World War One.

Remember the World as well as the War

The British Council's report on the First World War presents findings from an international survey in seven countries (Egypt, France, Germany, India, Turkey, Russia and the UK) carried out by YouGov. It explores people's perceptions and knowledge about the First World War and highlights the truly global nature of the conflict and its lasting legacy. The report also identifies that international perceptions of the UK today are, in part, still influenced by Britain's role in the First World War.

Do Mention the War

This report, carried out by British Future by YouGov, draws on original research into what the public know and don&rsquot know about the First World War, why they think next year&rsquos centenary will matter and what they want it to be about.

War Memorials Online

A website which uses crowdsourcing to chart war memorials and their current condition with the aim of conserving these for future generations.

Great War Photos

This website is run by military historian and author Paul Reed.

The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War

A digital essay in which the contemporary world is compared with the world of 1914.

Picturing the Great War

A First World War blog from the Mary Evans Picture Library.

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