Tower Hamlets Town Hall, UK 

Refurbishment of the Grade II listed former Royal London Hospital to create a brand-new Town Hall for the local community

In 2014, Tower Hamlets Council set out to transform the former Royal London Hospital complex in the UK's capital city into a new, more accessible headquarters for the council. It wanted to create a central place for residents to access council services under one roof, and public space for all. The borough’s priority was to respect the legacy of this 18th-century institution, while creating a functional space which will continue to serve the community for generations to come.

Key information

London, United Kingdom
Date started:
Completion date:
Client type:
real estate
Main services:
project management, cost and commercial management, technical support

Serving communities

The long-awaited new Town Hall provides an accessible and local presence to bring people together and enable access to council services in one place while retaining the building’s heritage.

Offering over 26,000 m2 of civic office and flexible working space over four floors, the ground floor is dedicated to public use, featuring a café, shared spaces, a reception area at the heart of the building, and a council chamber. The new premises also maintains many heritage elements of the old hospital building, including the historic staircases, the Lutyens memorial and the historic chapel.

Adding value

Our specialist team were appointed as employer's agent, cost consultant, and design guardian in 2018. From then on, we worked closely with the client, contractor and design team throughout RIBA stages 3-7.

Adding extra value to the project, we prepared the final employer’s requirements for inclusion in the main design and build contract, including the contract sum - £125m, managed the project risks within acceptable financial limits, and worked collaboratively with the Local Planning Authority and Historic England from early stages to navigate the challenges posed by the historic, Grade II listed building.

  • 1,500 flexible workspaces
  • £4.1m Estimated generation of revenue for the local area per year
  • 400+ Creation of new jobs for the local area, including apprenticeships and training programmes

Building for future generations

Despite the many difficult challenges throughout the project, ranging from COVID-19 to industry inflationary pressures, our team played an instrumental role in in bringing the borough's ambitious vision to life. All of which was delivered under tight timescales to ensure the client was able to vacate their previous office space and occupy the new building in a timely manner.

As a result, we have helped to create a building that not only delivers year-on-year operational savings, but also provides a new central hub and local presence for residents to discuss and access council services. Making better use of vacant sites to provide new housing will also help contribute to future regeneration of the wider area.

Open and accessible to its diverse and vibrant community the Town Hall will serve its local community for many years to come as the Royal London Hospital did.

Yasmin Ali, Project Director – Town Hall Delivery, Tower Hamlets Council, said:

Leading the project to bring this iconic building back into use is a career highlight for me and I am delighted with the outcome.

"It’s been a painstaking process to deliver the council’s objective and we have focused on the detail from start to finish. Not only that, we have had to work through huge challenges like Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis, but we have always found solutions and managed to keep the project on track."

It was during these times that our working relationship with Turner & Townsend was so vital. They helped us through the process and these challenging times.

"Now our residents can access council services from one accessible building in the heart of the borough. The building looks fantastic and is a focal point for Whitechapel Road. Its impressive façade is improving the look and feel of the area, and I’ve seen first-hand how our staff are also benefitting from the location and the high-quality environment.”

Tower Hamlets Town Hall photo © Paul Raftery 

For further information contact:

Tim Rickford

t: +44 (0) 7950 954317