As many of you will have undoubtedly read from Director-General Diana Owen over the last few months, one of the key features of her plans for ROSL include the long term stewardship of our beautiful Grade I listed clubhouse in the heart of Mayfair, by means of a Master Buildings Strategy.
Work on the project has so far taken place mostly behind the scenes, in fact much of the work since Diana's arrival has been, unseen but incredibly important, compliance and maintenance work to bring the clubhouse up to modern standards. The next stage of the strategy has been to appoint Martin Ashley Conservation Architects to lead the production of the Master Buildings Strategy starting with a heritage assessment and statement of significance.
The next steps will be to survey and quantify the works required to ensure the sustainability of Over-Seas House in the long term alongside considering what refurbishments are needed.
This will start by reviewing ROSL's archival materials relating to the buildings, which includes several hundred technical drawings of all aspects of each of the three buildings which make up Over-Seas House, and the various upgrades, extensions and refurbishments they have each received over the decades since ROSL first purchased Vernon House in 1922. Research by the archtiects is also taking place at Westminster Archives and the London Metropolitan Archives to complement ROSL's own materials.
From this a heritage statement will be developed, followed by a condition survey to identify and prioritise existing maintenance and repair projects. A key part of the survey will involve understanding space planning by using accurate digital survey plans and elevations.
It is hoped that early next year draft Master Building Strategy recommendations will be in place and ready for submission to the Senior Leadership Team and Buildings and Heritage Sub-Committee, made up of members. Following its approval, this marks the completion of Stage One of the strategy, and it is in Stage Two that the real work begins!
While this process is incredibly involved, it is absolutely paramount to the long-term health of Over-Seas House, which in past decades has often received cosmetic improvements at the expense of more fundamental maintenance and improvement. By getting the building on an even keel in this respect, and keeping on top of its maintenance needs proactively, it is then that visible improvements to the clubhouse environment for members can start to accelerate.
Keep an eye on the ROSL website, eNewsletters and the Overseas journal for more progress reports.