We are delighted to be working with Eastbridge Hospital as CDM Principal Designers. The Eastbridge Hospital is located in the heart of Canterbury, spanning the Eastbridge, one of the medieval bridges spanning the River Stour. The River Stour plays a significant role in the landscape and history of Canterbury. It flows through the city and has been an essential waterway for trade and transportation throughout history. Many historical buildings, including Eastbridge Hospital, are located along its banks.

The hospital’s proximity to the river may have influenced its history and function over the centuries. It’s quite common for historical buildings in Canterbury to have connections to the river, as it was a vital artery for the city’s development.

The wall bordering the River Stour, began to become unstable resulting in the need to make necessary repairs.  Repairing a wall that is beginning to collapse is usually a straightforward task, but not when it is part of a site of historical interest that dates back to the 12th Century and located in close proximity to a fast-moving river.

After discussion, with colleagues from Purcell and the Morton Partnerships, it was decided that the best way to make the necessary repairs was to create a dam, thus allowing the contractors to pour new foundations on the riverbed and rebuild the wall, to last for a few more centuries.

The wet weather created a challenge for the team, with high water levels and a fast-running river adding to the Health and Safety risk and making it difficult to construct the dam and proceed with the work.  A dry period enabled the team to use plastic sheeting on the riverbed, which could then be pulled up over scaffolding before a wooden barrier was constructed to create a suitable area for the contractors to work.  A pump was used to ensure the site was kept as dry as possible, whilst contractors carried out the project.

As a site of historical interest, every care was taken to identify any articles of archaeological interest and to preserve any materials and reuse them in the completed project. The environment had to be considered prior to commencing the build with filters included in the pump to prevent any material getting into the river and ensuring the project did not coincide with fish spawning and required close consultation with the Environment Agency.

The project is only small, but every care has been taken to ensure that part of Canterbury’s history has been sympathetically restored, whilst working with the natural environment.