Hawley Square, Margate
Just two doors down from our office, Numbers 15 and 16 Hawley Square appear on Edmunds' 1821 map of Margate, though their exact construction date remains unknown. The two houses were joined together in the mid 20th century, and were Grade II listed in the 1970s.
Changes over time to the front elevations include the loss of a bay window and fanlight doorways. The most significant change however is more clear from the rear facade which has large, modern, landscape-format crittall windows and two blockwork WC annexes, replacing what would originally have been a jumble of windows, doors, bays, kitchen extensions and projecting WCs.
Our on-site investigations into the buildings' fabric (see plan, below) have revealed that central cross walls were detached from the party walls and constructed of mid-20th century brickwork, along with parts of the upper rear facade. The presence of this modern masonry, its location and the way it was constructed, together suggest that the building had a major fire, leading to the loss of all interior and exterior woodwork, explaining why none of the original timber floors, walls, staircases or windows remain.
After our initial feasibility studies into different configurations, the client's brief settled on creating the best three apartments in Margate, to host visiting musicians and VIPs to Dreamland, which was then under the same ownership.
There are spectacular sea views from the third floor rear, which, along with our discovery that the top floor masonry is all new, lead to our proposal to open up the top floor entirely to appreciate the view.
The project was granted Listed Building Consent. However, the client decided sell on and the building remains derelict.
The building would ideally be repurposed to support sustainable growth of the Theatre Royal next door. The lower two floors and back yard, especially, are ideally located to provide much-needed additional backstage facilities. The upper three floors could provide mixed-use creative work-space, adding to the diverse urban community of the Square.
Contemporary photographs, 3D models and plans by Studio Sam Causer.
Historic photograph of 15 & 16 Hawley Square front façade in 1960s from Thanet District Council.