Grotto Passage

According to Howard de Walden Estate records, Grotto Passage derives its name from a famous shell grotto that was hosted here during the mid-18th century. Shell grottos were a popular attraction at the time.

By the middle of the 19th century, The Ragged and Industrial School had been built on the site, to care for impoverished children in Marylebone. The front elevation still carries this historic name. More recently the building was converted to commercial space.

Woldon assisted in the renovation and extension of the building, improving the internal layout, increasing floor area at the top floor, and improving the relationship to the public space of Grotto Passage, which was narrow and poorly lit.

At ground floor, the window cills were lowered to provide a better outlook, and a new central entrance introduced to improve the efficiency of the internal layout. With the sills lowered and better lighting, the passage feels less enclosed and safer.

Drawing on the shell collecting history, Woldon used a scallop geometry to develop a pattern for the infill panels beneath the lowered ground floor cills.

Project Information

Client: Howard De Walden Estates Ltd.
Status: Planning Consented
Location: City of Westminster, London

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