Royal Hospital Chelsea - Long Wards | Wates

Comprehensive refurbishment & remodelling of Grade 1 listed buildings to provide modern & suitable accommodation for the future.

199 weeks
Project period
Incidents or accidents in 4 years
Supply Chain SMEs
Concurrent phases ensured the surrounding blocks and grounds remained fully operational.

Founded by Charles II and designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the iconic Royal Hospital Chelsea has offered care and comradeship for veterans since 1692, and is home to the famous Chelsea Pensioners.

The building required a comprehensive refurbishment and remodelling of the existing Grade 1 listed buildings to provide modern and suitable accommodation for the future. Refurbishment took place across four main blocks in three phases to provide updated facilities in the form of 190 en-suite bedroom and provision for social spaces, whilst the hospital remained open.

Structural Reconfiguration

The original internal layout, with a spine wall through the centre of each Long Ward, had windowless berths mirrored on either side of this, facing a broad social corridor. In structurally reconfigurating, one side of this layout was removed to introduce the new en-suite bedrooms with windows. Doorways were cut through the spine wall to connect with refurbished berths (now used as entrance study spaces), which then link to the social corridor.


Externally, existing brickwork was cleaned, windows were refurbished and upgraded, plus the roof had all lead work and gutters renewed and dormers overhauled. Heritage joinery was carefully catalogued, relocated and stored before being restored and reinstated. Panels that became redundant were retained to be able to be re-used in the final phase, which included creating an exhibition area of replica historic berths.

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