Donald Insall Associates was appointed by Portobello Docks Ltd in 2016 to assist them in the preparation of proposals for the site in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The docks contain a number of structures listed at Grade II, including the dock and the horse-ramp, which were rescued and developed in the 1980s as a ‘campus’ of buildings used as offices, retail space, design workshops and a restaurant. The site was designed in 1890 by Hubert Thomas and William Weaver and is a rare survival of a late-19th century canal refuse transfer station and is the only 19th century refuse dock to be statutorily listed. Rubbish was unloaded at the docks via horse-andcarriage until World War II. The docks have undergone extensive alterations – including the demolition of its original stables – and the installation of a new ground-floor shop and restaurant.
We carried out detailed historic building analysis, including of the setts which form an important characteristic of the yard, and supported proposals by OrmsArchitects for a new building nestled in the curve of the horse ramp, a new ‘hut’ workspace on the bridge from Kensal Road, and alterations to the listed wharf building. These were approved by RBKC in 2018.