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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

21 Prescot Street blog

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12/12/2013 14:47:11

The story of RCPsych's big move

Thursday, 12 December 2013

It is just over two months since the College moved in to 21 Prescot Street - and it already feels like home. The building has played host to countless meetings and events for our members. We have also opened our doors to 400 secondary school pupils from the Greater London area, who attended the College's annual Christmas Debate on 9 December, and yesterday evening we held the first of our Prestigious Evening Lectures in the spacious new conference area - a fascinating account of Jack the Ripper's psychiatrist by Honorary Archivist Dr Fiona Subotsky.

Regular readers of this blog will have seen our three update films charting progress with the building work. A couple of weeks ago, film company Postcard Productions returned to 21 Prescot Street for a final day of filming. This short film tells the story of our big move from the very beginning, and shows how the building was transformed during our ambitious 24-week refurbishment project.



So far, feedback from our members has been very positive. Many have commented on the building's light and spacious feel, and they are benefitting from our vastly improved member facilities including new tele- and video-conferencing facilities.

If you've visited 21 Prescot Street, please let us know what you think by sending a comment to the Website Manager below. 

If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.



04/11/2013 11:29:06

A song for 21 Prescot Street

Monday, 4 November

The College has been based at its new east London headquarters for a month. Over the last few weeks, the new building has hosted many large meetings - including the London Division's Academic Event and AGM - and we are delighted with the positive feedback we've received from members.

Indeed, some members have been so enthused by the College's big move from Belgrave Square to Prescot Street that they were inspired to write a song - which we're delighted to share with you below.

Drs Theodoros Bargiotas (piano), Phil Davison, Chris Fear and David McDonald comprise 'Sang Freud' - a four-piece band that got together as a result of “entertainments” that were put on after the Divisional Chairs and Managers meeting at the International Congress each summer. They arrange existing songs to provide a comic and off-beat take on topical issues in psychiatry and the College. 

In summer 2013, Sang Freud were invited to perform at the conference dinner during the International Congress in Edinburgh. They penned the lyrics to this song, 'A College of Delights', and set it to 'A Transport of Delight' by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann.



The song was a great hit at the Congress and in this video (produced and directed by Bethan Fear),  Sang Freud perform their song again for our enjoyment. If you haven't visited 21 Prescot Street yet, please pop in - we hope you agree with Sang Freud that it is a "second home" and an excellent place to "rest your weary feet".

If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.


08/10/2013 11:14:43

A landmark day

Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Yesterday, after months of preparation, the College finally moved into its new headquarters at 21 Prescot Street. In this special blog entry our President, Professor Sue Bailey, tells us her thoughts on RCPsych's Big Move:


"I believe myself to be a fairly calm and pragmatic individual – but I have to admit that yesterday was an emotional day for me. Being able to welcome 150 College staff into their new home at Prescot Street was an experience I will never forget.

"There was hesitation and expectation as I waited for the first staff to arrive. Then, as they streamed into the building, and started exploring and finding their desks, their buzz and energy made the empty offices really come to life.

"Change is never easy, and I cannot thank our Chief Executive, Vanessa Cameron, and staff across our Facilities, IT and Finance departments enough for the absolute dedication they have shown over the last few months. Their hard work has made the transition from two buildings – in Belgrave Square and Mansell Street – to one building in Prescot Street – appear seamless.


Dr Ian Soosay, Chair of the West Pacific Division, visits the College


"Yesterday, I was also thrilled to welcome the very first College members to the building.

"They were our RCPsych Research Fellow in Sustainability, Dr Daniel Maughan, and the Chair of our Western Pacific International Division, Dr Ian Soosay (see photo left, which shows Ian in front of our elegant new reception desk).

"I should point out that Ian hadn’t made the trip from New Zealand specifically to see our new building – he was actually en route from Lisbon back home to New Zealand!

"But of course it was very exciting to have the opportunity to show him his College’s new home.


"On the lower ground floor, we have a fantastic new restaurant – Café 21. It is a great place to eat and meet, and the members’ area is just waiting for you to come and relax, work and network in. Don’t forget that we are offering all members one free lunch (up to the value of £5) in Café 21. Please book in advance by emailing our Reception Desk, quoting your membership number or name. You can pick up your voucher from Reception on arrival. 

Members are invited to visit Café 21 to enjoy a free lunch. The restaurant, run by caterers Artizian, offers a wide range of hot and cold meals, drinks and snacks


Café 21

“On the ground floor, the beautiful Antiquarian Room is publicly displaying our collection of rare psychiatric books and dissertations for the very first time in the College’s history. The ground floor is also where we have our library and members’ area (see photo below). Those people who had visited our old offices at 17 Belgrave Square will recognise many familiar objects including our Presidential portraits, sculptures and busts.


The spacious members area, with Antiquarian Room behind and Library to the right

The members area offers ample space for members to work, network and relax. The beautiful new Antiquarian Room is behind, and the Library to the right-hand side. 

"And, of course, the stunning chandelier which dominated the reception area at Belgrave Square can now be seen – in all its delicate beauty – in Prescot Street’s spacious, double-height atrium (see photo below). It really is the perfect blend of old and new, hanging alongside three brand-new video screens showing video art works. 

Visitors to 21 Prescot Street enter a spacious reception area. They can look up into a double-height atrium, lit by the stunning English crystal chandelier that was gifted to the College in 1976. 

The old is cleverly blended with the new - including a trio of video screens displaying video art works exploring the theme of mental health.

A glass staircase leads visitors up to the first floor, which houses our new conference area - capable of holding events for up to 250 delegates.

The new double-height reception area


"I cannot praise highly enough all the countless workmen who have played their part in delivering this fabulous building to us on time and within budget. Project management company Watts Group PLC really have done a great job in managing this. I would also like to thank everyone from Area Sq, our design and build contractors, who have created such beautiful spaces. Taking advice from our Members’ Advisory Committee, they really have understood the essence of who the College is and what we do.

"I am in no doubt that yesterday will stay with me as a kaleidoscope of memories. I look forward to seeing many of you in your new College very soon."

23/09/2013 14:07:03

Two weeks to go

Monday, 23 September 2013

In two weeks time, we will be busy settling in to our new home in Prescot Street. Design and build contractors Area Sq, and project management company Watts Group are busy putting the finishing touches for the building, ready to hand over to us in time for the big move.


Inspecting the double-height atrium


Our chief executive, Vanessa Cameron, and other senior members of staff visited 21 Prescot Street last Friday to inspect progress. They were impressed to see the glass-lined walkway installed in the double-height atrium (see above), allowing light to flood in from the first floor conference area to the large reception space below.


The office areas on the second and third floors are almost finished. The desk frames, chairs and pedestals are in place (see below), ready for the computers and telephones to be moved over on Friday, 4 October.


"The office areas, with their brightly coloured pedestals, are almost complete"


Offices on the second floor

Our new offices have excellent transport links, and we have cycle stands for those who are planning to reach us by bike. If you're planning a visit, take a look at this information and map to help plot your route.


If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.
16/09/2013 11:42:37

The final countdown film

Monday, 16 September 2013

As we reported last week, a crew from Postcard Productions returned to 21 Prescot Street to film progress with the building work. With just three weeks to go until the big move, this short film shows how the new offices are shaping up.



Richard Love, Director at Watts Group PLC, takes our Chief Executive on a tour of the building, while Head of Facilities Lesley Cawthra talks about the final preparations. The new building will bring staff from the College's two London buildings (Belgrave Square and Standon House) together under one roof for the very first time. Also in this film, Peter Thompson from the College Centre for Quality Improvement and Bronwyn Harrison from the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, talk about the benefits of uniting the two offices and of their personal hopes for the new building.

If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.


09/09/2013 14:18:30

More filming at Prescot Street

Monday, 9 September 2013

Last week, film company Postcard Productions returned to Prescot Street to check on progress. Regular readers of this blog will know that the College is working with Postcard Productions to document our move to the new offices.

The morning kicked off with a site meeting, chaired by Richard Love of project management company Watts Group. The College's Chief Executive, Vanessa Cameron, was also in attendance, along with Head of Facilities Lesley Cawthra and Head of IT Gordon Malcolm, and representatives from design and build company Area Sq.

Filming the site meeting


The meeting was held on the third floor which is rapidly taking shape. As the above photograph shows, the carpets have been laid and the partition walls for offices installed. Storage units and window blinds are also being fitted. 

And good progress is being made on the other floors, too. On the ground floor, the beautiful walnut units that will line the walls of the Antiquarian Room are being installed, and alcoves and shelves are going in to the library.

In the entrance hall, the wide staircase that will lead up to the first floor conference suite is now in place (below) and is waiting to be clad in stone and glass. With its double height ceiling, the main reception area will be a truly spectacular space.

"The reception area - with its new, double height ceiling - is being transformed in to a light, bright and airy space"


The reception area is being transformed

As well as filming progress with the refurbishment work, Postcard Productions also paid a visit to Standon House, the College's other London offices on Mansell Street. These offices accommodate staff working for the College's London and Eastern Divisions, the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH).

Staff at Standon House - like those at Belgrave Square - are busy disposing of papers and work that is no longer needed, and packing for the big move. Bronwyn Harrison, of the NCCMH, and Peter Thompson, of the CCQI, took time out to be filmed and talk about their teams' hopes for the new building.

Postcard Productions are now editing the footage they recorded last week – check back soon to see another short film clip.

If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.
16/08/2013 12:01:25

50 days to go (well, nearly)...

Friday, 16 August 2013

On Sunday there will be 50 days to go until we move to 21 Prescot Street and things are really hotting up.  We are still on target to move in on Monday, 7 October and we are still within budget - though we are at the upper limit. 


Vanessa Cameron, our Chief Executive, reports that the building has been transformed over the summer: "The new stone and glass staircase, from the reception to the first floor, has been made off site and will be delivered and installed next week. The office furniture will be delivered on 9 September, followed by the rest of the furniture on 16 September. Carpets have been laid on the second and third floor. Three artists have been selected to produce video art for the video installation in the Reception area, and the building is beginning to feel like our new home. 


21 Prescot Street exterior


Vanessa continues: "We have approved the design of the dining area on the lower ground floor and this is going to be a great area for us to meet together with good food and excellent coffee. It will be open throughout the working day. We have short-listed two catering companies, both excellent, and will be making the final decision at the end of August."


The College will be closed on Friday, 4 October to allow us time to move over the weekend. Vanessa says: "One of the biggest challenges will be ensuring that all our IT systems are up and running on 7 October, so our Head of IT, Gordon Malcolm, and other members of his team  will be working all weekend. I must also thank our Head of Facilities, Lesley Cawthra, and her team who are working incredibly hard to ensure that we have a smooth departure from our current offices in Belgrave Square and Mansell Street."


With only 50 days to go, the 21 Prescot Street Project Management Team are now meeting daily to oversee all the arrangements. The countdown to our new home really has now begun.


If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.
12/08/2013 13:07:30

Psychiatric trainees talk about our big move

Monday, 12 August

While we’re all looking forward to October, when we finally move into 21 Prescot Street, the Psychiatric Trainees Committee (PTC) are perhaps more excited than most.

In this short film, psychiatric trainees talk about what RCPsych’s big move means to them. PTC Chair Dr Muj Husain and PTC Vice-Chair Dr Hannah Cappleman are pleased that the new building will offer more space for trainees to meet and network, and believe being in a modern, 21st century building will make their committee more effective.

Dr Kamran Ahmed, Founder of the medical film festival Medfest, and Dr Marisa Dias, President of the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees, also talk about using 21 Prescot Street as a venue to hold more trainee events.



If you haven’t seen our first update film showing progress with the building work, take a look.

If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.


09/08/2013 10:22:48

The scaffolding comes down

Friday, 9 August 2013

The scaffolding that has encased 21 Prescot Street for the last few months is finally coming down – revealing our brand new windows and freshly-cleaned building.

The scaffolding on 21 Prescot Street comes down

And plenty of progress is being made inside as well. Carpets have been laid on the third floor, which is one of two floors that have been allocated as office space for our College staff. The third floor will be home to the Chief Executive’s and President’s office, as well as our Membership Relations department, Communications and Policy department, HR department, Finance department, and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

The second floor will accommodate our Publications department, more staff from the Membership Relations department, and staff from the College Centre for Quality Improvement. This floor will also have a number of meeting rooms.


If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.
05/08/2013 11:11:48

Take a video tour of Prescot Street

Monday, 5 August

As we reported last month, a crew from Postcard Productions visited 21 Prescot Street to film progress with the building work. 

In this short video, Mark Sheerman, of design and build contractor Area Sq, takes us on a tour of the space and offers us glimpses of what the new interior will look like. Adam Wlodarczyk-Black, chartered building surveyor at Watts Group, also talks about some of the challenges of bringing such an ambitious project in on time.




Next week we'll bring you another short film, in which some of our psychiatric trainees talk about what the move means to them.

If you would like to post a comment on the Prescot Street blog, please email the Website Manager, who'll be happy to upload it for you.


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About this blog


21 Prescot Street is a regular blog charting the refurbishment of the College's new headquarters, located in London E1, near Tower Hill.

21 Prescot Street


The College bought the freehold of 21 Prescot Street in January 2013, and aims to move in to the building in the autumn.