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The 19th century stable yard

The 19th century stable yard
NTPL Zoƫ Colbeck

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Flushed with success!

Buried beneath the stable yard floor are four giant rainwater harvesting tanks, each one collecting up to 3000 litres of rain water which is then used to flush some of the toilets.

The bathroom fittings in the stable yard will also demonstrate the principles of re-use, reduce and recycle.


One of the toilets is fitted with a hand basin in the cistern lid. Water collected during hand-washing is fed into the cistern and contributes to the water used during the next flush! This is a novel way of using "greywater".

Cistern lid incorporating a hand basin - NPTL/Jon Whitehead


The urinals in the mens' toilets don't actually use any water at all. They are fitted with a special filter which eliminates odours and only requires periodic maintenance.

Both types of toilet help to make the water that is collected in the rainwater tanks go further, as rainwater is only used to flush the other toilets.

Waterless urinal - NPTL/Jon Whitehead


The countertops in the bathrooms (and the new cafe) will incorporate recycled glass. Staff and volunteers at Morden Hall Park have been bringing in waste glass bottles and jars. We have also collected waste glass from our cafe. The glass is returned to a company who then use it as part of their countertop manufacturing process. You can see the fragments of glass in the material, and visitors might even be able to work out what kind of item they originally came from.

Countertop incorporating recycled glass - NPTL/Jon Whitehead

The stable yard opens on 5th November - come and try out one of the toilets!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Nearly there!

The big count down begins! With less than three weeks until our grand opening, it's all hands on deck as the finishing touches are added to the building. The fencing has finally been removed from the front of the stable yard and we've waved goodbye to our site manager Alf.

NTPL/Jon Whitehead

As you can see from our picture, the exhibition area is ready for the exhibition installation next week and has been painted a lovely Farrow & Ball shade - Saxon Green. The space suddenly feels a lot bigger now that the workmen have moved out and we can begin to imagine visitors coming through the doors.

NTPL/Jon Whitehead

The old stalls are also looking really lovely now that their restoration is complete.

After a year-long renovation, the stable yard visitor centre will finally open to the public on Saturday 5th November. From 11am - 4pm we'll be running an array of tours, children's activities and musical entertainment to welcome our visitors and celebrate the opening. We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Livinggreen living green roofs

The stable yard renovation is almost complete! In the meantime, we've been busy planning our new cycle shed, which will have a living green roof.

We've already talked about how we've been increasing the green space at the project, by turfing out the tarmac and putting grass in its place. A living green roof will add to this. As our cities get hotter, due to climate change, green roofs will become increasingly important - not only do they help keep buildings cool, but they also provide an important habitat for wildlife and so help to increase biodiversity. And they can also be beautiful, such as this one at the Abbey Hive Community Centre in North London:

Living roof at Abbey Hive Community Centre, NTPL/Caroline Pankhurst

To find out more about living green roofs, see or go to RESET's conference, "Ecosystem Services Come to Town", next Tuesday 18th October: Dusty Gedge, President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations, will be among the speakers, and the conference takes place at the Museum of London, which has a variety of living roofs.

Here at the HOP Project, we're hoping to hold a workshop when we build our green roof, with some of the green roof experts, so watch this space for details.

And from green roofs to no roofs....We've also been down at the beautiful ruins of Nymans, the National Trust property down in Sussex, promoting our project at their solar-powered Green Fair. It was good to talk to people from further afield about what's happening in our stable yard - we're hoping that lots of them come to visit after we open on 5th November.