December 14, 2020

A rebuild of Arcadia’s historic Thoresby House is closer than ever before! After years of planning and local and university council and Board review, the project was recently approved by the Hackney Town Councils Planning Committee paving the way for growth in London.

As Arcadia University’s flagship residence in London, Thoresby House has been welcoming Arcadia students to London since the 1990’s. With the cost of student accommodation ever-increasing in London, the University in 2015 began to explore the possibility of building out the residence to host larger cohorts of Arcadia London program students. "Thoresby House has been an important part of Arcadia's London programme for decades, but time has very much caught up with it in terms of the facilities and types of accommodation it can currently provide,” noted Andrew George, Regional Director UK and Ireland, and Director of the Arcadia London Center. “Our exciting plans for redevelopment would provide us with a facility which would meet the needs and expectations of future cohorts of students for decades to come."

With that framework in mind, several years of planning and cooperation with London municipal and council authorities ensued, along with input and review by the Arcadia University Board of Trustees. The build-out plan as conceived  is the result of all these combined efforts, along with those of urban planners, architects and numerous committed Arcadia staff and administration, including Arcadia University President Ajay Nair, who visited the properties in fall 2018 and met with members of the redevelopment team. The various stages of planning incorporated meetings with multiple stakeholders, including community members. The plan was developed with respect to various impacts, and addressed aspects pertaining to Sunlight and Daylight, Ecology, Air Quality, Fire Safety, Transport, Wind, Energy and Sustainability, Heritage and Townscape.

Situated in Hackney between the trendy areas of Shoreditch and Angel, and surrounded by modern developments and a tranquil canal, Thoresby calls itself a home away from home to 34 students in double and single rooms for the semester or summer, complete with shared common spaces and amenities. It’s centrally located and well-served by

 public transportation, with local shops and culture, allowing students to mix in a London neighborhood while enjoying a student-centric residence.

The Thoresby House building has a history of important engagement and service. Utilized as nurses’ lodgings until the 1950’s, the structure was attached originally to the Royal Chest Hospital, a pulmonary-disease healthcare facility established in the early 19th century. This affiliated hospital changed names and locations several times until its destruction in the Second World War and subsequent demolition. In order to honor the long history of Thoresby, the rebuild plans will ensure that a foundation stone laid originally in 1876 by Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, will be integrated within the colonnade landscaping at the new building’s entrance. Along with the stone, additional heritage features including gates which acknowledge the site’s history will be retained. The rebuilt 140-bed, 73-room facility will also feature an information display detailing Thoresby’s historical significance in the reception area.

While it will take several years more for the project to be finalized and constructed, Arcadia is proud to be a neighbor in this London area and to expand its residential footprint beyond Glenside. By choosing to locate in a city that offers a wealth of diverse culture, history and resources, Arcadia is taking a big step toward the future, in ensuring that our study abroad students have the very best of what London has to offer.