The Royal Exchange was founded in 1568 by English merchant and financier Thomas Gresham, to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London. It was officially opened in 1571 by Queen Elizabeth I, who awarded the building its royal title and licence to sell alcohol. The original building was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, which began less than half a mile away on Pudding Lane.
A second Exchange building was built on the same site. Designed by Edward Jarman and opened in 1669, it met the same fate as the first, and was also destroyed by fire in 1838. The third Royal Exchange, which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1844, still stands today. It was extensively remodelled by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson in 2001, who transformed the building into a luxurious retail centre.
The Royal Exchange today is home to some of the world’s finest merchants and traders. There are over thirty retail outlets for famous brands such as Agent Provocateur, Gucci, Jo Malone, Paul Smith and Tiffany & Co. The interior of the Exchange forms a quadrangular covered court with a café, restaurant and bar. During a recent refurbishment, West London Security were chosen to upgrade and expand the Exchange’s fire alarm systems.
Having been destroyed by fire twice in its long history, it's perhaps unsurprising that having the best possible fire alarm systems were a real priority for The Royal Exchange’s management team. The refurbishment project covered four floors of the listed building. West London Security were entrusted with the task of extending and upgrading the existing fire alarm systems to a category A standard.
During the design stage however, it quickly became apparent that the entire fire alarm systems were going to need completely replacing. The Royal Exchange being a listed building, this required an unusually sensitive and measured approach. Certain historic areas, including a room which was once Queen Victoria’s bedroom, could not be wired, so the requirement was for a wireless fire alarm system.
West London Security’s solution was to use a network of Honeywell Security Morley fire alarm system panels connected with Apollo Xpander fire detection systems in listed where a wireless fire alarm system was utilised. Xpanders are perfect for buildings where wiring is difficult, or as in this case, impossible.
By installing a fire alarm panel on each floor to allow new tenants to install their own fire alarm systems to category B, West London Security’s installation also allowed for future adaptation without the need for new panels.
On this fire alarm system expansion, West London Security’s expert product knowledge and wealth of experience allowed us to develop and deliver a solution which took into account the special requirements of the historical property being developed. The work was carried out on time and within budget, with the utmost care and sensitivity, with no damage or changes to the original fabric of the building through the careful use of a wireless fire alarm system where appropriate.
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