The Old Bailey, London EC4M

Client : Interserve
Value : £122,000
Asbestos Removal - Central Criminal Court

Asbestos Removal - Justice Hall

Asbestos Removal - Sessions House
The Old Bailey, also known as Justice Hall, the Sessions House, and the Central Criminal Court, was named after the street in which it was located, just off Newgate Street and next to Newgate Prison, in the western part of the City of London.

Scope of Works:

  • The work involved the removal of asbestos residue to the walls and ceiling of the former boiler room and the adjoining staircase in “The Central Criminal Courts”
  • Security clearance was requested of all operatives, working within the building. The building was occupied day and night and is also listed, which meant additional measures had to be put in place.
  • The work area was accessed via the prisoner’s entrance to the courts, due to this and the fact that there are less people around out of the hours, the works were carried out at night.
  • Our access and egress point to the work area, was via “hangman’s alley”, which meant the operatives did not dwell to long outside of the enclosure, as this was eerie in the middle of the night.
  • Due to the nature of the works, a full time asbestos consultant was on site for the duration of the works, carrying out air monitoring, internal and external to the enclosed area.
  • The walls were mainly erected out of yellow stock brickwork, with varying coats of paint adhered to them, which were to be fully removed.
  • Three Torbo XL320 shot blasting units were used, each powered by a 260 cfm compressor set at 7 – 8 bar, this again had to be monitored due to noise levels.
  • The blast media we used was toughened glass, which allowed us to achieve the required finish on the delicate surface, without damaging the brickwork.
  • As the works were undertaken within constructed containments, operatives wore full face RAS Asbestos Airline Breathing Apparatus.
  • The operatives were connected to an individual airline hoses, where fresh air is generated via a diesel powered compressor which was located externally to the boiler room.
  • Full dance floor scaffolding was erected over two levels to access all areas of the boiler room, this was carried out by a licensed asbestos scaffold contractor due to close proximity to the asbestos.
  • Once erected the enclosure was fully sheeted to form a controlled asbestos enclosure.
  • All disused pipe work, electric cables, fuse boards and ducting were firstly removed, allowing access to the walls and ceiling as practicable as there were still live heating pipes and electric cables, present within the boiler room, which could not be isolated.


  • Extreme care had to be taken when working around these areas, as damage would not only be dangerous to the operatives, but may have also put the most well-known criminal court in the world out of action.
  • The works progressed with caution, as the paint had to be removed, but the brick surface left damaged.
  • One unexplained incident took place, where a switch was turned off every time our operatives left site, a full investigation was carried out as to the reasons behind this and the conclusion was, our works had upset the resident ghosts.
  • The works were completed on time and within budget, with no disruption to the court or its residents. (Except for the ghosts)