Insurers to foot bill
The Law Society has estimated it will cost £7.5 million to restore and repair parts of its historic headquarters on Chancery Lane in London, Holborn, that were ravaged by a fire which broke out in February.
The Law Society occupies 113 and 114 Chancery Lane. Most of the damage occurred to the top of building 114 which adjoins the main 113 building. There was significant damage to portions of the roof of 114, to the staircase on the upper floors and to the offices located on those floors.
The Law Society in its annual report, which outlines its business achievements and provides a full financial review, said that the cost of damage will be covered by insurance — bar a £25,000 excess. The net book value of 114 Chancery Lane at 31 October 2019 was £2.1 million.
The fire was widely reported by the media at the time. The annual Junior Lawyers Division chair’s dinner was taking place on the ground floor of the six-storey building at the time, and all diners (including myself) were told to evacuate. No injuries were reported.
The fire in #Holborn is now under control, but crews will remain on scene throughout the day damping down and carrying out salvage work to minimise damage to the building. Thankfully, there are no reports of any injuries. Road closures remain in place https://t.co/lI1PiQQL6c pic.twitter.com/cagmfqTwnb
— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) February 2, 2020
The bulk of The Law Society’s 400 staff worked remotely while assessment of the damage took place. The report adds that as a result of moving to remote-working in the weeks after the blaze took place in early February, its staff were “well prepared” for the impact of the coronavirus lockdown when it was imposed in late March.
It said the society’s ruling council has also agreed to spend £5 million on property refurbishment to the Grade II-listed building.
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