Heritage at Risk 2014
English Heritage has today announced the latest findings of its annual Heritage at Risk Register. Across England, fascinating, historically rich places have been added to the Register, in need of rescue:
- Geevor Tin Mine in the West of Cornwall, built in the 18th century and still operational until 1991, the largest and most complete surviving tin mine in Europe
- Eastbourne Pier in Sussex, ravaged by fire this summer
- Bedlam Furnaces, Ironbridge Gorge, where the nearby world famous bridge was cast
- The shipwreck Hazardous, an 18th century British warship, beached in Bracklesham Bay, Sussex, during a storm of 1706
An equally compelling collection of sites have been rescued in the past year and are now off the Register, they include:
- Langham Airfield Dome in Norfolk, built in 1942 to train anti-aircraft gunners, and one of only six Second World War training domes left in the country
- Newman Brothers Coffin Works in Birmingham, built in 1894, the most prestigious manufacturer of coffins in the world, providing coffins for the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain
- The London tomb of performer Emile Blondin, most famous for crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope, at Kensal Green Cemetery
- The wreck of the Holland No. 5, discovered off the South East coast in September 2000, the only surviving example of this class of submarine on the seabed anywhere in the world
The 2014 Register is the most comprehensive to date, with listed buildings, places of worship, industrial sites, scheduled monuments and archaeology, conservation areas, parks and gardens, protected wrecks and battlefields identified as At Risk, and in need of rescue.
English Heritage was at Battersea Power Station today, itself a Grade II* listed building that was added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 1991 following its closure in 1983. After many years work is now underway to repair this much-loved landmark and bring it back into use, and English Heritage continues to work closely with the current owners of the site.
More than 15 years on from the first Heritage at Risk Register, English Heritage has identified five more buildings ready for redevelopment and reuse. All of them have been on the Register for at least a decade and it is these entrenched cases, where seemingly there is no way forward, the organisation wants to draw attention to. These buildings are:
- Police and Fire Station, London Road, Manchester, Grade II*, on the Register since 1997. Built in 1901-6, by architects Woodhouse, Willoughby and Langham, the red brick building dominates its corner plot in Manchester's city centre. Development has stalled and it has lain empty for years
- Price and Kensington Teapot Works, Stoke on Trent, Grade II*, on the Register since 1998. One of the oldest potteries to survive in Stoke. The buildings closed its doors in the 1990s and regeneration of the site is badly needed
Carriage Works, Bristol, Grade II*, on the Register since 1998. Built in 1862 for Perry and Son's carriages, only the shell of the building remains, which has not been used since 1977. Previous proposals for the site failed to gain planning permission and the buildings remain empty. A housing association recently put forward draft proposals for the site, and another scheme is being prepared by a private developer
- The Grade II listed Pump House at Abbey Mills (Station B), London, dates from 1891 and forms part of a collection of late Victorian buildings associated with the main Pumping Station, designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette. Now this vast building lies redundant with no plans for its future use
- State Cinema, Thurrock, Essex, Grade II*, on the Register since 2002. One of the best preserved of the "super cinemas" of the late 1930s, so little of this building has changed it makes its survival unique. Consent was granted for mixed use of the building, but no progress has been made so far
Simon Thurley, English Heritage Chief Executive, said: "The next few years will be crucial for At Risk sites. Although there has been a reduction in the number of sites on the Register, more than a third of buildings that were on the national Register when it first began in 1999 are still there now. We can't give up on all these incredibly important historic buildings; getting them back in use will lift the blight from historic areas, bringing back in to use really important buildings and giving people a sense of pride in where they live. As the economy starts to improve and the demand for development increases, we need to push these buildings forward and find a future for them."
Places of Worship at risk
For the first time, a comprehensive review has been conducted of all listed places of worship in England showing that just 6% of places of worship are At Risk. The review was completed in association with organisations and bodies who look after places of worship, including the Church of England, which is responsible for more than 90% of listed places of worship in England.
Of those places of worship considered At Risk, congregations will face a combination of failing roofs, broken gutters and downpipes and damage to high level stonework, huge challenges requiring significant determination and know-how, for which churches are always looking for additional help from volunteers. Supporting places of worship to come off the register will also require extensive funding. English Heritage is working with the CofE and other denominations, the Heritage Lottery Fund, trusts and charities to best direct resources. It is encouraging that 40% of the churches on the Register are already making efforts to deal with the issues, but much more needs to be done.
Grade II buildings
Despite having the most complete view of At Risk heritage to date, the state of the majority of our listed heritage, Grade II listed buildings, is still unknown. Currently with the exception of London, only Grade I and II* buildings are included on the Register. English Heritage is sharing its expertise with volunteers, owners and local authorities to tackle this and is asking people up and down the country to survey Grade II buildings. With this information, a national picture can be built to see how many of these buildings are at risk and uncover underlying causes.
Test surveys in Stockton, Cumbria, York, Derbyshire, Worcester, Birmingham, Essex, Hounslow and Aylesbury are happening right now; laying the groundwork for volunteers to get to work when the project launches nationally in Spring 2015.
National Heritage at Risk Findings
Buildings and Structures
- Nationally, 4.0% of Grade I and II* listed buildings (excluding places of worship) are on the Register. The proportion varies from 2.2% in the South East to 7.1% in the East Midlands.
- 100 building or structure entries have been removed from the 2013 Register because their futures have been secured, and 72 have been added.
- 59.4% of building or structure entries (848) on the baseline 1999 Register have been removed from the Register because their futures have been secured.
- Only 15% of building or structure entries on the Register are thought to be economic to repair, indicating the scale of the public subsidy required.
Places of Worship
- 887 (6.0%) of listed places of worship are on the Register.
- 3,012 (15.2%) of England's 19,833 scheduled monuments are on the Register.
- 315 archaeology entries have been removed from the 2013 Register for positive reasons, and 80 have been added.
- 29.2% of archaeology entries (978) on the baseline 2009 Register have been removed for positive reasons.
- Arable cultivation (43%) and unrestricted plant, scrub and tree growth (26%) remain the most common sources of risk.
Parks and Gardens
- 93 (5.7%) of England's 1,628 registered parks and gardens are on the Register.
- The South East has the greatest number (24) of parks and gardens on the Register, but the highest proportion (10.8%) is in Yorkshire (13 entries).
- 7 park and garden entries have been removed from the 2013 Register for positive reasons, and none have been added.
- Of the 46 registered battlefields in England, 6 (13.0%) are on the Register.
- 3 of the 6 entries are in Yorkshire.
- 4 (8.2%) of the 49 protected wreck sites around England's coast are on the Register.
- All 4 lie off the South East coast.
- 1 entry has been removed from the 2013 Register and 1 has been added.
- 302 local planning authorities (89.9%) have taken part in the survey of conservation areas.
- 8,206 of England's 9,848 conservation areas have been surveyed by local authorities and 497 (6.1%) are on the Register.
- 143 (26.0%) conservation areas have been removed from the 2010 baseline Register for positive reasons.
English Heritage Funding
- £8.8 million in grant was spent on 262 entries on the Heritage at Risk Register during 2013/14.