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Hospital plans could wipe out Colindale’s past

Plans to demolish nearly all of a Victorian hospital complex in Barnet, North London have been slammed by the Victorian Society, the national charity campaigning for the Victorian and Edwardian historic environment.

Built in 1899 by the architectural firm Giles, Gough and Trollope, the Grade II-listed administration block of Colindale Hospital links four pavilion wards designed to prevent contagion between patients. A remarkably complete example of its type, retaining its staff housing, recreation centre, boiler house and mortuary, the hospital was closed in 1996. Now the Victorian Society fears that plans to sweep away all but the listed administration block for a residential scheme could erase much of the historic interest of the site, stripping Colindale of one of its most fascinating links with the past.

‘This would be an appalling waste of Colindale's heritage,' said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. ‘The unlisted buildings have an inseparable relationship with the administration block, without them the site would not make historical sense. They add to the national importance of the listed building.'

She continued: ‘While some demolition of the smaller ancillary blocks on the site may be necessary, we see no reason to destroy the pre-1948 buildings. To sweep these away would be to squander the potential of the historic buildings to contribute to an inspiring conversion scheme which capitalizes on the best of the area's past. We've seen this work amazingly well at other Victorian hospital sites around the country. We urge Barnet Council to refuse the scheme and give Colindale that chance.'

Wednesday 25 June, 2008

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