Soldier’s Point in Anglesey features on The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings list 2023

Soldier’s Point House in Holyhead is on the The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings list 2023. The Grade II listed house needs urgent works and a long term plan if it is to survive.

With redevelopment plans for the wider historic Soldier’s Point area being considered, the Council should work with the owner to find an appropriate use for this building with its stunning sea views or encourage them to sell if they have no use for the building.

Griff Rhys Jones, The Victorian Society President said: “Soldiers’ Point really needs some love and some help. It’s sad to see this remarkable monument to engineering falling into disrepair. It’s not too late. It is a remarkable place. It is surrounded by history and close to a remarkable engineering landmark. Anglesey had such plans for this house as a maritime museum, and I really hope that people will be motivated to find a solution to this dereliction.”

Soldier’s Point House was built by Charles Rigby, who oversaw the creation of Britain’s longest breakwater at Holyhead, which is 2.4km long and includes a now listed lighthouse.The house is castellated, perhaps in reference to Welsh castles, and has barred windows and curtain wall towers.

Charles, with his brother Joseph, were eminent London builders J D & C Rigby, and worked on some of Brunel’s civil engineering projects. The Rigby brothers’ company built Swindon (Grade II) and Steventon railway stations and those stations in between. They also built the 300 railway worker’s cottages that are now Grade II listed and form the GWR Railway Village Conservation Area in Swindon. Due to its ambition Pevsner described it as the most significant industrial housing of its era in Britain and internationally. Sir John Betjeman, the The Victorian Society’s Chair fought to save the GWR Railway Village.

Whilst at Soldier’s point Rigby was an Anglesey magistrate who also commanded the 2nd Anglesey Artillery Volunteers who he grouped together from his breakwater workers to protect his engineering project from any foreign attack – he even funded a marching brass band for his troops.

The military legacy continued in World War II when a square folly tower in the house’s screen wall became a pillbox. The building became a hotel in 1950 which closed around 2000. Plans to convert the mansion into Holyhead’s Maritime Museum were dashed by a fire in 2011. It has been an empty shell since.

Joe O’Donnell, Director, The Victorian Society said: “A common factor with most buildings on our list this year is responsible ownership. Despite all these buildings being Grade II listed they have been neglected for years. Regular, appropriate, maintenance is vital for older buildings. The owners of the buildings on our list should be responsible stewards of these nationally significant buildings.If they can’t or won’t, be that they should sell them so someone else can try and secure their futures before it is too late.”

The full Top Ten list 2023 can be read here and includes an earl’s mansion that became a hostel for the homeless, a church where the congregation can’t hold services, two engineering marvels that saved lives through improving sanitation, and a club where newly enfranchised voters could meet.

The list is based on public nominations from across England and Wales, and the buildings selected represent industrial, religious, domestic, and civic architecture from across the nation with unique historical and community significance and value. Nominated buildings must be dated between 1837 and 1914. The Victorian Society has announced its list thirteen times.


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