Top Ten endangered buildings list highlights neglect outside South East

All the buildings in the Top Ten are in real risk of being lost if action is not taken in the immediate future

National architectural charity the The Victorian Society has released its 2016 Top Ten Endangered Buildings list. For the first time there are no buildings on the list in London and the South East – where the Society had comparatively few nominations. The Society considers that the greater number of buildings nominated from elsewhere may reflect the more difficult development situation outside the South East. All the buildings in the Top Ten are in real risk of being lost if action is not taken in the immediate future. Griff Rhys Jones, The Victorian Society Vice President, has urged people living near the buildings on the list to ‘seize the opportunity’ and campaign to save them.

The 2016 list includes an important, but derelict, Phillip Webb arts and crafts house which was the childhood home of a pioneering female Victorian explorer of the Middle East; a landmark of the Grimsby skyline where structural instability forced residents out of their homes; an abandoned Gothic seminary said to be comedian Johnny Vegas’ former school; and a grade II*-listed church with stunning wall paintings and stained glass. The publicity from inclusion in the Top Ten list often sparks new interest in the buildings which can help save them. The positive developments for 2015’s Top Ten buildings are set out in the notes below.

The Victorian Society Director, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘This year, for the first time, the Top Ten has no entries from London or the South East. We simply got far more nominations from other regions. This perhaps reflects the vastly different financial climate for development in many areas outside the South East. But whatever the reason I hope inclusion on the Top Ten will spur local authorities and owners to urgently find solutions for these buildings. Retaining historic buildings like those in the Top Ten is vital to maintaining local identity and creating places in which people want to invest, live and work.’

Griff Rhys Jones, The Victorian Society Vice President, said: ‘The nationally important buildings on the The Victorian Society’s Top Ten list are in dire need of help. Many of them are in prominent locations in their towns and cities. Following my experience with the Hackney Empire I know how difficult finding funding can be – especially outside London. However, restoring important historic buildings is worth investing in as it can be a catalyst for wider regeneration. I hope people living near these buildings will seize this opportunity and campaign to save them. Ultimately, it is the support of local people which will ensure that they are not lost forever.’

The full 2016 Top Ten, in no particular order, are:

The Society has published an updated campaigning guide to encourage people to fight for the buildings they are concerned about which have not made the Top Ten list.

Photographs of all the buildings in the Top Ten are available here.

An update on 2015’s Top Ten Most Endangered Buildings:

There have been positive developments for some of 2015’s Top Ten. At Tolly Cobbold Brewery, Ipswich (Grade II, 1896, William Bradford) outline planning permission has been granted to convert the main building and work is expected to start next year. Overstone Hall, Northampton (Grade II, 1860, William Milford Teulon) has been sold to a developer and Daventry District Council has agreed to work with the new owners to secure the Hall’s future. After years lying empty, multiple interested parties contacted the Society aboutLadywell Baths, Lewisham, London (Grade II, 1884, Wilson and Son & Thomas Aldwinckle). However, Lewisham Council is yet to have made a call for formal expressions of interest. Since St Luke’s Church, Wolverhampton (Grade II*, 1860-61, George Robinson) was included in the Top Ten a vigorous local campaign set out to save the building where Wolves football club was founded. The Archdeacon of Walsall has now said demolition of St Luke’s has never been considered. At Madeira Terrace, Brighton (Grade II, 1890- 1897, Philip C Lockwood) the Society published the view of the Morton Partnership, which specialises in works to historic buildings, that the restoration work is ‘comparatively simple’ with the costs quoted for repairs much higher than should be expected. The full 2015 Top Ten list can be viewed here.


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