The Victorian Society's 2020 Top 10 Endangered Buildings

An overview of 2020’s Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings

Our 2020 Top 10 Endangered Buildings list is a striking mix, with buildings of amazing quality risking demolition or ruin through neglect. With an imposing former brewery, a long-forgotten hospital and a crumbling Victorian police station – this list highlights the wide range of at-risk heritage all over the country. Our Top 10 Endangered Buildings list highlights at-risk heritage all over the country in the hope of finding new solutions. Please support our fight to protect our precious historic buildings - we're currently offering £10 off our annual membership for the first year if you pay by direct debit. Click here to read more!

Click here to watch Griff Rhys Jones discuss our Top 10 list on BBC Breakfast.

Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society President, says: The annual Victorian Society Top 10 lists are both upsetting and enlightening. Look at these fascinating survivors of our history: hospitals and theatres, pumping stations and police stations, insurance offices and glorious pubs... When the Victorians built, they often created lasting adornments to their cities. If they instigated a commercial idea, like a circus theatre in Brighton, they designed it with vim and panache. How does that compare with some of our utilitarian commercial entertainment architecture today? Many of our Victorian gems have a depressing recent story. Often profit takes priority, and buildings are neglected until they have reached a complete state of dereliction. These buildings were built with great skill, and they brighten their urban environment. We know that restoring heritage of this kind adds value to an area. Never has there been a time, with the retail sector dealt another blow and the town centre fading as a business hub, for us to recognise that if we want our city centres to continue to be useful, visited and adored they had better look great. They must reflect their own past achievement and history, and be characterful and interesting. Bradford, Wolverhampton, Brighton and Shepton Mallet need these buildings to be recycled. Cities are competitive - and the better preserved are doing better. We need to see these historic monuments playing their parts again. There are hundreds of examples of imaginative reuse to go to for inspiration. Let’s get on to it, please – the reuse of historic buildings is the sustainable solution to the city centre crisis.’

Joe O’Donnell, Victorian Society Director says: ‘These buildings show that our nationally important Victorian and Edwardian buildings are still under threat. This year we’ve all faced huge social and economic challenges that will have a lasting impact. But the long history of neglect of our Top 10 Endangered Buildings predates the Covid-19 crisis. Owners should put them on the market at a realistic price. Finding new uses for these wonderful Victorian and Edwardian buildings is important not just because of their architectural merit, but also to keep a sense of place and local identity. Looking after the buildings we already have, rather than wastefully knocking them down, should be central to a green recovery from Covid-19.’

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