Imperfect 10: buildings at risk
HE Victorian Society has released its annual ‘black list’ of the 10 Victorian and Edwardian structures most in need of restoration. The north of England appears to be harbouring the most neglected architecture in 2016, with seven of the 10 buildings nominated by the public within its boundaries; last year, most of the buildings named on the list were in the South and the Midlands.
Among the count is Grade Ii*listed Red Barns, North Yorkshire, designed by leading Arts-and-crafts architect Philip Webb, who is also responsible for William Morris’s Red House in Bexleyheath in London. The contrast between the two is stark: one is lovingly cared for by the National Trust, but the other has been blighted by water damage.
As regards Mount Street Hospital in Preston, Lancashire, the society is concerned about vandalism and arson. The High Victorian Gothic building, built as an orphanage for destitute girls in 1872, has lain empty for a decade, and is a popular haunt for teenage ‘urban explorers’.
Other buildings named and shamed on the list are former mills in Grimsby and Wigan; the dilapidated Old Bute Road railway station in Cardiff, thought to be designed by Brunel, a mere stone’s throw from the Welsh Assembly; a Classical library in Stafford that
Tonce held an important scientific collection; Tudor Revival Clayton Hospital in Wake-field, West Yorkshire, threatened with demolition; St Paul’s Church in Boughton, Cheshire, recently shut down by the Church of England, leaving wall paintings and stained-glass windows by Kempe, Frampton, Morris and Burne-jones without an admiring congregation; St Joseph’s Seminary in Lancashire, in slow decay since the 1990s and another popular spot for urban explorers; and a Grade Iilisted brick factory in Devon, once Barnstaple’s biggest employer, now sadly damaged by fire and subject to recent attempts to overturn its listing.
Meanwhile, 2015’s unloved buildings are on the up: planning permission has been granted to convert Tolly Cobbold Brewery, Ipswich, with work due to commence next year; Overstone Hall in Northampton has been sold to a developer; and a vigorous local campaign is trying to save St Luke’s, Wolverhampton, with the Archdeacon of Walsall stating that demolition was never an option.
To donate to the campaign, visit www.victoriansociety.org.uk or text VICT00 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.
St Joseph’s Seminary in Lancashire has been in slow decay since the 1990s