Im­per­fect 10: build­ings at risk

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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

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