Is this up your street?

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

We once again throw down the gauntlet to would-be re­stor­ers to save these build­ings

TO­DAY sees the pub­li­ca­tion of SAVE Britain’s Her­itage’s lat­est Build­ings at Risk cat­a­logue, which fea­tures more than 100 ar­chi­tec­tural trea­sures in need of restora­tion. Now in its 40th year and newly ti­tled Up My Street, the cat­a­logue has been in­stru­men­tal in help­ing to pre­serve many im­por­tant build­ings, par­tic­u­larly coun­try houses. Ac­cord­ing to SAVE, about two-thirds of the prop­er­ties in­cluded in its first re­port, in 1977, found a new lease of life within three or four years and this tra­di­tion has con­tin­ued.

‘By high­light­ing the plight of empty and de­cay­ing build­ings around the coun­try, our an­nual cat­a­logue in­vites peo­ple to look again at their sur­round­ings and pro­tect the historic her­itage they trea­sure,’ says Liz Fuller, SAVE’S Build­ings at Risk of­fi­cer. ‘In the 50th-an­niver­sary year of the in­tro­duc­tion of the con­ser­va­tion area, it is es­pe­cially ap­pro­pri­ate to re­flect on the ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion these build­ings make to the places and land­scapes we value.’

Among the many historic gems in­cluded this year is the Grade Ii-listed Raglan Bar­racks Gate­house, in Ply­mouth, Devon. De­signed in 1853 for the Ad­mi­ralty Works Depart­ment by Royal En­gi­neer Capt Fowke, the army ar­chi­tect who cre­ated the Royal Al­bert Hall, this Clas­si­cal Ply­mouth-stone build­ing was named ‘one of the most im­pres­sive guard houses in Eng­land’ by Historic Eng­land. ‘The gate­house pro­vided a suit­ably tri­umphant en­trance to what was the vast pa­rade square of Raglan Bar­racks,’ ex­plains Mrs Fuller. ‘The bar­racks are no more and the gate­house is one of the few re­minders of this once en­tirely mil­i­tary quar­ter.’

The MOD sold the build­ing in 1991 and, in 2002, the own­ers ob­tained plan­ning con­sent for its con­ver­sion into of­fices, but the work was never done. The gate­house was sold in 2004 and later left to de­cay.

Also in ur­gent need of help is Grade Ii-listed The Watch­tower, in Cold Knap, Vale of Glam­or­gan. Built in 1860 as a coast­guard sta­tion, the lime­stone tur­ret en­joys mag­nif­i­cent views of the Bris­tol Chan­nel, but has no land and re­quires full and imag­i­na­tive mod­erni­sa­tion.

Com­pared to the Watch­tower, 130, High Street, in Chat­teris, Cam­bridgeshire, looks more man­age­able. This row of 18th-cen­tury cot­tages, which is listed Grade II and in a con­ser­va­tion area, ‘is in a very poor con­di­tion and would re­quire quite a bit of work.’

‘How­ever, it is likely to be more read­ily con­verted than the Watch­tower, as it’s been in oc­cu­pa­tion as a res­i­dence be­fore. It’s a very charm­ing build­ing and would be a re­ward­ing project.’ Although it’s not cur­rently on the mar­ket, the owner will con­sider of­fers from po­ten­tial buy­ers.

‘The re­search for SAVE’S Build­ing At Risk cat­a­logues con­tin­u­ally un­earths strik­ing prop­er­ties and Up My Street is no dif­fer­ent, with a vast ar­ray of new en­tries, from the pala­tial to the pic­turesque,’ com­ments Mike Fox, SAVE’S Deputy Di­rec­tor. ‘We once again throw down the gauntlet to the coun­try’s would-be re­stor­ers and urge them to help save and re­vive these threat­ened build­ings.’ Carla Passino

Raglan Bar­racks Gate­house is one of the trea­sures avail­able in the cat­a­logue. It was built dur­ing the Crimean Wars and de­signed by the same ar­chi­tect who built the Royal Al­bert Hall

‘I think him very dis­agree­able,’ runs the cap­tion for this orig­i­nal 1907 il­lus­tra­tion by the Brock broth­ers for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prej­u­dice (1813), cur­rently for sale with Peter Har­ring­ton at £3,250—but is the sub­ject Wick­ham or Darcy? The rare book­seller (the UK’S largest) has a num­ber of other ink-and-wa­ter­colour il­lus­tra­tions for both Pride and Prej­u­dice and Emma, as well as some first, sec­ond and other rare edi­tions (www.pe­ter­har­ring­ton.co.uk)

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