Is this up your street?
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)