Search and res­cue

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THE VIC­TO­RIAN SO­CI­ETY cel­e­brates a decade of its en­dan­gered build­ings cam­paign this year and, to­day, it an­nounces its 10th an­nual Top Ten list of build­ings most at risk. ‘We’re very proud of its con­tin­ued suc­cess over the past decade,’ says so­ci­ety di­rec­tor Christo­pher Costel­loe. ‘Out of the 100 build­ings that have ap­peared on the list since 2007, only four have been com­pletely de­mol­ished and more than a quar­ter have been saved and are now thriv­ing back in the com­mu­nity. Many oth­ers are on their way to­wards sal­va­tion.’

All of the Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dian build­ings on this year’s list have been ne­glected for some time and are now critically derelict, re­quir­ing ur­gent care; all but one of the 10 are listed Grade II or Grade II*.

In­cluded this year are two ceme­tery chapels de­signed by Al­fred Water­house, the ar­chi­tect be­hind London’s Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum, at Ince-in-mak­er­field, near Wi­gan (be­low right); the for­mer Chance Glass­works, ‘one of the most im­por­tant in­dus­trial sites in the West Mid­lands’, which pro­duced glass for the clock faces of the El­iz­a­beth Tower, as well as some 2,300 Vic­to­rian light­house lanterns used around the world; a Hud­der­s­field church de­signed by W. H. Cross­land, cur­rently for sale as a com­mer­cial space and surely de­serv­ing of more than its cur­rent use as home to nest­ing birds and a Costa bill­board; an aban­doned Ed­war­dian sea­side pav­il­ion, in Folke­stone, Kent, which was used as a tea­room, the­atre and snooker club; and an enor­mous for­mer rail­way ware­house on the out­skirts of Derby (top right), left derelict for al­most half a cen­tury and fre­quently sub­jected to ar­son at­tacks.

‘Over the years, we have seen what a dif­fer­ence [the list] can make to the fu­ture of Vic­to­rian and Ed­war­dian build­ings in peril,’ adds Griff Rhys Jones, Vic­to­rian So­ci­ety vice-pres­i­dent. ‘All of the build­ings on this year’s list have lo­cal, even na­tional, im­por­tance. To have let them fall into their cur­rent state is de­plorable, but there is still time. Many of the build­ings have com­mit­ted com­mu­nity groups ral­ly­ing be­hind them, but fund­ing can be dif­fi­cult to se­cure. We need lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and private in­vestors to recog­nise the po­ten­tial of these build­ings and take steps to se­cure and re­vi­talise them be­fore it’s too late.’

Not all en­dan­gered build­ings can make the Top Ten, but the so­ci­ety has a use­ful cam­paign­ing guide on its web­site for lo­cal groups (www. vic­to­ri­anso­ci­ uk/about/cam­paign­ing­guide).

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