Victorian Society Reveals Its Top Ten Endangered Buildings List

By Graham Spicer | 16 October 2007
Photo of a large red brick Victorian building

The Grade II*-listed public baths at Ashton-under-Lyme. Courtesy The Victorian Society

The Victorian Society has published a list of its Top Ten Endangered Buildings in England and Wales built between 1837 and 1914.

A national hunt revealed that many of our most significant buildings are suffering serious misuse and neglect.

The list, which includes the Grade I-listed Shadwell Park in Norfolk and St Walburge’s Roman Catholic Church in Preston, was compiled following an appeal from the Victorian Society for people around the country to scour their local areas and send in details of any good quality Victorian or Edwardian buildings at risk.

“We were amazed at the response to our appeal,” said Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society. “This was a chance for ordinary people to let us know about threats to the buildings they value and they seized it with both hands.”

“We already knew from the number of local residents that contact us that heritage matters to very many people but we’ve been shocked by the number of significant buildings that are not getting the protection they deserve.”

“There are many reasons why good buildings become threatened. Often the hardest to protect are those that are simply locked up and left to rot. Many people are angry about that and it’s time their voices were heard.”

photo of a large old Victorian school building

Former Easington Colliery Junior School in Durham. Courtesy The Victorian Society

The list in full:

  • Shadwell Park, near Brettenham, Norfolk - this Grade I Gothic country house is among the top three per cent of England’s listed buildings, but has been allowed to deteriorate seriously and faces severe structural risk.
  • Crocker’s Public House, Aberdeen Place, London - a fine Grade II*-listed Victorian pub with an opulent interior, it now stands boarded up and unused.
  • Former Easington Colliery Junior School, Easington Colliery, County Durham - the only listed building in the village, the school has stood empty since it closed in 1998. Now dilapidated, developers are planning to demolish it and build houses on the site.
  • Public Baths, Ashton-under-Lyme, Greater Manchester - this large, Italianate and densely patterned building is a local landmark and one of the most significant examples of its style. Campaginers have been calling for the building to be saved for many years, but with no success so far.
  • St Walburge’s Roman Catholic Church, Preston - an impressive Grade I building with a 90 metre spire and huge internal space, its dwindling congregation means its diocese plans to close the church and amalgamate the parish with the adjacent one, leaving St Walburge’s empty.
  • The Frank James Memorial Hospital, East Cowes, Isle of Wight - inadequately boarded up and left at the mercy of vandals for many years, development disputes have meant that the hospital has been left to rot.
  • The Mechanics Institute, Swindon, Wiltshire - turreted and Tudor in style, an application to demolish the north side and fly tower of this Grade II*-listed building could ruin this regional landmark.
  • Old Town Hall, Sheffield, Yorkshire - this distinctive landmark has stood empty for ten years and a new use is needed before it falls into serious disrepair.
  • Llanfyllin Union Workhouse, Powys, Wales - featured in the BBC’s 2004 series of Restoration, while there is much local support to find a new use for it, the future of the building looks increasingly doubtful.
  • Moseley Road Baths (aka Balsall Heath Baths), Birmingham - the last working Grade II* Edwardian swimming baths, outstanding repairs and falling visitor numbers mean that there are fears they will not be open for much longer and one of the pools has already been closed.
  • The Victorian Society fights to preserve important Victorian and Edwardian buildings and landscapes and provides expert advice on how they can be sympathetically adapted to modern needs. It also provides information to owners of Victorian and Edwardian buildings about how they can look after them.

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