Stonebridge School, Brent, London
The Victorian Society charity has today announced the Top Ten Endangered Buildings for 2008 following a nationwide appeal to uncover the best and most threatened Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales.
The list, drawn up using nominations from heritage enthusiasts, campaigners and members of the public around the country, features a wide range of intriguing buildings in need of preservation.
Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society, said: “Competition for this year’s Top Ten has been much tougher than last year. We’ve been flooded with information about fascinating endangered buildings, many of which were very strong contenders for the list.”
Gustav Adolfs Kyrka (The Swedish Chuch), Liverpool, Merseyside
This year’s top ten includes a church built for Swedish mariners, a pair of cemetery chapels and the country’s only Grade II*-listed swimming pool in which it is still possible to swim in.
Dr Dungavell added: “It’s clear that there’s still a long way to go before all our heritage assets receive the protection they deserve. We hope the list will be a step in the right direction.”
Moseley Road Baths, Balsall Heath, Birmingham
Following on from the success of last year’s top ten, which threw the spotlight on endangered treasures such as Shadwell Park in Norfolk and St Walburge’s, Preston, the Victorian Society hopes this year’s list will help improve the future of the new collection of threatened heritage gems.
While emergency repairs are being carried out at Shadwell Park, grants have been awarded to the Lanfyllin Union Workhouse, and the long-neglected Easington Colliery School has been put up for sale.
The Victorian Society's Top Ten Endangered Buildings for 2008:
1) Stonebridge School, Brent, London (1898, GES Laurence, Unlisted)
As well as its schoolmaster’s house, manual instruction workshop and other ancillary buildings, the school also retains its original railings, gates and gateposts for the playground.
The school is one of the most complete late-Victorian Board Schools in the South East.
2) Gustav Adolfs Kyrka (The Swedish Church), Liverpool, Merseyside(1884, WD Caröe, Grade II-listed)
This church, built to minister to Liverpool’s large population of Swedish mariners, still maintains a strong congregation drawn from across the Nordic countries.
The Friends organisation is working to consider the building’s future, whilst the Council is pushing for the building to be upgraded to Grade II*.
3) Newsome Mill, Huddersfield, Kirklees(mid C19, Architect unknown, Grade II-listed)
Plans to demolish the main body of this mid-Victorian mill were shelved late last year when the listing for the clock tower was extended to cover the whole building.
Since then, the building has been under siege from vandals, thieves and arsonists who have taken advantage of the inadequate security of the site to set fires, steal materials and architectural features, and smash the faces on the mill clock.
4) Red Lion Public House, Handsworth, Birmingham(1901-2, James & Lister Lea, Grade II*-listed)
The latest in a string of West Midlands’ pubs to face an uncertain future, this outstanding building with its splendid interior tiles and fittings has stood empty and vulnerable since it closed last year.
5) St Marie's Church, Widnes, Cheshire(1864, EW Pugin, Grade II-listed)
This building would have been demolished in early 2007 but for an eleventh hour decision to list it Grade II.
While the move halted demolition plans, it did nothing to alter the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool’s decision to lock the building and walk away, leaving this fine Italian Gothic building exposed to pigeons and vandals.
6) Chapels at Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff, South Wales(1859, RG Thomas, Grade II-listed)
Built to accommodate dissenters and members of the Established Church, the chapels closed for services in 1992 and have been derelict ever since.
Cardiff Council awarded a £100,000 grant but an internal structural survey since showed the condition of the buildings to be much worse than originally thought and revealed that they are inhabited by a colony of bats.
7) Moseley Road Baths, Balsall Heath, Birmingham(1907, William Hale & Son, Grade II*-listed)
Moseley Road Baths is the only building to feature in the Top Ten Endangered Buildings List for the second year in a row.
Despite continued pressure from the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, Birmingham City Council still wants to push ahead with plans to close the pool, stripping England of the last Grade II*-listed Edwardian baths in which it is still possible to swim.
8) Holy Trinity, Hove, East Sussex (1863-4, J Woodman, Grade II-listed)
Total demolition threatens this unusual redbrick building, which has been treated as the poor relation of the many nationally significant churches in Brighton and Hove.
Proposals for the building include one from a Christian organisation eager to use it for worship; while Chichester Diocese is continuing to pursue a scheme that would see the building razed to the ground to make way for a housing development.
9) Palace Theatre, Plymouth, Devon (1898, Wimperis & Arber, Grade II*-listed)
Last used as a theatre in 1981, the Palace Theatre was run as a nightclub until 2006.
Now empty and poorly maintained in an area known for vandalism, this former music hall, with its coloured tiles depicting scenes of the Spanish Armada, is crying out for attention.
10) Fletcher Convalescent Home, Cromer, Norfolk(1893, E Boardman & Son, Unlisted)
Built for the benefit of the patients of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, the former Fletcher Convalescent Home awaits a conversion into housing. In the meantime, it sits rotting with its stained glass windows smashed and open to the elements.
Victoria Baths, Nottingham (1896, Marriott Ogle Tarbotton, Unlisted)
Holy Trinity, St Helens, Merseyside (1857, W & J Hay, Grade II-listed)
St Paul’s, Truro, Cornwall (1848, 1882-4, 1889, JD Sedding, Grade II-listed)
St Mary’s in the Wood, Morley, West Yorkshire (1878, Lockwood & Mawson, Grade II-listed)
Police and Firestation, Manchester (1901-06, Woodhouse, Willoughby & Langham, Grade II*-listed)
Church Bank Chapels, (1856-7, Pritchett & Sons, Unlisted)
For more information about the Victorian Society see www.victorian-society.org.uk.