Victorian Society Announces 2008's Top Ten Endangered Buildings

By Tara Booth | 24 September 2008
An image of an old brown-brick building with white window frames and turrets. There is a tree on the right side of the image and a wooden fence at the front.

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.”

An image of a pale brown church on the corner of an empty road. Stained glass windows decorate the walls and five flags are hanging

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.”

The image shows a tall brown-brick building with lighter coloured walls under the large stained glass windows. In the right hand side of the building is a tall tower with a clock face situated at the top. A red telepone box is visible on the street and people are walking past.

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:

An image of an old brown-brick building with white window frames and turrets. There is a tree on the right side of the image and a wooden fence at the front.

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.

An image of a pale brown church on the corner of an empty road. Stained glass windows decorate the walls and five flags are hanging

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*.

The photograph was taken behind a fence. In the centre is a huge beige brick building with a tall tower at the back with a clock face at the top. In the area before the building there are planks and beams of wood with a yellow machine beside it.

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.

This is an image of an old dark brown building. The windows on the ground floor are bocked out with boards with ripped posters on. The remaining windows on the next two floors are intact. There are two benches outside the building with people sitting down on them. A banner that sits above two ground floor windows says 'the red lion'.

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.

This image shows the interior of a church. There is a big domed roof above the altar with wstained glass windows just underneath. In the centre on the ground is an altar with a white sheet over it. The dark wooden pews are just visible, facing the altar. On the wall behind the altar there are religious frescoes coloured gold, red and blue.

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.

An image of a chapel with a tall, pointed turret. On the right side, still connected to the building, there is an archway. Green foliage can be seen growing on the walls. A metal fence surrounds the chapel.

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.

An image of a huge brown brick building with large stained glass windows. There are three turrets and one has a clock face on which sits at the top. A red telephone box sits on the left side of the building and people are walking past.

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.

An image of a solid dirty-beige coloured building which is four storeys high. The windows are rectangular and are coloured white.

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.

An image of a tower connected to the main building. The windows at the top of the tower are smashed in whereas the other remaining windows are blocked out with grey coloured boards. The building is a brown brick colour and the tiles on the roof have a warm orange glow to them. It is set against a bright blue sky.

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.

SHORT-LISTED BUILDINGS:

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.

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