Tilty Abbey

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The restoration of Tilty Abbey, Essex is one of the top 10 success stories in the East of England since the Heritage at Risk Register began in 1998 © Historic England

20 Years of the Heritage at Risk Register in the East of England

This year we're celebrating 20 years of the Heritage at Risk Register, Historic England’s tool for shining a light on the listed buildings and places in England that need most help. Looking back over the last 20 years, we highlight what's been achieved alongside some of our favourite heritage rescues.

Huge progress has been made in saving our heritage and giving it new uses in the East of England. More than two-thirds of entries on the original 1998 Heritage at Risk Register for England have been rescued. Many of the remaining third of entries from that 1998 register have seen great progress despite being the hardest cases to solve.

Achieving this much in 20 years has depended upon sheer dogged determination by local communities, charities, owners and partners. Historic England’s technical advice, specialist skills, grant aid and creative negotiation have all been needed to deliver people’s vision for how these places could be used.

St George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth
St George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk is one of the East of England's top 10 sites that have been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register since it began in 1998 © Historic England

Over the past 20 years we've used the Heritage at Risk Register to highlight places in need of care and attention. We've dedicated time, expertise and money to bring cherished places back into use and we're proud to have played our part in saving them from neglect. Despite the successes, other places continue to fall into disrepair. They've been added to this year’s register and we'll focus our attention on them in the years ahead.” Simon Buteux, Heritage at Risk Principal for Historic England in the East of England

69% or 56 sites in the East of England have been rescued and removed over the past 20 years, but 25 sites remain on the register.

Find out what's been added and what's been saved in the Heritage at Risk Register 2018. Or see our Top 10 rescues from the past 20 years below.

Danbury Park in Essex has been added to the Heritage at Risk Register 2018. View south west across the west park.
Danbury Park in Essex has been added to the Heritage at Risk Register 2018. View south west across the west park. © Historic England

Top 10 heritage rescues in the East of England

  • Church of St Mary the Virgin, Clophill, Bedfordshire was the very first entry on the Register in 1998. It was removed in 2014 after a major restoration programme led by the Clophill Heritage Trust. A series of eco lodges have been created there for walkers, giving the site a viable new use.
  • Langham Airfield Dome Trainer, Norfolk is one of only six Second World War training domes in the country which has been transformed into a living history centre and a museum
  • Pentney Priory Gatehouse, near Kings Lynn, Norfolk underwent major structural repairs and needed a new roof
  • St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk where the chapel has been repaired and adapted to form a new multi-purpose arts venue
  • Greyfriars Tower, Kings Lynn, Norfolk has been conserved and the gardens redesigned
  • Naze Tower, Essex which after structural repairs and re-pointing now continues as an art gallery and tea room
  • St Mary’s Church, Ickworth, Suffolk which needed urgent repairs to the timber roof structures enabling it to reopen to the public
  • Howard House, Norwich, Norfolk has been repaired and reused as offices
  • Kersey Mill, Babergh, Suffolk which after major repairs opened to the public 
  • Tilty Abbey, Essex which has had its walls consolidated through funding from Natural England.
Greyfriars Tower, Kings Lynn
Greyfriars Tower, Kings Lynn in Norfolk removed from the Heritage at Risk Register since it began in 1998 © Historic England
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