Heritage at Risk in the Midlands Revealed

Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register 2020 is published today, providing a snapshot of the state of England’s most valued historic places.  

The Heritage at Risk Register 2020 reveals that in the Midlands, 37 sites have been saved, but 55 sites have been added to the register. This means that now 257 Grade I and II* buildings and structural scheduled monuments, 231 archaeology entries (non-structural scheduled monuments), 270 places of worship, 16 registered parks and gardens and 127 conservation areas are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change. There are 901 assets on the 2020 Midlands Heritage at Risk Register, 12 more than 2019.

This year has been challenging but looking after and investing in the historic places that help to define our collective identity is one of the keys to the country’s economic recovery. The buildings and places rescued from the Heritage at Risk Register can help level up economic opportunity, support skilled local construction jobs, build resilience in private and public organisations and boost tourism.

Our historic places have also provided an anchor for local communities during these uncertain times. Heritage has a proven positive impact on people’s quality of life and 80% of residents believe local heritage makes their area a better place to live. It can also help support community resilience, instil pride and build confidence that communities can ‘build back better’. 

Heritage is important to the region’s economic recovery and renewal.

Louise Brennan, Regional Director, Midlands Historic England

Louise Brennan, Regional Director, Midlands said: “This year we’ve helped to save 37 places, which have now come off the Register – the result of both our work and of the determination of local communities, charities, owners and local authorities who want to see historic places restored and brought back to life.

“Heritage is important to the region’s economic recovery and renewal. Every building or place rescued from being at risk can help level up economic opportunity, support and protect skilled local construction jobs, build resilience in private and public organisations and boost tourism.

“People value their local heritage and sense of place. They have connected with it strongly during lockdown for the mental and physical benefits it brings, and we’re proud to play a part in securing our heritage for future generations.”

Below are two examples of buildings saved and removed from the Heritage at Risk Register.

Saved: Edgar Tower, King’s College, Worcester

The Grade I listed and scheduled Edgar Tower is a gatehouse at the east side of the College Green part of the Worcester Cathedral Precincts and is part of King’s College. The monument survives as a gatehouse tower that was rebuilt between 1300 and 1335, remodelled in 1369 and restored during the late-19th century. Built from coursed red sandstone with a concealed tile roof, it has octagonal embattled towers at each corner and keeps its centuries-old use as school rooms.

Major falls of sandstone and structural instability in the towers led to the building being added to the Heritage at Risk Register. As part of a wider repair scheme undertaken by the Cathedral and College, Historic England funded £188,645 of repairs to the tower. 

Saved: Bromley House Library, Nottingham

This Grade II* listed Georgian townhouse in a conservation area was built in 1752 for banker George Smith. The building was converted to a subscription library in 1822 and is still used as one today. It also includes one of the earliest commercial photographic studios in the country.

The building had long suffered from water leaking in because of its complicated system of gutters, and these leaks were causing issues. Historic England provided a two-stage (development and repair) grant and considerable advice for the project including essential and extensive roof repairs, improvements to the gutters and some key internal structure repairs. The work has allowed the library to refurbish the attic spaces for new uses including a children’s reading room.

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