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Heritage at Risk in the Midlands Revealed
Today, Historic England publishes its annual Heritage at Risk Register for 2023. The Register is the yearly health-check of England’s most valued historic places and those most at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.
Highlights from sites saved in 2023
Over the past year, 41 sites have been saved and their futures secured. Many have been rescued thanks to heritage partners and dedicated teams of volunteers, community groups, charities, owners and councils, working together with Historic England.
Abbot Reginald's Wall forms part of the main ecclesiastical complex of Evesham Abbey, built between 1317 and 1344, fragments of which survive to this day. The rebuilding of the collapsed section and repairs to an adjoining wall have been completed, after Historic England offered a Repair Grant of £166,972 for a scheme of repair and consolidation.
Serving the National Memorial Arboretum and Catton Park, Chetwynd Bridge was manufactured in 1824 and crosses the River Tame. Added to the HAR register in 2020, following the discovery of significant structural defects within the original cast iron elements a repairs scheme was carried out during 2022. The refurbishment scheme included repair and replacement of cast iron elements, additional bracing and internal strengthening, masonry repairs and replacement of the protective paint system, preserving it for future generations.
These three Conservation Areas are full of protected heritage - Old Market Square has 126 listed buildings and a Scheduled Monument, Old Sneinton has nine listed buildings and The Station has five listed buildings. Overall approximately 8300 square metres of city-centre floorspace was either secured or brought back into use. Important and characterful historic premises, such as grade II* listed Bromley House Library and grade II listed buildings on Wheeler Gate off the Market Square, were awarded grants and saved.
The Royal Military Depot at Weedon was vital to the supply of weapons, ammunition and equipment to the British Army from Napoleonic times, through two World Wars.
After decades of neglect, the regeneration of the site is progressing. Imposing former storehouses are now home to an interesting variety of businesses, and a visitor centre has been created. However, walls and bastions of the defensive perimeter are in poor condition. A Historic England Repair Grant has enabled the northeast bastion to be repaired and made accessible, so that visitors can appreciate more of this astonishing place.
By late 2019 leaking roofs had become a major problem for this 13th Century church and, recognising the urgency of the repairs needed, the Peterborough Diocese Church Historic Churches Support Officer recommended that it be added to our Heritage at Risk Register.
Work on the roof was completed in late 2022, with generous grants from various bodies, whilse local fundraising also played an essential role. The collective determination, hard work and perseverance demonstrated by everybody involved in this project has directly led to the church being rescued and removed from the Heritage at Risk Register this year.
Highlights from sites added to the Register
In the Midlands, 32 sites have been added to the register because of concerns about their condition. They are at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.
Built around 1600 and refaced in the early 1800s, Holbeche House is a Grade II* listed building. Designated for its architectural importance, and due to its direct association with the Gunpowder Plot. Following a dramatic last stand, it was where the ringleader Robert Catesby was killed in a gunfight, three days after the plotters failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Others involved in the conspiracy were killed or arrested there. Having most recently been in use as a care home, the building currently sits empty.
A surviving example of a once popular type of Methodist church, Longton Central Methodist Hall retains much of its high-quality late nineteenth century interior, including its large hall with gallery and lantern supported by elegant, fluted columns and coffered panelled ceiling. Historic England has offered £38,400 in the form of a project development grant for condition survey and repairs.
The Old Rectory in Charnwood offers a glimpse of medieval life, set on the edge of Loughborough’s modern town centre, The original building was a stone-built manor house, given to the church in 1228. The Old Rectory was added to the Heritage at Risk Register because seven centuries of wear and tear have left their mark on the original stonework, which needs attention, and the two arched doorways, which have been supported by props for the last four years.
Headline Statistics in the Midlands
The Heritage at Risk Register 2023 reveals that in the Midlands:
- 252 Buildings or Structures
- 268 Places of Worship
- 199 Archaeology
- 15 Parks and Gardens
- 126 Conservation Areas
…are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change.
In total, there are 860 entries across the Midlands on the 2023 Heritage at Risk Register.