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Heritage at Risk in the North East 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, 5 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.
Sockburn was an important seat of ecclesiastical power, occupied since the 8th century. The site includes a Norman church which housed an important collection of Viking carved stones.
The church was put on the Register in 1999 due to its poor state of repair, as well as the condition of and risk to the stones.
Following repairs to the church, the stones were moved to Durham Cathedral where they underwent specialist conservation work and now form part of its permanent collection.
Highlights from sites added to the Register
In the North East, 13 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.
Constructed in 1847 to the to the design of John Dobson, St Lawrence Church was originally built in New Bridge Street for the Presbyterians. However, in 1897, it was rebuilt in nearby Felton Street to serve the Catholic faith. In the 1970s, the church was then integrated into the Ralph Erskine’s Byker Wall estate.
St Lawrence Church has been added to the register due to structural concerns caused by subsidence.
Heugh Battery is best known as the UK’s first and only World War I battlefield. On 16 December 1914, the coastal artillery battery on Hartlepool’s headland engaged in battle with three German battlecruisers.
Now run as an independent military museum by Heugh Gun Battery Trust, the site needs significant repair.
Action has already been taken by the Trust to restore the Battery with Historic England awarding £38,530 to fund specialist surveys to assess the extent of the damage.
Headline Statistics in the North East
The Heritage at Risk Register 2023 reveals that in the North East:
- 71 Buildings or Structures
- 24 places of worship
- 131 Archaeology
- 6 parks and gardens
- 1 battlefield
- 29 conservation areas
…are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change.
In total, there are 262 entries across the North East on the 2023 Heritage at Risk Register.