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Historic England has today revealed its Heritage at Risk Register 2023. The Register gives an annual snapshot of the health of England’s valued historic buildings and places.
Over the past year, 159 historic buildings and sites have been added to the Register because they are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate development and 203 sites have been rescued and their futures secured. In total, there are 4,871 entries on the Heritage at Risk Register in 2023 - 48 fewer than in 2022.
Protecting our heritage is so important. It is truly inspirational to see communities coming together to help save historic buildings and places and find new uses for them. The Heritage at Risk programme shines a light on our historic sites most in need and can help to attract funding and help. After a quarter of a century of the Heritage at Risk Register, we are celebrating how many places have been saved and continue to find new ways to involve local people in caring for and enjoying their heritage.
Sites added to the Heritage at Risk Register 2023 include: Holbeche House in the West Midlands where the Gunpowder Plot unravelled; The Great White Horse Hotel in Suffolk - the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ first novel The Pickwick Papers, as well as hosting King George II, Admiral Lord Nelson and The Beatles, and the Church of St Mary, also in Suffolk, which was painted by celebrated landscape artist John Constable.
Many buildings and sites have been rescued with the help and commitment of local people, communities, charities, owners and funders including The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Historic England’s expert advice, grant aid and creative thinking has also been key in delivering people’s visions for how these historic places can be used again. However, more work needs to be done as more buildings and places become at risk.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first Heritage at Risk Register (previously known as the Buildings at Risk Register). Over the past 25 years, since it began in 1998, around 6,800 entries have been removed. This equates to around three-quarters of the entries that were on the original Register. Many of the remaining entries from the 1998 Register have seen good progress despite often being the hardest cases to solve.
For a quarter of a century, the Heritage at Risk Register has helped to focus efforts to preserve cherished sites across the country. It is heartening to see that so many sites have had their futures secured and have been taken off the Register over the past year thanks to the hard work of Historic England and local people. I look forward to the new additions to the Register receiving similar care and attention so that future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from our rich heritage for years to come.
Sites saved and removed from the Heritage at Risk Register 2023 include: Holmfirth Conservation Area in West Yorkshire, best known as the home of the TV comedy series Last of the Summer Wine which ran from 1973 to 2010; Bourn Mill in Cambridgeshire, one of the oldest windmills in England; Tolpuddle Old Chapel in Dorset, vital to the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were convicted of swearing a secret oath; and a rare Victorian electricity substation in Wimbledon.
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