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Medieval Manor And Art Deco Market Added To English Heritage’s ‘Heritage At Risk’ Register In London

Future Safe for Severndroog Castle, Tobacco Dock and 39 more

The remains of Scadbury Manor, a remarkable moated medieval manor house in Bromley, and the Reliance Arcade, one of Brixton’s trio of iconic 1920s and 30s market buildings are just two of the historic sites across the capital identified as ‘at risk’ today, as English Heritage publishes its 2014 ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register.

Panoramic view of Heritage At Risk Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, London
Panoramic view of Heritage At Risk Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, London

The 2014 Register is the most comprehensive to date, recording listed buildings, places of worship, scheduled monuments, conservation areas, parks and gardens, protected wrecks and battlefields identified as at risk. It focuses attention on those that need help and targets resources to where they can make the most difference.

This year, more than 50 historic sites around London have been identified ‘at risk’ and added to the Register, including listed buildings, churches and conservation areas. More than 40 sites have been rescued and removed from the Register with a secure future, ranging from the vast Grade I listed Tobacco Dock warehouse building in Shadwell, to the 18th century Gothic tower Severndroog Castle in Greenwich, and a Victorian gentlemen’s convenience, now used as an arts venue in Kennington.

Dr Nigel Barker, English Heritage Planning and Conservation Director for London said: “Successful partnerships and the support of volunteers and community groups are crucial in tackling heritage at risk. These partnerships have certainly contributed to our successes in London this year, which range from the repair of a K2 telephone box to a grand Georgian house. We are delighted that 41 sites have been removed from the London Heritage at Risk Register. Despite our successes, there are still considerable challenges and the support and imagination of our partners will be as important as ever over the coming year.”

English Heritage launched the 2014 register at Battersea Power Station today, a Grade II* listed building that was added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 1991 following its closure in 1983. After many years work is now underway to repair this much-loved landmark and bring it back into use.

Scadbury Manor, added to the Register this year, today lies within a public nature reserve. The history of the site dates back to the 13th century, and the manor house was owned for 250 years by the Walsingham family, well known in Tudor and Elizabethan society. Records show that in 1597 Elizabeth I visited Thomas Walsingham here, and by 1659 the estate boasted gardens, orchards, barns and stables, a granary, as well as the manor and fishponds it is still possible to see today.

Following its partial demolition in the 18th century Scadbury Manor fell into decline, but continued to play an important role locally. During the Second World War, for example, the site was used as a base for the Home Guard. Today the remains of the manor house are threatened by structural problems and the fragile condition of its brickwork. It remains much loved and is well supported by Bromley Council and several local groups who keep its history alive through open days. They plan to work together to secure its future with emergency works and a longer term management plan.

The Grade II listed Reliance Arcade has been added to the Register this year because of concerns about its condition. The Art Deco Egyptian façade, fronting onto Electric Lane and the multitude of small retail units are an important element of the character of this unique part of south London, so named because it was the first shopping street in the country to be lit by electricity. The future looks hopeful, as in recent weeks Lambeth Council has announced that more than £2 million in funding has been earmarked for improvements and community projects in the area, thanks to a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Throughout the year the Heritage at Risk team in London works with local authorities, communities, owners and volunteers, providing conservation, legal and financial advice ultimately aiming to find a secure future for all the historic buildings and places on the Register. This year’s success stories include:

Tobacco Dock: a towering 19th century warehouse, unsuccessfully converted for use as a shopping centre in the 1990s, now operating as an events venue

Severndroog Castle: - Built by the grieving widow of Sir William James after his death in 1783, this Gothic tower with hexagonal turrets and battlements opened its doors to the public this year after many years dedicated work by the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the Royal Borough of Greenwich

Gentleman’s public convenience: a gentleman’s lavatory in Kennington built in 1898, retaining almost all its original features. Thanks to the commitment of a local Friends group, it is now an independent arts and cultural venue, an educational and community resource, known as the Arts Lav

Tomb of Emile Blondin: best known for crossing the Niagra Falls on a tightrope, Emile Blondin is one of many notable people buried at Kensal Green Cemetery. His granite and marble tomb has been restored with a grant from English Heritage. The cemetery itself a Grade I Registered Park and Garden remains on the Register. It opened in 1833 as the first commercial cemetery in London. English Heritage continues to work with its owners and local Friends Group to prioritise work on the most vulnerable monuments as well as the Anglican Chapel.

St Mary Magdalene, Camden
St Mary Magdalene, Camden

Places of Worship in London

This year's Register is the most comprehensive to date, after a thorough review of all listed places of worship in England over the past year. 6% of places of worship are At Risk, a lower number than predicted. Of those places of worship considered At Risk, congregations face a combination of failing roofs, broken gutters and downpipes and damage to high level stonework, huge challenges requiring not only large amounts of funding but determination and know how.

In London among the 25 churches added to the Register this year is St Margaret, Lothbury, in the City of London. There has been a place of worship on this site since the 12th century and the current church was designed by Christopher Wren, and built between 1686 and 1695, after its 15th century predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire. The 300 year old building is now at risk. In Camden, the Victorian church of St Mary Magdalene operates right at the heart of the local community, offering space for local community groups and a cold weather shelter for the homeless in winter months, as well playing host to concerts and recitals.

Designed by R.C Carpenter, known for designing the monumental Lancing College Chapel near Brighton, the church is now sadly at risk as leaks in the roof threaten its rich interior including marbles and frescoes. Help is vital if it is to continue its invaluable work in the community. We will be working closely with congregations and funding bodies over the next year to help secure the long-term future of these places of worship.

Grade II buildings

Despite having the most complete view of At Risk heritage to date, the state of the majority of our listed heritage, Grade II listed buildings, is still unknown. Currently with the exception of London, only Grade I and II* buildings are included on the Register.

English Heritage is sharing its expertise with volunteers, owners and local authorities to tackle this and is asking people up and down the country to survey Grade II buildings. With this information, a national picture can be built to see how many of these buildings are at risk and uncover the underlying causes. Test surveys in Stockton, Cumbria, York, Derbyshire, Worcester, Birmingham, Essex, Hounslow and Aylesbury are happening right now; laying the groundwork for volunteers to get to work when the project launches nationally in Spring 2015.

Headline statistics

This year has seen more than 30 buildings or structures around London removed from the Heritage at Risk Register, with 23 added. Over the year English Heritage has offered more than £800,000 in grants to 17 sites on the Register.

Key statistics London for 2014

  • 96% of London buildings or structures on the London baseline 1991 Register have been removed because their future has been secured.
  • 4.2% of London’s Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings are considered at risk – which amounts to 69 listed secular historic buildings. This compares to 4% nationally.
  • 2.6% or 430 of London’s Grade II listed secular buildings are at risk.
  • 30 buildings in London have been rescued and removed from the Register, but 23 have been added.
  • In London, four churches or places of worship have been removed from the Register, while 25 have been added.
  • In London two archaeological sites have been removed from the Register because they are no longer at risk, and 1 archaeological site, Scadbury Manor in Bromley,  has been added.  

London Heritage at Risk Priority Sites 2014

  • Abney Park Cemetery (including the Mortuary Chapel, monument to Joanna Vassa and monument to John Swan), Hackney
  • Crossways, 134 Church Road, Hanwell, Ealing
  • Finsbury Health Centre, Pine Street, Islington
  • Gunnersbury Park (including the west and east stables, the large and small mansions and other structures), Hounslow
  • Hanwell flight of locks and brick boundary wall of St Bernard’s Hospital, Ealing
  • Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery (including the Anglican Chapel, a number of monuments and other structures), Kensington and Chelsea
  • Manor Farm barn, High Street, Harmondsworth, Hillingdon
  • Tide Mill (known as the House Mill), Three Mill Lane, Newham
  • Whitechapel High Street Conservation Area, Tower Hamlets
  • 94 Piccadilly, Westminster

For more information on heritage successfully rescued and removed from the Register this year please see the London fact sheet.

To search the Heritage at Risk Register 2014, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/risk

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