6 Fascinating listings in 2017

This year more than 1,000 historic sites have been added to the list, represening the extraordinary breadth of history on our doorstep.

As well as providing legal protection for historic places, listing gives us the opportunity to celebrate little-known parts of history and shed light on amazing feats of architecture.

In case you missed them, here are 6 listings we loved talking about: 

1. A High-tech landmark

Schlumberger, Cambridge Research Centre. East elevation at twilight. c Historic England
Schlumberger, Cambridge Research Centre. East elevation at twilight. c Historic England

In February we listed the Schlumberger Gould Research Centre in Cambridge at Grade II*. Designed by leading British Architect Sir Michael Hopkins, the innovative building epitomises the High-Tech movement of the 1980s. Incorporating new materials and technology, the open-plan design gives a feeling of airiness and space, encouraging interaction and the exchange of ideas.

2. A Kiwi chalk figure

Bulford-Kiwi © WYGNML
Bulford Kiwi © WYGNML

The Bulford Kiwi, a large white chalk figure near Stonehenge in Wiltshire, was carved by New Zealand troops into the hillside above Bulford Camp as they were waiting to go home. Some 10,000 troops representing almost 10% of the New Zealand population fought in the First World War. In Jnue, to mark the centenary of the Battle of Messines, the kiwi was granted protection as a scheduled monument.

3. A post-modern pumping station

Isle of Dogs Pumping Station
Isle of Dogs Pumping Station © Historic England

John Outram’s colourful east London pumping station was listed at Grade II* in June. Still in use, the Isle of Dogs Storm Water Pumping Station was built between 1986 and 1988 for Thames Water. Representing an important strand of late twentieth-century architecture and cultural heritage, it is one of the first significant Post-Modern listings.

4. A luxury hobbit’s home

Underhill in Holme, West Yorkshire DP138669
Underhill in Holme, West Yorkshire © Historic England Archive DP138669

Britain’s first modern earth-sheltered house was granted Grade II protection in August, marking 70 years of Listing. Nestled within the Peak District National Park, this environmentally sensitive underground house was designed by Arthur Quarmby and built in 1973-5 as a home for himself and his family.

5. A cabbie shelter

Cabbie's shelter, Grosvenor Gardens, London 1906 c Historic England
Cabbie’s shelter, Grosvenor Gardens, London 1906 © Historic England

Also listed Grade II in August, this small green Cabbie’s Shelter was put up in 1904 to provide cabbies with refreshments when they were on the ranks.

In the late 19th century, the drivers of London’s horse-drawn hansom cabs were constantly exposed to the elements but weren’t allowed to leave the rank while waiting for customers, leading many to take shelter in pubs and “drink more than is good for their health or behaviour”.

To combat this, shelters were built throughout London.  This one is still used by the city’s taxi cab drivers today.

6. A plastic classroom

Plastic Classroom at Kennington Primary School, Preston, Lancashire c Historic England
Plastic Classroom at Kennington Primary School, Preston, Lancashire c Historic England

Nicknamed ‘the bubble’ and built in 1973-4, this Lancashire school building was designed as a prototype for pre-fabricated, mass production schools by the council. It made early use of computer-aided design to create the rigid geometric shape, which also reflects the popularity for ‘teaching in the round’, with freedom of movement and fluid spaces to engage young people.  In October it was added to the List at Grade II along with 11 other post-war schools.

Further Reading

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