This year marks the 20th anniversary of our incredible Heritage at Risk project, which originally started as our first ever Register of Buildings at Risk across England and included 1930 buildings that were neglected, broken and unloved.
Two decades on and 1,288 buildings have been rescued thanks to developers, investors, conservation professionals, trusts and friends groups. Owners, local authorities and funders have worked tirelessly to inject life back into old sites and serve communities right across England.
These five sites appeared on the original 1998 register and have been reinvigorated for a new generation:
1. The Roundhouse, Derby
A prime example of creative re-use of a former industrial building -The Roundhouse in Derby is an early engine shed dating back to around 1830, which once housed 30 locomotives of the Midland Railway. The entire complex became redundant and there was calls for its demolition but has now become a treasured educational facility and venue for Derby College, with its spectacular architecture enjoyed by thousands of students and visitors since 2009.
2. 116 High Street, Boston Lincolnshire
An important landmark in the regeneration of an economically challenged area, this elegant Georgian townhouse was built around 1728 and became Lincolnshire’s first private banks. After the building was sold in 1893 it became the Lincolnshire Diocesan Home for Fallen Women, and later potato merchants’ offices.
Using Compulsory Purchase powers, partnership with a Building Preservation Trust and Historic England and Heritage Lottery Fund grants, it was rescued from near structural collapse to become a centre for social enterprise and home to various local charities.
3. The Granary Building, London
The Granary Building in Kings Cross was once used to store Lincolnshire wheat for London’s bakers and is now a well-recognised example of heritage-led regeneration. Imaginative re-purposing of the old industrial building has led to significant contribution to the revival of the Kings Cross area and the building is now home to the world famous arts college, Central Saint Martins, which overlooks the fountains of Granary Square.
4. Molineux Hotel, Wolverhampton
Former home of the Molineux family, the mansion was built by Benjamin Molineux, a wealthy banker and ironfounder, on the outskirts of Wolverhampton in c.1720. In 1860 the house was used as a hotel with the grounds transformed into a pleasure park.
In 1889, the grounds became home to Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club – Molineux Stadium. From 1979 the building was left in disrepair for almost thirty years and a fire almost destroyed the building in 2003. This prompted the Council to acquire the building in 2004 and launch an extensive restoration project with funds from Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund, Advantage West Midlands and others. It reopened as Wolverhampton City Archives in 2009.
5. Church of St Mary the Virgin, Clophill
The church of St Mary the Virgin in Clophill, Bedfordshire was listed in 1961 and is believed to date from the 10th century. In the 1840s a new church was erected in the centre of the village to accommodate a growing population and the old church was abandoned. In the mid-20th century the lead was stolen from the roof and the church subsequently fell into ruin.
Over the years it became a focal point for vandalism, and anti-social behaviour and graffiti. Historic England, worked closely with the Clophill Heritage Trust providing legal advice, officer support, improving community relations and working with police and heritage crime officers to protect the site. In addition grant aid helped with the stabilisation of the ruins, the conservation of the spiral stair and the installation of the viewing platform. This fed into a wider project by the Clophill Heritage Trust which saw the erection of eco lodges which helps support a sustainable future for the site.
Twenty years since the 1998 Register, we continue to champion heritage at risk, ensuring that irreplaceable heritage can make its fullest possible contribution to society and communities across England.
Click here to find out more about Heritage at Risk.