Listing building’s help us acknowledge and understand our shared history. It marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system so that some thought will be taken about its future. This year has seen around 650 designations and upgrades, each one as varied as the next. Roger Bowdler, Designation Director for English Heritage takes a look back at some of the more unusual listings that took place during 2014.
Preston Bus Station – Grade II
This Brutalist concrete masterpiece opened in 1969 and was, at the time, Europe’s largest bus station. The ambitious scale and high design standards meant the building was more like a post-war airport terminal than a bus station. The architect Keith Ingham wanted to give ordinary people something of the luxury of air travel, which was then still out of many people’s price bracket.
Rom Skate Park, Hornchurch, Essex – Grade II
One of only two skateparks to be given protected status in the world, Rom is the product of a skateboarding craze that swept Britain in the 1970s. As skateboarding fever gripped the nation a rash of skateparks were built, but later demolished as popularity declined. It’s a rare survivor of this period and has been one of the most influential sites in British skateboarding culture ever since.
Former diving board at Purley Way lido, Croydon – Grade II
Built in 1935, this diving board is all that remains of one of the most glamorous Art Deco lidos in London. The board itself is one of only three from that era to survive in England and now sits in the middle of a garden centre. Its cantilevered design is an excellent example of architects and engineers using the new technology of reinforced concrete to sculptural effect.
Henry Williamson’s writing hut, Georgeham, North Devon – Grade II
Henry Williamson built the remote moorland cabin in 1929 with the profits from his most famous book, “Tarka The Otter”. Williamson used the tiny timber hut to write in until his death. Now the hut has become one of the smallest buildings to achieve listed status.
69 Monkmoor Road, Shrewsbury – Grade II
The last permanent home of celebrated First World War poet Lieutenant Wilfred Owen MC, 69 Monkmoor Road is the house where he began to develop as a poet. Owen spent two days leave at the house before returning to the battlefields in France where he was killed in action on 4 November 1918, just days before the end of the war. His parents received news of his death at the house.
Hatting Workshop, Denton – Grade II
A true hidden treasure, this hatting workshop is the last piece of a major industry that was once present throughout Greater Manchester. At its peak during the Edwardian period, Denton was the largest hat manufacturing centre in Britain. A great example of how listing doesn’t just recognise beauty, but also those modest buildings which shed light on our past.
Bamburgh Castle beach wreck – Scheduled Monument
Lying under the sand at Bamburgh Castle, the wreck of this late 18th century coastal trading boat is an extremely rare survival of its day. It represents a prolific and highly significant part of the expansion and development of England’s mercantile trade.
Public urinal in Bristol – Grade II
Still in use today, this public convenience was built in the 1880s by the MacFarlane Foundry of Glasgow. Its listing shows often humble structures are important to the streetscene of our cities.
The bacon smokehouse, St John Street– Grade II
Built in 1877, the smokehouse was built to serve the small scale bacon smoking industry that grew up around the famous Smithfield meat market. It wasn’t long before these smaller producers died out and this building is all that remains of their work.
This is just a skim of the hundreds of outcomes we have recommended to the DCMS over the past year. They join others on the National Heritage List for England, which will soon reach the 400,000 mark of designated assets. Cumulatively they show what an amazing and historically rich country this is.