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North of England ‘Struggling to Keep Its Endangered Buildings from Ruin’

Written by: Charlotte Peel on Tuesday 04/10/2016

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The north of England is struggling more than any other area of Britain to retain and rescue its historic buildings.

According to the Victorian Society, a national architecture charity, as many as seven out of 10 of the Britain’s most at-risk historically significant buildings are now to be found in the north of England.

Meanwhile, there is not a single building on the society’s list that’s located either in London or in the south-east of England, which has raised concerns of a divide opening up between southern England and the rest of the country.

“This year, for the first time, the Top Ten has no entries from London or the South East. We simply got far more nominations from other regions,” explained Christopher Costelloe, Victorian Society director.

“This perhaps reflects the vastly different financial climate for development in many areas outside the south-east,” he said.

Regardless of their location, the Victorian Society is keen to see local authorities, property owners and local people find ways to keep alive buildings that are of historic importance but which are nonetheless in danger of being lost.

Among the Victorian Society’s list of “at-risk” properties for 2016 is the childhood home of the Victorian explorer Gertrude Bell, whose old house in Redcar in the Tees Valley is described by experts as being an “architecturally important building”.

There are three endangered buildings on the society’s list in Lancashire and Greater Manchester, namely the Mount Street Hospital in Preston, Rylands Mill in Wigan and St Paul’s Church in Chester.  

The hope for the Victorian Society is that by highlighting some of the most endangered historic buildings in the country they might be able to galvanise support for restoration efforts that haven’t yet been forthcoming.

“The nationally important buildings on the Victorian Society’s Top Ten list are in dire need of help,” said Griff Rhys Jones, the well-known comedian who is also the society’s vice president.

“Restoring important historic buildings is worth investing in as it can be a catalyst for wider regeneration. I hope people living near these buildings will seize this opportunity and campaign to save them. Ultimately, it is the support of local people which will ensure that they are not lost forever.”

Written by: Charlotte Peel on Tuesday 04/10/2016

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