HISTORIC ENGLAND has published its annual Heritage at Risk Register, its detailed account of the health – or otherwise – of the country’s historic environment. It lists not only sites that are at risk, but also those that thanks to conservation work are no longer in danger.
England's barrows – ancient burial mounds, many of which are in the Cotswolds – are the most at risk of all types of heritage, according to the 2015 register. The most common threat to barrows is farming through growing crops and ploughing the land they sit in. Overgrown plants and shrubs and animal burrowing can also cause problems. Since 2014, 150 barrows have been rescued and taken off the register.
Residential buildings – from Roman villas and Georgian town houses to individual pre-historic huts and roundhouses – is the second-most at risk category.
Sites added to the register this year include:
- Naze Tower, Essex, Grade II* - a look-out post during both the Napoleonic and First World Wars, and used as a radar station during WW2.
- Hidden in bushes on the side of the M40, the National Filling Factory in Northamptonshire, originally built to fill shells with high explosive, and by 1918 converted to produce poison gas.
- The Church of St Thomas More, Birmingham, Grade II - a 1968 Roman Catholic church built entirely from concrete, by architect Richard Gilbert Scott.
- The White Lion in Wandsworth, London, Grade II - a sprawling Victorian pub that was a live music venue in late 1970s and 80s. Punk bands played there regularly.
- The Mausoleum of Joseph Hudson, Grade II - one of Kensal Green cemeteries' most ornate tombs. Joseph Hudson fought in one of the decisive naval battles of the Napoleonic war with France.
- Old Pier lighthouse, Roker, Sunderland, Grade II - built around 1856 and used until 1903. It was moved in 1983 to a nearby park.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s chief executive, said: ‘This year's register gives us the most complete assessment of the state of our nation's heritage yet. It shows that we are making progress, but also that the challenge is still significant. We are committed to working with local authorities, civic societies, and everyone who is passionate about and values our heritage across England. The very things that make our regions special, are the things most at risk. If they're lost, then a sense of that region is lost too.’
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