Tetrahedral blue and white ceiling
The ceiling of the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary, Dunstable © Historic England DP261751
The ceiling of the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary, Dunstable © Historic England DP261751

Captivating Sites Across England Listed During 2020

Over 400 historic places have been added to the National Heritage List for England during 2020 and as the year draws to a close, Historic England celebrates the sites that have gained protection.

Highlights include a memorial that commemorates the nine lives lost during the fatal mission of the Beauchamp Lifeboat in Norfolk, the internationally renowned department store, Selfridges, on London’s Oxford Street, an extremely well-preserved 18th century shipwreck in Kent, a rare survival of two 17th century wall paintings in Hertfordshire and a Victorian train station café that was used to serve HM and Allied Forces meals during the Second World War.

I am delighted that these important sites have been listed this year. These significant additions to the list span the whole country - from Nottingham to Kent, Andover to Cumbria, and include something for everyone to enjoy. I am grateful that, thanks to these listings, these heritage sites will continue to enrich our communities for generations to come.
Nigel Huddleston, Heritage Minister
Every year, Historic England works to protect the most significant historic sites across the country. Despite the challenges that the heritage sector has faced this year, 2020 has seen many brilliant additions to the List. From a picturesque footbridge in Essex to an excellently preserved Victorian railway station café in the Midlands, we want to ensure England’s rich and varied cultural heritage is protected so that the public can continue to cherish the heritage that makes their local places so important.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive Historic England

New listings in 2020

Listing - 371
Scheduled Monuments - 27 (including 5 scheduled shipwrecks*)
Parks and Gardens - 25

TOTAL: 423

The Old Brig shipwreck, Seasalter, Kent

Scheduled monument: Old Brig shipwreck
Well-preserved 18th century merchant ship believed to be involved in the smuggling of liquor and contraband off the Kent coast

The Old Brig is a well-preserved 18th century merchant ship that was investigated in 2017 by Timescapes Kent, a local history and archaeology group. The wreck was exposed by tides near Seasalter in north Kent, after lying in the mud in the Thames Estuary for hundreds of years. It is one of only three known coastal trading vessels in England from the Hanoverian period (1714 – 1901).

The Seasalter coast was known as a place for the smuggling of goods such as liquor and it is possible that the vessel was used to store and transfer contraband. The site was initially explored last summer by Wessex Archaeology and local archaeologists. It revealed the remains of the hull, including framing timbers and decking.

There is potential for more exciting finds to be found preserved within the lower hull, which could reveal how the sailors lived on board and what goods the ship was carrying.

1, 3 & 5 Park Street, Old Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*: 1, 3 & 5 Park Street
Rare survival of two 17th century wall paintings leading the way towards home decoration as we know it today

1, 3 & 5 Park Street has had many uses over the years, most likely beginning as an inn in the mid-17th century, before it became a home, followed by shops and most recently offices in the late 20th century.

The surviving historic fabric of the building has many notable features, such as square panelling and a late 17th century oak staircase. Most importantly, the very rare survival of two 17th century wall paintings has recently been unveiled, providing valuable insight into the history of how people once decorated their homes. The murals, which portray grotesques and a pattern that imitates a cloth-like texture, are in excellent condition and seem of particularly high quality for a building of this kind.

Beauchamp Lifeboat Memorial, Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk

Grade II listed: Beauchamp Lifeboat Memorial
The origin of the term ‘Never Turn Back’ which has been used previously by the RNLI

Beauchamp Lifeboat Memorial, sat to the East of West Caister Village Cemetery, was unveiled in 1903 to remember the nine crew members who lost their lives during a rescue mission in 1901 that gained national attention.

Caister has had a long-running lifeboat history, with the first lifeboat being sited there by the Norfolk Shipwrecked Mariners Association in 1845. The Beauchamp lifeboat was brought into service in 1892 and had a previously excellent track record during its nine years of service. On a treacherously stormy night in 1901, the Beauchamp was launched in response to distress signals coming from a ship towards Barber Sands. Despite the severity of the storm, the crew managed to get the boat afloat and begin their mission. However, the boat capsized en route, trapping the crew beneath and taking nine lives. When asked why they persevered during the inquest, the three surviving crew responded: “Going back is against the rules when we see distress signals like that”, which the press abbreviated to “Caister men never turn back”. This saying has previously been used by the RNLI.

As well as a moving tribute that recognises the crew’s bravery and sacrifice for their local community, with their names and ages engraved on blocks around the base, the memorial is sculpturally notable. The broken mast, anchor, lifebuoy and laurel wreaths act as a visual reminder of the tragic loss of life at sea.

Selfridges, Oxford Street, London

Upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*: Selfridges
Key to transforming the British high street at the turn of the 20th century

As one of the world’s most famous department stores, Selfridges played a huge part in transforming Britain’s retail scene at the turn of the 20th century, much to its owner, Harry Gordon Selfridge’s, credit.

Through elaborate window dressing, excellent customer service and clever advertising, the department store became a social and cultural institution open to the general public. The store delighted customers from the get-go, holding fashion shows, exhibitions and concerts and displaying iconic items such as the aeroplane from Louis Blériot’s 1909 cross-Channel flight and the first moving picture television by inventor John Logie Baird.

Selfridges also played a significant role during the Second World War by housing the SIGSALY scrambling apparatus, which ensured secure communication between Britain and America for transatlantic conferences.

Built in four main phases between 1906 and 1928, the building boasts work by the leading architects and craftsman of the day, including D H Burnham and Co, Frank Atkinson, Sir John Burnet and Thomas Tait. From the impressive long façade, to the ‘Queen of Time’ sculpture and elaborate Beaux-Arts entrance, Selfridges’ exterior is recognised for its landmark architectural quality. The original marble staircases, complete with signage and brass roundels, as well as the Ionic, Roman Doric and Tuscan columns, make the interior equally as special.

Retford Railway Station Retford, Nottingham

Grade II listed: Retford Railway Station
Rare survival of ornate tiling in the dining and refreshment rooms of Retford Railway Station from the late 1900s

Retford Railway Station was built between 1891 and 1892 by the Great Northern Railway. It replaced an earlier, smaller station originating from 1852 that had gradually become unable to cope with the number of passengers passing through. Designed by the GNR’s appointed architect Henry Goddard, the building is in the Italianate villa style that was favoured by the railway company and boasts impressive decorative ironwork on the platform canopy.

The dining and refreshment rooms showcase a rare survival of original tiled finishes that were particularly ornate for their purpose. Having been covered with plasterboard for years, the decorative scheme has miraculously survived the many renovations the station has undergone, and were recently uncovered by Bassetlaw Railway Society, who plan to restore the rooms to their former glory.

During the Second World War, the station was repurposed as a canteen and rest room by the Women’s Voluntary Service, serving HM and Allied Forces over 2 million meals between 1940 and 1946.

Former Rubbing House, Salisbury Racecourse, Salisbury

Grade II listed: former rubbing house
One of the few surviving rubbing houses of its kind in England, designed to wash, dry and rub down racehorses at one of the oldest racecourses

The Former Rubbing House at Salisbury Racecourse, one of the oldest racecourses in Britain, dates to between 1675 and 1706. Once a common building found at most horse training establishments, the rubbing house is now extremely rare – indeed, this is one of the few surviving examples of its kind in the country.

The Rubbing House was where horses were taken to be washed, dried and rubbed down after racing or training and highlights the level of care given to these valuable horses at the time.

Architecturally, the building is well-detailed and of high-quality, emphasising just how important its role on the course was. The functional elements of the building are still evident, such as the tall entrance, which would allow the horse and rider to go through the doorway, the tethering rings and the wide doorways designed to protect horses from injury.

Nunn’s Bridge, Coggeshall, Essex

Grade II listed: Nunn's Bridge
Picturesque late 19th century footbridge funded and constructed by social activist Henry ‘Dick’ Nunn, an early advocate of rights of way in the countryside

Nunn’s Bridge is a simple but elegant wrought iron footbridge that spans the River Blackwater near Coggeshall. Erected in 1892, it is unique in its design, craftsmanship and installation by skilled local blacksmith and social campaigner Henry ‘Dick’ Nunn.

The previous wooden footbridge, which acted as a public footpath, fell into decay in 1875 and was eventually washed away. Nunn appealed to the local authorities to replace the bridge, but to no avail, and thereafter declared his intention to fund and construct a bridge himself, such was his strong wish to see the footpath remain open to the public.

Nunn was a locally well-known and popular campaigner for the welfare of people and animals, and an early advocate of rights of way in the countryside; importantly, his activism predates the establishment of the National Trust in 1895 and the Ramblers’ Association in 1935. The picturesque bridge now stands as a symbol of Nunn’s generosity and social activism, and the burgeoning necessity for access to the countryside at the end of the 19th century.

Roman Catholic Church of St Mary, Dunstable, Bedfordshire

Grade II listed: Roman Catholic Church of St Mary
1960s church with a highly unusual tetrahedral blue and white ceiling designed like a medieval fan vault which also serves to stop reverberation

The Roman Catholic Church of St Mary in Dunstable was built in 1962-1964 to the design of innovative English architect Desmond Williams OBE. He is known for his striking church buildings at a time of great change in ecclesiastical architecture during the late 1950s and early 1960s. This reflected the cultural changes in England at the time.

The church is little-altered, and the circular plan breaks with convention. It is an early example of the impact of the Liturgical Movement on church design with its highly unusual blue and white ceiling following the form of a medieval fan vault. This type of ceiling also has a practical function to stop reverberation around the church.

The ecclesiastical architecture employs features that are grouped in numbers that have biblical significance. For example, there are 12 bays running around the outside of the church which could relate to the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 Disciples. The doorways into the church occur in threes, which often relates to the Holy Trinity.

The Pondyards, Gorhambury, St Albans

Scheduled monument: The Pondyards
Series of influential water gardens created in the early 1600s for English philosopher Francis Bacon

The Pondyards at Gorhambury are a series of water gardens that were created in 1608 for Sir Francis Bacon, the English philosopher and statesman who counselled Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. These water features, which were designed to display aquatic plants or ornamental fish, were extremely popular among the courtiers of Renaissance England, and were developed as a landscape artform.

The foundations of the Pondyards are in good condition and it is thought that archaeological items may still survive within the banks and base of the ponds. The Pondyards are in Bacon’s Hertfordshire estate (now the Grade I listed ruins of Old Gorhambury that was built by his father, Sir Nicholas Bacon). Our understanding of their origins, history and influence on future landscaping is helped by surviving historic documentation such as drawings, written descriptions and even Bacon’s own essay about garden design.

Gawthorpe Water Tower, West Yorkshire

Grade II listed: Gawthorpe Water Tower
Giant water tower built to store drinking water pumped for the village of Gawthorpe. Engines nicknamed ‘Maud’ and ‘Edith’

Gawthorpe Water Tower is a distinctive concrete structure in West Yorkshire that can be seen for miles around. Constructed between 1922 and 1928 as part of the nearby Pildacre Waterworks (now demolished), the tower was built to store drinking water for the expanding village of Gawthorpe, and was used as a water storage unit until 2006.

The water was drawn up from a former mine and pumped from the waterworks to the tower by two engines, fondly known by locals as Maud and Edith.

The tower is now used to host telecommunications equipment. Its design is far more interesting than a typical water tower, with smart panelling and its rotunda shape making it aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.

The Horse and Jockey, Wednesbury, West Midlands

Grade II listed: The Horse and Jockey
Ornate late 19th century pub with splendid ceramic-fronted bar counter

The Horse and Jockey is a great example of a suburban public house-hotel which, dating from 1899, defines its street-corner position with a prominent corner tower and a detailed, distinctive front.

The Horse and Jockey still has many original features, including a splendid ceramic-fronted bar counter. This extravagant and high-quality element is most likely manufactured by Craven Dunnil of Jackfield. As one of only 12 known examples remaining in England, the counter is a very rare survival. Other historic fixtures include the bar back, with rich timber mouldings and decorated mirrors, and the Art Nouveau-style leaded windows.

The building was designed by Wood and Kendrick, who designed pubs around the Black Country during the late 19th century.

The Gardens at Graythwaite Hall, Graythwaite, Cumbria

Grade II* registered: Gardens at Graythwaite Hall
Gardens designed by Thomas Mawson, widely considered to be the founder of modern landscaping

The gardens at Graythwaite Hall in the Lake District were created between 1889 and 1895, at a time when garden design was at a crossroads and moving towards the Arts and Crafts principles of the early 20th century.

They were designed by Thomas Mawson, who is widely considered to be the founder of modern landscaping and was one of the most influential garden designers of the early 20th century. The gardens were Mawson’s first major design, in which he pioneered his ‘composite’ garden: a combination of the formal and informal.

Surrounded by extensive woods that are said to have been a favourite of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, the landscape of Graythwaite is enchanting, and Mawson’s gardens are no exception. From a Dutch garden that features a striking sundial to the beautiful rose garden, Graythwaite is a popular spot for visitors during the summer months, and still fully reflects the original design.

The Church of St Mary, Andover

Upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*: Church of St Mary
An impressive church modelled on Salisbury Cathedral that exemplifies 19th century church design

The Church of St Mary, Andover was built between 1840 and 1846. The original design was by Augustus Livesay, with renovations by Sydney Smirke, and an elaborate interior revision by William White. The design was inspired by the Gothic Salisbury Cathedral and demonstrates the typical church style of that era.

The distinctive, large-scale layout and fine quality of decorative elements add to St Mary’s rich and dramatic feel. Funded by a private individual, Dr Goddard (who was a former Headmaster of Winchester School), the church illustrates the impact private patronage had on community buildings during the 19th century.

Church of St Mary & Sunday School, Lyonshall, Herefordshire

Grade II listed: Church of St Mary & Sunday School
Charming 19th century Sunday school and prefabricated Tin Tabernacle church, which are increasingly rare

The tabernacle Church of St Mary was built in 1860 using a corrugated iron prefabricated design known as a ‘tin tabernacle’ that has become increasingly rare. There are only 86 remaining corrugated iron churches – of all denominations – surviving in England, and fewer than 20 of these are listed. They are rare because mission churches like these weren’t intended for permanent use, and most were eventually replaced.

Architecturally, most prefabricated churches and chapels had very simple rectangular plans, but this church retains its chancel as well as original fittings, such as a pulpit. Unlike many other Gothic Revival tin tabernacles, it has remained in its original location. It has a well-crafted associated Sunday School which was built in the churchyard in the late 19th century to support the congregation. The Sunday School complements the church as a modest, plainly-furnished timber building.

St John’s Beacon (Radio City Tower), Liverpool

Grade II listed: St John’s Beacon
A 1960s observation tower in the city of Liverpool

St John's Beacon (Radio City Tower) in Liverpool is an observation tower that was built between 1965 and 1969. It is one of a handful of observation towers that were constructed internationally during the 1960s, with a design embodying the interest in space travel at the time.

Responding to this 60s fashion, the architect James A Roberts, who was also behind the Grade II-listed Rotunda in Birmingham, designed the tower’s 125-metre concrete shaft to support a spaceship-like lantern.

Scarborough Seaside Shelter, Southcliff Gardens, Scarborough

Grade II listed: Scarborough Seaside Shelter
Unusual decorative blue and white shelter created by architect Frank Alfred Tugwell

The Scarborough seaside shelter, which sits to the north of the Grade II registered Valley Gardens & South Cliff Gardens, was built from 1897-1909. It has some unusual design details, created by eminent local architect Frank Alfred Tugwell.

Shelters like these were very popular during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and would have been designed to enhance the seaside-goer’s experience. The decorative blue and white structure captures the spirit of Scarborough’s colourful history as an important seaside resort, which is still the largest holiday destination on the Yorkshire Coast today.

Ninnage Lodge, Chaxhill, Gloucestershire

Grade II listed: Ninnage Lodge
Demonstrates the changing expectations and fashions of estate living in the 19th century

Ninnage Lodge illustrates the aspirations of the Asgill Legge family, the owners of the estate through the 19th century, and also the changing expectations and fashions of estate living at this time. Complete with clock house, groom’s cottage and laundry, the house survives today as a remarkably complete example of a small, 19th century country estate.

Ninnage Lodge boasts many surviving historic fixtures and fittings from the early 19th century onwards and the sensitive design of the ancillary buildings not only complement the character of the main house but emphasise its clear architectural quality.

East Woodburn Bridge, Hexham, Northumberland

Grade II listed: East Woodburn Bridge
Impressive wide arch design to facilitate the herding of sheep and cattle between England and Scotland

East Woodburn Bridge in Northumberland is an elegant bridge built in 1832 to replace an earlier 18th century packhorse bridge. Part of this original bridge, the stone-built western approach, is still intact. The bridge is situated on a historic droving route, an important part of Northumberland history, used by farmers to move large numbers of sheep and cattle between England and Scotland.

The impressive, ‘wide-basket arch’ design provided a safe crossing over the River Rede for the cattle. Its ambitious design is not only a great example of the skill of early infrastructure, but it also emphasises the significance of cattle droving in the area at the time. Indeed, the bridge features in John Hodgson's 1827 book History of Northumberland, accompanied by an illustration entitled 'On the drift way for Black Cattle from Scotland'.

Please be aware that not all listed places are publicly accessible.


*Shipwrecks - Five shipwrecks have been scheduled in 2020. Sometimes it is more appropriate to protect a shipwreck by scheduling under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological areas Act 1979 rather than under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. When a shipwreck is scheduled it recognises that it is of national importance, and it is included in the National Heritage List for England. Recreational divers are free to dive it, but they must respect the wreck site and not damage or remove anything from it. The Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 allows the Secretary of State to designate a restricted area around a wreck in order to prevent uncontrolled interference. Access to such sites is restricted only to divers who have been granted a licence by the Secretary of State.