Derelict building in the Kasbah, Grimsby
Derelict building in the Kasbah, Grimsby © Historic England DP174808
Derelict building in the Kasbah, Grimsby © Historic England DP174808

Heritage at Risk 2018

  • Historic England unveils latest chapter in the fight to save important heritage in 20th of year of the national Register
  • Two-thirds of entries from the original 1998 Register have been removed
  • This year, 318 entries have been removed from the Register, while 242 entries have been added
  • Sites added include the church where Emmeline Pankhurst got married and the church where George Eliot worshipped, in the year when the nation celebrates the centenary of some women getting the vote
  • One of the oldest purpose-built museums in England at risk
  • Future secured for a medieval chapel on Holy Island, as well as Hounslow’s village lock-up and a smock mill in Suffolk

Today Historic England publishes the 2018 Heritage at Risk Register, the annual snapshot of the health of England’s historic places.

Headline statistics for 2018

  • Across the country 318 entries have been removed from the Register, while 242 entries have been added because of concerns about their condition.
  • Over the past year, Historic England has spent nearly £10 million (£9,888,723) in grants to help some of the country’s best loved and most important historic sites.
  • The Heritage at Risk Register 2018 reveals that in England:
    • 1,489 buildings or structures (Grade I and II* listed secular buildings and structural scheduled monuments and GII listed secular buildings in London)
    • 911 places of worship
    • 2,151 archaeology entries (non-structural scheduled monuments),
    • 99 parks and gardens entries
    • 4 battlefield entries
    • 4 protected wreck sites
    • and 502 conservation areas
      …are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change.
  • In total, there are 5,160 entries on the 2018 Heritage at Risk Register, 94 less than in 2017.

Sites added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register 2018

ADDED: St Luke's Church, Weaste, Salford

This Grade II* gothic church, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and built in 1865, is a new addition to the 2018 Register due to damage caused by a leaking roof. Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 - 1928), famous for leading the movement to secure the right for women to vote, got married here in 1879.

Greater Manchester is one of two places in England that hopes to benefit from a pilot scheme recently launched to see listed places of worship repaired and improved. The £1.8 million scheme, also running in Suffolk, will see expert advisers work with all faiths and denominations. They will help local volunteers to look after and manage Places of Worship, including churches, synagogues and meeting houses, and will also explore how they can serve their wider communities. The help and grants available via the Government’s Taylor Review pilot project are therefore very welcome.

ADDED: Wool Bridge, Wool, Dorset

The Grade II* listed Wool Bridge is the best-preserved Elizabethan bridge in Dorset. Following heavy rain at the start of this year, the bridge collapsed. Historic England has been working with Dorset County Council in advance of the repairs which should be completed later this year. A ‘Wullebrigg’ is first documented in 1244 and the first record of a bridge crossing the river Frome here is in 1343, although the current structure dates for the most part to the 16th century. One positive to come out of the damage and subsequent repairs will be the opportunity to record archaeology around the structure, which may uncover material from an earlier bridge and artefacts spanning the centuries that local people have used this place as a crossing point.

ADDED: Kasbah Conservation Area, Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Following its designation late in 2017, the Kasbah Conservation Area in Grimsby has been added to the Heritage at Risk Register. Plans are already underway to repair and revitalise the area, which is steeped in Grimsby’s great maritime heritage. Owner Associated British Ports, North East Lincolnshire Council and Historic England have formed a Heritage Action Zone partnership with other organisations to attract funding and manage a repair programme.

ADDED: Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire

This is one of the oldest purpose-built museums in England. It opened in 1847 and is an almost perfect example of a Victorian museum and is still fitted out with its original display cases. Its collections are made up of natural science and the local fauna and flora of Wisbech and the surrounding Fens. The main issue putting the building at risk is that the roofs of the main museum building are in very poor condition, with leaks causing serious damage to internal plasterwork and detailing. Historic England has awarded a grant of £47,750 towards the works which will include a full building condition survey and immediate repairs to stop the roof leaking.

ADDED: Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, Warwickshire

This church’s origins go back hundreds of years though the building itself has been reconstructed and adapted over time. One of its famous parishioners was the author Mary Ann Evans, better known as George Eliot, who wrote Middlemarch among other works. The church survived the Blitz mostly intact, thanks to its vicar who, along with a few others, slept in the church during a raid in November 1941 and doused any fires which started to take hold. Today the church needs urgent roof repairs to keep it weather tight.

ADDED: Former Feversham Street First School, Bradford, West Yorkshire

The former Feversham Street First School in Bradford was built in 1873 and later became the first mixed Higher Elementary Board School in England. The Grade II* building closed as a school in 1993 and has had various uses since but is now boarded up. Its condition has steadily deteriorated, particularly the roof which is in very poor condition.

ADDED: Whitacre Waterworks, Shustoke, Warwickshire

This impressive building is a former pumping station, built around 1872 at the same time as the Shustoke Reservoir to pump millions of gallons of fresh water every day to nearby Birmingham. It is a demonstration of Victorian ambition and inventiveness, but is currently unused. The owner, Severn Trent, is looking for imaginative ways to repair and reuse the site.

ADDED Beehive Works, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

This purpose-built cutlery works was constructed in phases between the late 1850s, or early 1860s, and c1890. Much of the site has been repaired and is now in use as offices, workshops and other commercial operations. The four-storey workshop range to the rear of the second courtyard is only partially occupied and its vacant upper floors are in poor condition having suffered structural movement and water ingress over a prolonged period of time. A grant was awarded by Historic England in 2018.

Sites saved in the past year

SAVED: Medieval Chapel and Associated Buildings on St Cuthbert's Island, Holy Island, Northumberland

Following a successful programme of repairs to stabilise the eastern side of the island from erosion by the North Sea, this site has been removed from the Register. That erosion was removing sensitive archaeological deposits associated with the medieval structures on the island. Medieval monastic hermitage Holy Island is a major tourist destination.

SAVED: Large Mansion in Gunnersbury Park, London

Dating from the early 19th century, the Large Mansion, which was previously owned by the Rothschild banking family, has been repaired thanks to National Lottery funding. However the landscape and eight other listed buildings remain on the At Risk Register, so the wider site remains a challenge for Historic England and other organisations involved.

SAVED: Drinkstone Smock Mill, Drinkstone, Suffolk

This Grade II* timber-framed smock mill dates from the late 18th century. The mill incorporates the base of an earlier horse-driven mill and houses a range of milling technologies. In the late 19th century it was adapted to become a wind powered mill and in 1932, an engine house was built next to it and its sails were taken off. It has been removed from the Register this year after being added last year because repairs have been made to the leaking mill tower or ‘smock’ which was endangering the machinery. Historic England offered a grant of £188,000 towards the works and these were completed this summer.

SAVED: The village lock up, Hounslow, London

Built in 1838, this unusual little circular brick building would once have been used to imprison thieves who preyed on pedestrians, caught on Hounslow Heath. The building has been fully repaired and removed from the Register.

SAVED: Asthall Barrow: an Anglo-Saxon burial mound near Barrow Farm, Oxfordshire

This burial monument has an unusual feature of a dry stone wall at the base of the mound; a large section of which remains visible. The barrow was added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 2009 at risk from unmanaged trees and scrub and damage caused by active rabbit burrowing. Working in partnership with the owners and voluntary wardens from the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the site has been cleared of trees and scrub and works to exclude rabbits have been completed. The impressive sycamore tree that sits astride the barrow has been retained and makes the barrow visible from the A40 roundabout.

SAVED: Milnsbridge House, Dowker Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Milnsbridge House is a Grade II* building which stands apart from its neighbours in its grand classical style. It was built around 1748 as a country house close to the river Colne and the area has since built up around it. It was once home to magistrate Joseph Radcliffe, who played a key part in suppressing the Luddite riots in the Colne Valley. He tracked down the three mill-workers accused of murdering Marsden mill-owner William Horsfall who were subsequently hanged for their crimes in 1813. Although the interiors have been lost, the exterior survives and the first and second floors have been converted into apartments with office space below.

Over the past 20 years we have used the Heritage at Risk Register to highlight places in need of care and attention. We have dedicated time, expertise and money to bring these special but threatened places back into use, and we are proud to have played our part in saving them from neglect. Despite the successes, other places continue to fall into disrepair. They have been added to this year’s Register and we will focus our attention on them in the years ahead.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive at Historic England