The Victorian buildings at risk: part one

The Victorian buildings at risk: part one


Posted 28th Sep 2016 by Peter Byrne


Following the release of the Victorian Society's list of the top 10 Victorian buildings that are most at risk, we've taken a more indepth look at the buildings  

1. Red Barns, Redcar, North Yorkshire (Grade II* 1868, Phillip Webb)

An architecturally important building that was designed by leading arts and crafts architect Philip Webb, it is also the former home of Gertrude Bell CBE, a pioneering Victorian explorer of the Middle East. Red Barns is in a terrible condition with significant water damage to the interior. Urgent action is necessary if Red Barns is to survive.

red barns
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society

2. Victoria Mill, Grimsby, Lincolnshire (Grade II, 1889 and 1906, Sir William Gelder of Hull)

A former flour mill, warehouse and office complex, it was partially converted into housing, but suffered with structural difficulties. As a result of this, some people who were living in flats were made homeless for weeks as the site was declared unsafe. After the owner failed to take action, the Council had to carry out work to allow residents to return home and prevent a collapse.

victoria mill
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society

3. Old Bute Road Railway Station, Cardiff (Grade II*, 1842, Brunel?)

You would never guess that this dilapidated station was the home of the first steam-powered train service in Wales. Vital to the development of Cardiff into the important international port it became in the 19th century, it is believed to be designed by Brunel. The Grade II listed station is an early surviving example of a purpose built railway architecture in Wales. The dereliction of the station is all the more shocking given that its location is just a stone's throe from the centre of the Welsh political power at the Welsh Assembly and the regeneration of Tiger Bay. A modern shelter was built at the station, which still serves commuters, next to the old station - one of the few remaining historic buildings in the area. However, it was left to rot after a museum it housed closed.


Image courtesy of Victorian Society / David Hilling

4. Old Library, Stafford, Staffordshire (Grade II, 1913, BrIggs, Wolstenholme and Thorneley)

Grade II listed, the Old Library in Stafford was partially funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Small but impressive, the classical building is in the centre of Staffordand should have no trouble finding a tenant yet it has been barely used for 20 years since the library closed in 1998. Once housing Clement Lindley Wragge's collection of ethnographic, zoological and geological materials. However, the current location of the materials is unknown. The County Council sold the building in 2012 and a planning application for a conversion into an Indian restaurant was approved but nothing has happened so far. On the market for £750,000, it is debatable as to whether or not it could reach this price or not.

the old library
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society

5. Mount Street Hospital, Preston, Lancashire (Grade II, 1872, RW Hughes)

A High Victorian Gothic building that was built as an orphanage for Preston's destitute girls, the orphanage closed in 1954 and subsequently became a convalescent home. However, it's now been empty for over a decade. An Urgent Works Notice was called for in 2009 to keep the building water tight and secured against vandalism or arson. It is a favourite for 'urban explorers' with teenagers seen hanging out of top floor windows. Preston City Council has drawn up conversion proposals but delay cannot be afforded.

 
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society / Dominic Roberts

Images and text courtesy of The Victorian Society





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