The Victorian buildings at risk: part two

The Victorian buildings at risk: part two


Posted 29th 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 been taking a more indepth look at them. Here we finish off the list:

6. Clayton Hospital, Wakefield, West Yorkshire (Locally listed, 1879 extended circa 1900, William Bakewell)

Clayton Hospital is the first non-listed building to make it onto the Top Ten for several years. The inclusion reflects the high quality of the carved stone Tudor Revival building which dominates the surrounding conservation area. Although its dramatic central tower is visible from two of Wakefield's main roads, it has fallen into a state of disrepair, with its lead flashings stripped from the roof. The Wakefield Grammar School Foundation owns schools on either side and has submitted plans to demolish the hospital to enable expansion. The Society opposes the application, however, considering it inconceivable that a landmark hospital could not be incorporated somehow.

clayton hospital
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society

7. St Paul’s Church, Boughton, Chester, Cheshire (Grade II* 1876 extended 1902 John Douglas)

From the outside yo would not know that St Paul's Church, Boughton, incorporated an older classical church, with architect Joh Douglas, who designed much of Chester's famous Victorian half-timbered town centre, a congregation member who rebuilt the complex in his own distinctive style, leaving little sign of what went before. Described in Pevsner as 'the boldest of Douglas' church designs' the stunning interior retains wall paintings and wonderfully stained glass windows by Kempe, Frampton, Morris and Burne-Jones. The church is currently going through the Church of England closure process after the congregation merged with another church. Repairs are needed to both the roof and electrics, although the church's rear presents an idyllic situation down to the river it fronts.

st pauls
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society / Fragglehunter

8. Rylands Mill, Wigan, Greater Manchester (Grade II, 1865, George Woodhouse)

The former cotton mill, with integral boiler and engine house, chimney and weaving sheds, the building was occupied by Wigan and Legh College but was left derelict since the early 2000s. Although designed to be fireproof, the mill suffered regular fires recently, resulting in the demolition of a 20th century extension. Locals are concerned by a lack of vision for a site where children are risking their lives trespassing. Ideally located by a public park, the mill is on the market for £2,500,000. Securing the site before someone gets hurt is a priority.

ryland mill
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society / Fragglehunter

9. Oliver Buildings, Barnstaple, Devon (Grade II, 1888, William Clement Oliver)

The Grade II listed Oliver Buildings occupy a prominent riverside site in Barnstaple. William Clement Oliver designed the Shapland and Petter multi-coloured brick factory, showroom and office complex in 1888. A disastrous fire destroyed the firm's previous works, meaning that an innovative combination of fireproof and fire-retardant construction, compartmentalisation and sprinkler system. Shapland and Petter originally used advanced American machinery to produce high-quality Arts and Crafts furniture. A developer who bought the site has repeatedly fought to overturn the building's recent listing, with concerns over the building's future compounded by North Devon Council leader Des Brailey who mistakenly said that the Grade II-listed building does not actually protect the interior. After rejecting an offer by the local building preservation trust to buy the buildings, pressure is now on the developer to prevent further decay.

olivers building
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society

10. St Joseph's Seminary, Upholland, Lancashire (Grade II 1880-83. J O'Byrne extended 1921-8 by Pugin and Pugin)

A large and impressive three storey complex, this Gothic sandstone building reportedly sits in the middle of the Diocese of Liverpool, and harks back to a time when young men wanted to train to become priests. Numbers started to drastically drop after the 1960s, and the seminary became a boarding school in the 1980s for boys who were considering a vocation. Alumni allegedly include Tom O'Connor and Johnny Vegas - he allegedly left after becoming homesick. The buildings closed in the early 1990s and have since been in a state of slow decay, becoming something of a mecca for 'urban explorers', some of whom have damaged interiors.

st josephs
Image courtesy of The Victorian Society / Fragglehunter

Images and text courtesy of The Victorian Society





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