England

Ten 20th Century buildings named as 'at risk'

Hull BHS mural Image copyright Twentieth Century Society
Image caption The mural on the former BHS store in Hull has been highlighted by the Twentieth Century Society

Some of Britain's best examples of 20th Century architecture are in danger of being lost forever as towns and cities are redeveloped, it is being claimed.

Murals on former BHS stores in Hull and Stockport and Holborn Library in London are featured on the Twentieth Century Society's Buildings at Risk List.

Catherine Croft, director of the society, said she wanted to see the buildings being brought back into use.

"[They] should enrich our lives and those of future generations," she said.

"We are witnessing the death of idealism and public spiritedness which underpinned so much of the best architecture of the 20th Century," she added.

Image copyright Chris Boden/National Trust/PA
Image caption The property is considered to be one of the UK's best examples of modernist architecture

The society said the list served to show how severe the threat to the period's architecture was. Examples highlighted in previous years' lists have been protected, it added - such as St Peter's Seminary at Cardross and the Western Morning News headquarters in Plymouth.

Buildings on this year's register are:

  • Dunelm House, Durham
  • BHS Murals, Stockport and Hull
  • Manchester Reform Synagogue and Police Station
  • Central Hill, London
  • The Elephant and Swimming Baths, Coventry
  • High Cross House, Dartington, Devon
  • Cumberbatch North and South Buildings, Oxford
  • St Leonards Church, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex
  • 60 Hornton Street, West Kensington
  • Holborn Library

Dunelm House in Durham was built between 1964 and 1966 by the River Wear. It is a five-level students' union building which won both a Civic Trust award and the RIBA Bronze Medal for 1966. An application for it to be Grade II listed was turned down by the Secretary of State, a decision which is being appealed against by the Twentieth Century Society.

The distinctive Three Ships mural on Hull's former British Home Stores (BHS) building is a mosaic of about one million tiny cubes of Italian glass. It is feared that as it is not listed, its future could depend on what happened to the currently empty building. It is in muted colours, unlike the brightly-coloured mosaic in Stockport, Greater Manchester, which shows the history of the town across six centuries.

Image copyright Andrew McGeechan
Image caption The Elephant and Swimming Baths in Coventry could be closed and replaced with a £37m leisure centre.

The Manchester Reform Synagogue is under threat from plans submitted by former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. The 1953 synagogue - along with the former Bootle Street Police Station - would be bulldozed and rebuilt near Manchester Town Hall under the plans for a tower block featuring a five-star hotel, apartments, offices and restaurants.

The low-rise estate of Central Hill, London, has been called "one of London's most exceptional and progressive post-war housing estates" by the Twentieth Century Society.

Coventry's The Elephant sports centre was built in 1977 and represents the city's "elephant" coat of arms. Both the Elephant and its neighbouring swimming baths, built in 1966, are under threat following Coventry Council's decision to close the centre and replace it with a £37m leisure centre.

High Cross House in Devon was built in 1932 as a home for the headmaster of the nearby progressive Dartington Hall School. It fell into disrepair in 1987 but was renovated and opened by the National Trust in 1995, heralded as one of the finest examples of a Modernist home in the UK. It closed less than two years later, as the trust said it had low visitor numbers.

Image copyright Empics
Image caption Dunelm House in New Elvet is the Durham Students Union building

Cumberbatch North and South Buildings in Oxford are student accommodation buildings. A planning application is expected to be made soon which the 20th Century Society will campaign against.

St Leonards Church was hit by a doodlebug in 1944, and rebuilt in a dramatic modernistic Gothic Revival style. It is currently closed amid concerns of subsidence and its structural condition.

60 Hornton Street in West Kensington is threatened with complete demolition and replacement by another domestic dwelling. It features a lift and spiral staircase to all floors which was praised in 1971 for its "fixed section and spatial attitude" by Architectural Review.

Holborn Library was the first large, multi-functional, post-war library in London and had pioneering architecture at the time. Plans are currently under way to remodel the library and redevelop it into studio spaces and new homes.

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