From Britain’s oldest water chute ride in Northamptonshire, Crimean War gunboat sheds and a rare clapper bridge to a recently exposed shipwreck in Somerset and six Victorian lamp-posts, Historic England has protected over 1000 historic sites in 2016.
Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England, said: “Over 1000 places have been added to the List in 2016 ensuring the most important sites across the country are recognised and protected. Historic England strives to keep the List rich and relevant so that the best of our, often weird and wonderful, heritage can continue to be enjoyed and understood for future generations.”
“Our island is full of historic places with intriguing stories, many of which can be found on the National Heritage List for England. We want to draw attention to the lesser known sites listed this year which all play a role in telling us about England’s history.”
21 unusual or surprising places that have been listed this year:
Britain’s oldest Water Chute, Wicksteed Park, Kettering, Northamptonshire
The Water Chute at Wicksteed Park is the oldest in Britain, built in 1926. Its designer, philanthropist Charles Wicksteed, who owned a successful engineering company in Kettering, was a huge influence on attitudes to children’s play. He created a leisure park with amusements for the enjoyment of the public. The park was free to enter, and still is today. One of its great attractions was the water chute Charles designed. Even today when there are ever faster and bigger amusement rides, visitors are still thrilled to slide down the chute, and anticipate the inevitable splash.
Charles noticed that that there was no purpose-built play equipment for children, and he passionately believed in the benefits of recreation. In the 1920s his company began making playground equipment. It soon became his factory’s main business, and the company is still going strong today.
Inscriptions left by First World War conscientious objectors, near Broughton-in-Furness, Lake District National Park, Cumbria
A natural rock outcrop carries a series of carvings left by First World War conscientious objectors who were on the run from the authorities, avoiding conscription. The rock has been inscribed with the date 1916 and the text CONs OBJECTORS along with the name A BOOSEY and six sets of initials of men who are thought to have used Green Moor as a safe house. The farm buildings at Green Moor are associated with a mixed group of Conscientious Objectors from Halifax in West Yorkshire and parts of Lancashire. The rock, some 140m from the farmhouse, may have been used as a vantage point from which to see and give warning of police searches. The markings are a very rare, possibly unique, physical reminder that support for the First World War was not universal.
Post-War ‘Lego’ Building, University of Reading, Berkshire
During the post-war period there was a dramatic growth in universities. Following an unadventurous start, universities became the country’s most ambitious architectural patrons. Many campuses now boast the best works of the period’s most reputed architects.
The URS Building at Reading University was built in 1970-72 and designed by architects Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis. Built to house the Faculty of Urban and Regional Studies (URS) it has been dubbed the ‘Lego’ building due to its distinctive design. It features an exposed reinforced concrete frame finished in ochre-coloured cement which is filled with pre-cast concrete cladding panels of brown Thames Valley aggregate. The central corridor plan innovatively brings in natural light into the building through aluminium roof lanterns and glazed incisions.
White Lion pub, Westhoughton, Bolton, Greater Manchester
The White Lion pub dates from the early 19th century and was previously also Westhoughton’s post office. A 1920s refit followed the principles of the ‘improved’ pubs movement which aimed to reduce drunkenness, particularly in urban pubs. More visibility throughout the interior, larger windows, more comfortable facilities and better quality, modern but homely decoration all consciously appealed to families and to a mix of incomes and classes. The amazing survival of bell pushes in every room also suggests that efficient table service was the order of the day.
Bronze Age Funerary Barrow in Shooters Hill, Greenwich, London
Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. The survival of this ancient site in the middle of a London suburb is remarkable. Taking its name from nearby Shrewsbury House, built in 1789 for the Earl of Shrewsbury, the Shrewsbury Barrow stands on the high ground of Shooters Hill and is approximately 25m wide and 1.5m high. It is the last remaining of a group of six; four of the other six barrows are believed to have been built upon during the 1930s and the location of the last is not known.
Gunboat Sheds associated with the Crimean War, Haslar Gunboat Yard, Gosport, Hampshire
The British gunboat fleet was developed in the 1850s. A site for their storage and maintenance was required which also had the ability to quickly launch them into action. A steam-powered system was developed that allowed boats to be hauled from the water, shunted along rails, and transferred into covered slips or boatsheds. The security of the yard was paramount, and high boundary walls with sentry posts, the guard house and police barracks – all now listed at Grade II* – are testament to this.
The Gunboat Sheds, including the embedded rails and associated workshops, have been listed at the highest grade in order to reflect their outstanding special interest, and the buried remains of the traverser system are now protected as a scheduled monument. The complex was technologically innovative and has strong historical significance illustrating a particular aspect of the development of naval history, at a time of great technological change.
18th century artificial bee hives, St Teath, Bodmin, Cornwall
Bee bole walls were constructed with a series of niches for housing skeps – an early form of artificial bee hive. They were used for centuries for domesticated honey bees and were most commonly built in the more remote parts of the country such as Cornwall and Cumbria. The use of bee skeps – woven, basket-like structures with tapering tops and open bases – for beekeeping declined with the advent of modern bee hives in the later 19th century. Very few bee boles now survive, either as independent structures or attached to buildings such as farmhouses and cottages. The bee boles at Dannonchapel Farm are built using a Cornish method that is not only structurally sound but also provides distinctive ‘V’-splayed piers in local stone.
Former Women’s Prison and exercise yard, Rye Castle, East Sussex
The Ypres Tower at Rye Castle operated as a prison from the early 16th century. At that time all prisoners – regardless of their age, sex or crime – were held together. It was not until the 1770s, when the philanthropist and social reformer John Howard successfully campaigned for two prison-reforming Acts of Parliament, that women began to be housed separately. However, it took until 1837 for a new women’s prison, exercise yard, and an additional two-storey range of cells for male prisoners to be built in Rye.
The Women’s Tower is designed to look like a square castle tower yet the anti-climb spikes on the wall top and the solid cell doors and iron grilles to the windows reveal its use. Inside, the recent restoration and display of the ground floor cell, with its simple fireplace for heating and cooking, allows a glimpse of a female prisoner’s lot in the early 19th century.
Rare Clapper Bridge, Castleton, Whitby, North Yorkshire
A clapper bridge is a simple, primitive form of bridge, built since antiquity, where horizontal stone slabs are supported by vertical piers. The bridge spanning Danby Beck was built in the later 18th century and is possibly a rebuild of a medieval bridge. It is rare because at the time it was much more common to build more complex arched bridges which are stronger and can use smaller stones.
Olde English Tea House, Sunnyhurst Wood, Darwen, Lancashire
The Kiosk or Tea House was constructed in 1911-12 by public subscription to mark the accession and coronation of King George V in 1910. The conversion of Sunnyhurst Woods into a public park in 1902 was followed by a succession of works undertaken to enhance the facilities available. Within a few months of opening, improvements were being made and benefactors were providing further amenities at their own expense; these included a fishpond, a shallow lake for paddling and toy boat sailing, an aviary and a sundial. Built in a ‘Tudorbethan’ style with a lavish timber framed interior the Tea House is still in use as a function room today.
Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery Chapel, Gosport, Hampshire
A new cemetery was laid out in Clayhill in the 1850s after the Royal Naval Hospital grounds had reached capacity. The Chapel of rest was built in a central position and the new cemetery was consecrated in 1859 by the Bishop of Winchester.
The naval campaigns, conflicts, accidents and tragedies of the 19th and 20th centuries have populated Clayhall cemetery with large groups of low headstones, individual graves, poignant memorials and grand monuments, creating a picture of the perilous lives of mariners over the last 150 years. There are around 1400 Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials from the First and Second World Wars, and there is a highly unusual enclosed Turkish burial ground containing the remains of 26 Turkish sailors who died from cholera whilst anchored off the Hardway, Gosport in 1850.
Shipwreck on Madbrain Sands, Minehead, Somerset
A rare and unidentified wooden shipwreck was exposed on the beach at Madbrain Sands following the winter storms of 2014/15. The construction of the wreck is consistent with contemporary shipbuilding practices along the eastern seaboard of North America, including vessels which traded with Britain or which were sold into British ownership. Timber sampling proved the hull to be built of pine and larch. The most plausible identification for this vessel is therefore the New England-built and owned Bristol Packet, built of pine in 1801 and wrecked at Minehead in 1808.
Leighton Family tomb, St Mary’s Churchyard, Harrow on the Hill, London
There are many Victorian tombs across the churchyards and cemeteries of England but some really stand out. The c.1867 Leighton family tomb is striking for its unusual gothic ribbed design, granite material, and craftsmanship. Designed by John Leighton (1822-1912), a prolific book cover designer and illustrator in the Victorian period, it is covered in playful monograms and decoration redolent of his other design work. The tomb’s colourful ‘memento mori’ mosaics are rare late survivals of the imagery of death.
Rare Bathing House and Sea Wall at Norris Castle, East Cowes, Isle of Wight
Norris Castle is an exceptional villa and landscaped park laid out from c.1799. One of the new listings on the site is the rare and unusual Bathing House. The surrounding landscape was laid out according to picturesque principles and the Bathing House was designed as a castellated tower in a similar style to the nearby Gothic Revival Castle and model farm, designed by notable architect James Wyatt. The sea wall was used as a terrace walk, and possibly a carriage drive, and the Bathing House may have served as a recreational stopping point on a route around the landscape. Norris Castle hosted numerous royal visits and in 1852 Queen Victoria completed a pen and ink drawing of the Bathing House. It subsequently became derelict and roofless but retains an internal staircase, alcove and doorway leading out onto the beach.
War memorial to 2130 City of London employees, St Michael’s Alley, Cornhill, London
The impressive war memorial at the Church of St Michael, Cornhill in the City of London by the distinguished sculptor Richard Reginald Goulden (1876-1932) was listed at Grade II* this year. It commemorates the 2130 City employees who worked within the parish of St Michael Cornhill and those of adjacent churches who had volunteered for military service during the First World War, at least 170 of whom had died.
At the top of the bronze sculptural group is a figure of St Michael the Archangel, wings upstretched, holding a blazing sword aloft; whilst below is a pair of ferocious lions, one beast sinking its teeth into the head of the second. A cluster of four naked infants gaze upwards seeking St Michael’s protection.
Victorian lamp posts, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
The six decorative cast iron lamp posts along Montpellier Parade were designed in 1848 and are an elegant addition to the street. They were originally gas-powered and have since been converted to electricity and given replacement lanterns. It is thought that they were moved to their current location in the 1970s from elsewhere in Harrogate.
Jewish Mortuary Chapel, Norwich, Norfolk
At first glance, the small chapel and accompanying burial ground located in the northern part of Earlham Cemetery in Norwich appears modest and unremarkable – much plainer and less architecturally distinctive than the Roman Catholic chapel located further south in the cemetery landscape. The clue to the special interest of the chapel is found in the headstones associated with the buildings, which are called ‘Matzeivahs’ and which bear inscriptions in Hebrew script. This corner of the Cemetery was designed to provide dedicated facilities for the burial of members of the Jewish faith. The chapel is a rarity – a Jewish mortuary chapel designed as an original part of a very early Burial Board cemetery – and testimony to the status of the established Jewish Community in Norwich in the mid-19th century.
Sheriff of London’s gardens, Turvey, Bedfordshire
The designed landscape associated with Turvey House was laid out in the late-18th century for Charles Higgins, who served as the Sheriff of London. It was initially laid out as a small and well-designed ornamental landscape; the grounds expanded into a park and evolved as the family bought more land over generations. Although the house and gardens have not been conclusively attributed to an architect or garden designer, it is believed that John Nash had a hand in the design. It is suggested the impressive south front of the house has the air, in miniature, of his designs for Buckingham Palace, while many interior details are closely similar to those found in documented examples of his work.
Replica of the grotto at Lourdes, Hednesford, Staffordshire
Inspired by the original grotto at Lourdes, the Hednesford shrine was completed in 1934 and commemorates the apparitions of Our Lady to St Bernadette in the mid-19th century; Bernadette Soubirous is first recorded as seeing the visions of the Virgin Mary in a cave at Lourdes in 1858. The grotto is part of a growing international trend in the early and mid-19th century to honour Bernadette who was beatified in 1925 and canonised in the 1933. Since 1966 it has been the site of an annual diocesan pilgrimage. This naturalistic representation of a cave is unusual in England. It is accompanied by a set of six flanking Art-Deco style stone pylons. It stands in the ground of Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes which was built in 1928-34 and is also listed Grade II.
Alan Sorrell mural at Myton School, Warwick, Warwickshire
The Seasons mural was painted by Alan Sorrell in 1953 just inside the entrance of the secondary school now known as Myton School in Warwick. He was a significant neo-Romantic artist who is known equally for his mural painting and his development of the art of archaeological reconstruction drawing and illustration. The Seasons was the last, largest and most impressive large-scale mural by Alan Sorrell, who undertook a number of public art commissions and is best-known for his reconstructions of English history. The mural was intended to be entertaining as well as instructive to the pupils of the school, who passed it each time they entered the building or passed through the crush hall; in addition to scenes of harvest, agriculture and celebration, a fine, fire-breathing dragon sits atop a mountain, watching the people working in the countryside below.
Archaeological remains of 13th century monastic buildings, near Hinton Priory, Bath, Somerset
The Carthusian Order was almost unique amongst the religious orders in favouring a life of total withdrawal, with monks living in individual cells, largely in isolation. In the earliest priories or charterhouses, essential tasks were undertaken by lay brothers who had their own lower house or correrie, away from the parent house. The layout typically included a chapel, accommodation, a kitchen, agricultural outbuildings, and possibly an infirmary and a guesthouse. Eleven successful Carthusian monasteries were established in the British Isles and only two or three had separate correries. This one was built for the lay brothers of nearby Hinton Priory. A geophysical survey has indicated the presence of important below-ground archaeological remains, such as the foundations and walls of buildings, possible enclosures and walled courts. The site is very rare and significant and adds to our understanding of the character and occupation of correries.
The National Heritage List for England is held and managed by Historic England on behalf of the Government and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. It identifies the buildings, sites and landscapes which receive special protection, so they can be enjoyed by current and future generations. There are almost 400,000 items on the List, covering England’s most valued historic places.
2016 Statistics (01 January 2016 to 01 December 2016)
Listing: 985 new designations, including 640 War Memorials
Scheduling: 31 new designations
Parks and Gardens: 14 new designations
Protected wrecks: 3 new designations
TOTAL: 1033 new designations