The UK’s annual list of ‘lonely hearts’ buildings needing love comes out this month. Might you be the buyer they seek?
Compiled by preservation charity SAVE, Up My Street catalogues over 100 historically significant buildings across the country that are in various states of ruin. These range from pubs and cottages to police stations and mills, as well as an Art Deco swimming pool and a military gatehouse.
‘Every year SAVE’s buildings at risk catalogues challenge people to look with fresh eyes at the historic buildings around them and take stock of the damage that would be done to local scenes and landscapes if they were to be lost,’ says SAVE’s Building at Risk officer Liz Fuller.
Would-be-owners will need to have vision as well as deep pockets to wrestle these buildings back from the brink, however.
The Grade II* listed Tonedale Mills at Wellington presents the biggest challenge. This colossal site dates to 1754 but was rebuilt in brick in 1821 after the original timber structure burned down. At its peak the mill produced 21,300 ft of fabric per day, as well as the khaki dye used by the British Army. Plans for its residential and mixed-use conversion stalled during the financial crisis, and in 2014 it was named in the top 10 ‘priority’ Heritage Sites at Risk in the South West.
Another ailing edifice is Aberdeen’s Bon Accord Baths building, which dates from 1937. The Art Deco structure was built by architect Alexander McRobbie of the City Architects Department and closed in 2008. While the baths are empty, the raked seating and diving board remain, and Bon Accord Heritage is currently campaigning to revive the site.
Over in County Durham, there’s the creaking Stanley Board School, whose gabled form has commanded attention on Stanley’s Front Street since 1891. The former school sold at auction and planning was granted to turn the three-block structure into 25 apartments, however work has yet to start.
This and many other time-worn pieces of UK architecture could be yours.
‘We once again throw down the gauntlet to would-be restorers and purchasers who are seeking exciting projects,’ SAVE’s Deputy Director Mike Fox said.