The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Brutal North: C20’s Survey of threatened Brutalism in the North of England

Roger Stevens Building, Leeds University

Photo: Simon Phipps

Simon Phipps’ recent photographic survey, Brutal North (September Publishing, 2020) covers over 120 modernist buildings in the north of England, many of which can claim to be Brutalist and which are, sadly too often, unoccupied, in need of extensive repair or facing threat of demolition.

Taking the basic building information included the book, (which was written by Manchester School of Art’s Matthew Steele), our volunteer Lettie Mckie has compiled a project spreadsheet which we are using  to generate illuminating graphs from the data collected, such as the cumulative listings over time and the number of listings by region and city. This research (which is still in progress) will help C20 track trends in the listing history of Brutalist Buildings in the North of England and help us focus future campaigning priorities.

We have been going back through the C20 case files, to ascertain the listing history of each building, checking the reasons for refusal in cases where listing has been turned down, often on several attempts, and analysing whether we have new information which means that a further application is worth pursuing. We have also been going through the planning records of each local authorities where a building is located, and noting down any significant alterations that have been made to it already, or if there are any plans for redevelopment.  It has been most challenging trying to find out the current state of repair of a building, whether it has ever been coated or painted, or if the building was in fact constructed fully to its original designs, which can make a big difference to a case for listing.

The more information we can find out about the more accurate the overall picture. Please get in touch via caseworker@c20society.org.uk if you can help us fill in any of the blanks on the spread sheet which you can download below. We are particularly interested to hear of any current threats to buildings on the list, or any local campaigns that we might not be aware of. We also welcome any photographs of Brutalist buildings at risk.

Downloads

  • C20 Brutal North Research Spreadsheet

    Download

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