The Twentieth Century Society

Listings reports

Autumn 2010

Shown below are the listings reports for Autumn 2010.

Added

Coventry Retail Market

Queen Victoria Road; Douglas Beaton, Ralph Iredale and Ian Crawford, Coventry City Architects Department, 1957; Grade II. A series of concrete arches, joined by a circular ring beam, Coventry’s retail market remains an impressive and influential piece of architecture—an expression, along with the nearby Cathedral by Spence, of the progressive nature of the city in the aftermath of WWII. Unfortunately not appreciated by the city council, who sought to overturn the listed status awarded by EH last year, the market has now been formally reviewed by DCMS and the decision to list at Grade II upheld.

Castle House, Angel Street

Sheffield, South Yorkshire; G.S Hay, 1964; Grade II. A distinctive set of internal features marks Castle House out as an exemplary retail building. Designed for the Co-Op and constructed in several phases, the building has an austere outward appearance and is clad in granite. Inside a collection of post-war artwork and tiling compliments the elegant staircases and lightwells. Another review case and again a listing decision that was fought by the city council of Sheffield (Castle House was seen to be standing in the way of regeneration plans), the listing at Grade II has been upheld by DCMS.

Milton Keynes Central

Shopping Building, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire; Derek Walker, Stuart Mosscrop and Christopher Woodward, 1973–79; Grade II (picture 1) Narrowly missing the II* status we asked for, the DCMS have finally, after 8 years, listed the near kilometre long shopping building in the heart of Milton Keynes. Ostensibly the ‘high street’ of the city, laid out in two long parallel avenues, the building has been a long-running campaign for the Society since English Heritage refused to recommend listing after our 2002 request and instead signed up to a management agreement with the owners. This agreement, we believe, was consistently overstepped and in 2007 we put the building forward again. This time, English Heritage has underlined the fact that the management agreement was not protecting the building by giving it Grade II status.

Leeds University campus

Leeds, Yorkshire—buildings by Chamberlain, Powell and Bon, including Senior Common Room, 1964–7, Mathematics Building, 1966, Biology and Biophysics Buildings, 1966– 70, Lecture Theatre (Roger Stevens Building) high level walkways, 1964–78; Grades II and II* (picture 2)

The demolition of Charles Morris Hall, an original residential scheme at the fringe of the CPB masterplan for the Leeds Southern Campus, prompted the Society to forward the above buildings to English Heritage for listing— urging them to assess the site and the landscaping as well as the architecture. All the above buildings have now been listed at Grade II except the centrally positioned Roger Stevens Lecture Building, which has been awarded Grade II*—a rare accolade for any building but extremely rare for one of the post-war period. The University have long been aware of the importance of the architecture and despite the loss of Charles Morris Hall, have been largely supportive of the listing process. This is the largest post-war site to be listed since the Barbican in 1980.

Turned Down

NAAFI Building (The Hoe Centre)

Notte Street, Plymouth, Devon.  Not listed, not in a conservation area and given no local protection, the NAAFI sits, at the time of writing, partially demolished. By the time you read this, its fate will have been decided and it will have come down or been listed. One of very few remaining purpose built NAAFIs in the country and an elemental building in Abercrombie’s post-war plan for the city, it’s unfortunate that EH can’t stop the demolition by the current owners (Plymouth University) and list it. It is sad to see both the university administration and the city council still failing to appreciate Plymouth’s unique C20 heritage.

The Gatehouse (or Founder’s Tower)

St. Anne’s College, Woodstock Road, Oxford; Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis, 1966. The Society is naturally disappointed that this very special building by HKPA has been turned down for listing for the second time. Although both the Society and EH put forward a strong listing case, DCMS took a different view. As explained in the DCMS decision letter, the Secretary of State was persuaded by evidence that supposedly demonstrates that the Gatehouse architecturally is not of special interest and has ‘no special decoration or craftsmanship’. We are particularly disappointed to note that in support of their decision, DCMS further argues that the building ‘does not relate well to adjoining buildings’ and ‘is not an exceptionally important example’ of the work of architects HKPA— two positions with which we strongly disagree— and surely decoration and craftsmanship are not always essential elements of good C20 design.

Put Forward

Saltdean Lido

Saltdean, Sussex; R.W.H Jones, 1938; Grade II. Concerned about proposals from the current leaseholder Dennis Audley to build new flats to the seaward side of the lido, the Society has joined forces with the local Save Saltdean Lido Campaign in an attempt to have the building upgraded toII*. The first lido ever to be listed and architecturally one of the very best remaining examples of ‘seaside modernism’ in the country, Saltdean remains under threat and needs a better scheme to ensure its future (see page 9).

Supported

St Mary’s Church and Clergy House

30 Bourne Street, Westminster, London; original church by Robert Jewell Withers, 1874?; church extension by Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel, 1924; clergy house: HS Goodhart-Rendel, 1922; Grade II (clergy) and II * (church).  Following the listing of St Mary’s Clergy House at Grade II last January (reported in the previous issue of the Society’s Newsletter), the Church of St Mary’s has now been upgraded to Grade II*. The Society requested this upgrade in June 2008 — jointly with the VicSoc. In recommending this upgrade English Heritage particularly noted the building’s extension by HS Goodhart-Rendel, ‘a major mid-C20 architect’, its group value with the adjoining clergy house, and, of course, its excellent ensemble of late-C19 and C20 fittings by important designers.

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