The Twentieth Century Society has been joined by a former minister in the battle to save the National Sports Centre (NSC) at Crystal Palace. Lord Stratford (Tony Banks) who was a Minister in the Department of Culture Media and Sports with special responsibilities for sports and oversaw the 1997 Grade II* listing of the National Sports Centre. He describes the building as an architectural gem and told the magazine Building Design: “I was the minister who listed Crystal Palace (the NSC) and I did so because it is a building of architectural merit and significance. It was built in house by the London County Council… and its resemblance to the Festival Hall is remarkable. The Festival Hall is one of the most elegant buildings in London, even today, and it is being refurbished, they are not knocking it down because the design is of such merit. The hall (the NSC) ought to be refurbished and modernised.., To demolish it would be unacceptable.” (BD 25 November 2005, p7). Lord Stratford says he will lobby the London Development Agency (LDA), English Heritage and the DCMS to retain the building.
The Twentieth Century Society is delighted to learn about Lord Stratford’s views; like the former minister we believe that the building can be refurbished. The NSC is structurally sound and in use. It is historically important as Britain’s first national sports centre and architecturally successful. The LDA are proposing demolition of the building and claim that a replacement building would be of benefit to the community, claiming that this would outweigh the loss of the listed NSC. The Society are preparing a case for retention and are working with a conservation architect to show how the NSC could be retained and its setting improved.
For further information please contact:
Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker,
The Twentieth Century Society, 020 7250 3857
Also see: www.riskybuildings.org.uk