Each year, millions of pounds are poured into conserving and repairing historic buildings across the capital. Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register identifies a list of vulnerable buildings and landmarks decaying each year, meaning they could be lost if no action is taken. The annual register records the condition of the country’s historic buildings and sites, highlighting the seriously neglected places that could rot away and be lost for ever. On the 2022 register, there are 631 entries across London, listed for anything from a collapsing roof to a rotting façade.
Of the 631 London sites, 421 are buildings or structural monuments, 101 are places of worship and 12 are parks and gardens.
Historic England has just added 17 new ‘at risk’ sites in the capital, all of which are former public buildings, places of worship or landmarks that are in danger. Among recent additions to the list is the former Gaumont Palace Cinema in Wood Green, north London, which opened in 1934 and operated as a cinema until its closure in 1984. Today, the building is used as a church, but its façade partly collapsed in 2018 and its 1930s decorative details have been badly corroded. Another at-risk building is the Church of St Bartholomew in Stamford Hill, which was built in 1904 but has a leaky roof and needs urgent TLC.
There is some good news, though. Historic England has removed 19 London sites from the register after some serious attention has brought them back to life. Among them is Boston Manor House in Brentford, which is set to reopen to the public in the coming months, and the historic drinking fountain near the Ranger’s House in Greenwich Park. Other sites that are on their way to rescue include the stunning Crystal Palace Subway, and the former Granada Cinema in Walthamstow, where ‘good progress’ has been made and which will reopen as the Soho Theatre Walthamstow in 2023. Phew.
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