A new three-year project led by the Cornish Buildings Group and supported by Historic England and the Cornwall Heritage Trust commenced in September 2020. The funding will support a case officer in order to help identify and monitor buildings at risk and seek solutions for neglected, redundant or derelict listed buildings, regardless of listing.
Conversations with interested parties and supporters have continued over the last month. Our project has been covered in online newsletter articles by the Victorian Society, Arts Society, national Federation of Women’s Institutes and the Diocese of Truro. Furthermore, we have given virtual presentations to the Cornwall Archaeological Society and the Cornwall Buildings Preservation Trust. This flurry of activity has attracted new area representatives which, as a result, has brought in nominations for our risk list. We look forward to working with all these groups in the future and are grateful for their co-operation in sharing details of the project across their social media platforms.
This outreach work constitutes the first stage of the project which is to get support and recruit volunteer area representatives. We are grateful to our 12 new recruits for coming forward and offering their expertise in monitoring their local areas and reporting concerns. There are still areas of the county that we have not covered, so if you are interested please let us know. If you know of any groups who might welcome a virtual talk (or in person when safe to do so) please make contact.
How can you follow the project?
Our WordPress blog https://buildingsatrisk.wordpress.com/ has proved successful and up until the 25 November has received 650 views. Our website will be updated as the project progresses https://sites.google.com/site/cornishbuildingsgroup/home
Updates and alerts will be shared via our Twitter feed @CbgCornwall
To keep up-to-date on the project please follow our blog; when we have something to say you will receive an alert. Or you can follow us on Twitter.
We reported in the last edition that 1 and 3 castle Street, Liskeard and St Paul’s, Penzance (above), were being sold at auction. Both were sold: Castle Street for £190,000 and St Paul’s exceeded its guide price of £50,000 and was sold for £119,000. https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/derelict-penzance-church-owned-prince-4675728
Please note our online petition to save St Paul’s, Truro from demolition is still live at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-st-paul-s-church-truro Please take a minute to take us up to 2,000 signatures. Our representatives will watch these buildings to monitor progress.
Our last newsletter raised concerns over the condition of mine engine houses. However, nominations coming in for our risk list has highlighted other building types that are at risk. Amongst these are toll houses, farmsteads, bridges and ecclesiastical buildings.
Notable amongst your concerns are bridges, churches and chapels − the former largely because of traffic damage and the latter through closure and redundancy. Bridges fall under the jurisdiction of Cornwall Council Highways Department. Having lived alongside Respryn Bridge at Lanhydrock for many years I know first-hand how frustrating it can be when a historic bridge is endlessly damaged. The solution used at Respryn was to install bastions either side of the bridge to manage width restrictions. Bridges put forward to our risk list included a small road bridge at Perranzabuloe (road junction on way to Smugglers Den pub at Mount and Cubert) (below right) and Trekelland Bridge (Grade II*) in South Petherwin – both have been damaged by traffic.
Churches too remain a concern not least closed churches such as St Paul’s, Truro; St Ruan Major (a ruin); St Pinnock (now sold); St Nicholas, Tresmeer and St Torney, North Hill – all of which have rather uncertain futures. In addition 24 churches are deemed at risk by the findings of their quinquennial inspections.
Botallack Manor, St Just.
This 17th century Grade II* listed manor house has been uninhabited for some years and now shows signs of water ingress and has security issues. The case has received some media attention https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-54737129
The property is owned by the Tregothnan Estate who, locals believe, are just leaving it to rack and ruin. Visual inspection would suggest that some of the chimney stacks are no longer safe and certainly the building is not watertight round the back.
It was built in 1661 and is central to the historic mining community. Incidentally, it was used in the 1970s series of Poldark (the series that Robin Ellis played Captain Poldark in) where it was used as Nampara, Poldark’s home. A Facebook support page has been set up by a concerned local. A few years ago the National Trust were interested in acquiring it but this came to nothing which, says the campaigner ‘is a real shame because 2 minutes away is the count house which they now own’.
This project has notified Historic England about the issue.
Focus on: former quayside cellar and garage, St Mawes.
The Tithe map of the 1840s shows this plot overlooking the beach at St Mawes as ‘cellars and yards’. The central building, most likely a fishing port quayside cellar, also appears on the c.1880 Ordnance Survey. Although the building has historic and archaeological significance as a cellar, its more recent history is as a garage, as shown by the surviving petrol pumps and AA sign, and most recently the home of the Roseland Gig Club. Early garages, like this, are increasingly rare. If any one has more details on this building or is willing to research its history please let us know.
One building sadly neglected and now demolished is this former railway ticket office in Redruth. The building was not listed but had some distinctiveness and significance to the local area . This old ticket office, later a bus drivers refreshment room, had declined significantly; a picture taken some ten years ago showed it in good condition and in use. More about this building can be found on our blog :-https://buildingsatrisk.wordpress.com/2020/11/19/former-ticket-office-redruth/
We would like to thank all those who have made contact and given their support to the project. Hopefully by the end of the year we will be able to publish our list and highlight our priorities for 2021. More in the next newsletter.
It is not all bad news. Our blog carries an uplifting story of Millbrook Mortuary Chapel (1904) https://buildingsatrisk.wordpress.com/2020/10/25/good-news-stories-millbrook-mortuary-chapel-1904/
It is encouraging to report some positive actions are being made at Charlestown Chapel, 11-13 High Street, Launceston and Carclew, Mylor. We will watch with interest.
Not so good news
The Grade II listed gate lodge to Glynn House, near Bodmin, has been severely damaged by fire after a road traffic accident. https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/a38-fire-bodmin-car-house-4618351
Please support us
This project has made a positive start. You can play your part in this work by volunteering to support our aims. You can do this by reporting your concerns about historic buildings or valued heritage assets in your area which are either derelict or not being properly looked after. Please contact Paul Holden at email@example.com
A form that will help us with some background local knowledge is available on our website
Thank you for your support
Paul Holden, FSA.