PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CORNISH BUILDINGS GROUP
Local Group Sharpen Their Focus on the Plight of Cornish Heritage
The Cornish Buildings Group announce their list of buildings most at risk in 2021. The Group’s Chairman Patrick Newberry said ‘This new three-year project led by the Cornish Buildings Group and supported by Historic England and the Cornwall Heritage Trust will monitor buildings at risk and help seek solutions for neglected, redundant or derelict buildings, whether they are listed or not. Cornwall has a rich and varied architectural legacy however some important and much-valued buildings are seriously at risk from neglect and, potentially, loss. The plight of some buildings has not been helped by the coronavirus pandemic. Since 1969 the Group has championed Cornwall’s built heritage but only since 2014 have we maintained our own ‘at risk’ list. We are thankful to have the backing and support of Historic England and the Cornwall Heritage Trust for this important project’.
Amongst the Group’s concerns are the church of St Paul, Tregolls Road, Truro, a Grade II listed, redundant, Arts and Crafts style church which, the Group fears, is at serious risk and Davidstow church rooms, the Grade II listed former Sunday school to the east of the church, which is in a very poor state. The Group continues to run an online petition to save St Paul’s which has now reached nearly 2,000 signatures. Another ecclesiastical building that sits high on the Group’s list but has a more promising outlook is St Paul’s church, Penzance, a Grade II listed redundant church that was recently sold at auction. The Group also hopes that positive solutions and new uses can be found for the rapidly declining Carharrack Methodist Church (1815) and the unlisted former Baptist chapel on the corner of Dennison Road in Bodmin (1851).
The reasons for decline are many and varied. The Group makes clear ‘the aim of this list is not to apportion blame, as buildings can fall into disrepair for many reasons. However, we would like to engage with owners in order to try and understand the reasons why buildings fall into disrepair and perhaps give support’.
Cornwall has a huge heritage of industrial buildings, many of which are in a poor state. Loggan’s Mill at Hayle, is an early 19th century Grade II listed mill where much talk has been had on repurposing this building but as yet, no positive action has been enacted. In similar positions are the Grade II* listed Sara’s Foundry, an iron foundry and engineering works at Redruth and ‘Northlights’, Tuckingmill, an unlisted former Jute Yarn Spinning shop which contributed to the production of the safety fuse, the saviour of many working miners. Of the Lamb and Flag smelting works, a disregarded Grade II listed building at St Erth, a concerned local resident said ‘the roof is still in a truly dire state, it’s been like that for years now, I’m afraid that I can’t be optimistic about its survival for very much longer’. These long-neglected heritage landmarks deserve some serious stabilisation.
Of great concern to the Group are high status houses. Paul Holden, project lead, says ‘This project aims to highlight issues of neglected buildings, some of which have neglected for decades. Botallack Manor, near St Just, is one example, This Grade II* listed, 17th century house, has been uninhabited for some time, the consequence being that it is exposed to water ingress and the risk of heritage crime. Likewise, Polvellan Manor, a former country house and latterly a hotel at West Looe, is not listed and in a perilous state. Plans for flats and part demolition have not, as yet, come to any fruition’.
Mr Holden added ‘Neglected buildings in towns are also a concern. 4 Penryn Street in Redruth is a plain, Classical-style house with a recessed porch and first-floor oriel. It is a wonderful survival and deserves a more optimistic outlook than it does now. In addition, at St Day, an important carpenter’s workshop is declining fast despite concerns raised by the parish council and local residents’.
The list has been compiled by the Cornish Buildings Group and is aimed to complement the Heritage at Risk register managed by Historic England. It is hoped that it will inform other risk lists compiled by groups such as SAVE and the Victorian Society. The Cornish Buildings Group list will include all building types regardless of whether they are listed or not. The list can be seen in full on the Group’s online project page which can be found at https://buildingsatrisk.wordpress.com/
The full list comprises of over 50 buildings that are of concern to the Group, many of which have been nominated by local parish councils and interest groups. It is not a complete list of buildings at risk in the county but is representative of many building types. Other buildings of concern which will be monitored by our project team of volunteers include Marke Valley Mine, Linkinhorne, near Upton Cross. This scheduled monument is in a precarious state and in desperate need of stabilisation before the chimney stacks collapse completely. At Poytons Piece, Minions, St Cleer, an unlisted site with two small semi-detached cottages, most likely miners’ small holdings, are roofless and ruined. Likewise at Meledor Farmhouse, St Stephen-in-Brannell, the Grade II* listed house, with parts dating to the early 16th century, is unoccupied and shuttered.
Paul Holden notes ‘Heritage assets, or buildings that are cherished by local communities, are sometimes referenced in neighbourhood plans, it is clear however that they can fall into neglect very quickly. One such building brought to our attention recently is 39 High Street, Falmouth. This a 20th century unlisted building in a conservation areas is in early stages of decay and needs attention. The building dates to c.1905 but we are not sure of its original use? If anyone has any more details please make contact. Likewise if you are an owner of a building at risk and would like to discuss its future or if you would like to report a building that is of some concern or if you would like to volunteer to support the project please contact email@example.com
NOTES FOR EDITOR
THE CORNISH BUILDINGS GROUP
Since 1969 the aims of the Cornish Buildings Group have been to stimulate interest, appreciation and knowledge of good building in Cornwall, and to encourage the erection, protection, repair and recording of such buildings.
Like any amenities group, we depend on numbers, strength and support of our membership, who provide the force and knowledge that have made us effective for over fifty years.
We encourage the protection and repair of historic buildings whether these are listed buildings or simply good examples of traditional building. We aim to encourage good architecture and to raise the general standard of building throughout the county. We hope that our generation may leave behind it buildings which will be looked back on with that same pleasure and enjoyment that we experience when we look at the architecture of past ages.
A new three-year project led by the Cornish Buildings Group and supported by Historic England and the Cornwall Heritage Trust www.cornwallheritagetrust.org 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 buildings, regardless of listing.
The Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ pages can be found at https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/heritage-at-risk/