Hospital and circus theater among the buildings classified as “most at risk” | Art and design


A long-forgotten London hospital, an imposing former brewery and circus theater, described as ‘fascinating survivors of history’, are among the 10 listed Victorian and Edwardian buildings most at risk, according to a charity.The purpose-built hospital, opened in 1889, was once one of the most important gynecological hospitals in the country. It became the Samaritan Free Hospital for Women in 1904, joined the NHS in 1948 and closed in 1997.

The Grade II listed building on Marylebone Road in West London is now dilapidated and derelict, with the foliage recently removed from its beautiful red brick and terracotta exterior.

The Victorian Society, which has published its annual list of buildings of special architectural and historical interest, said the hospital’s prominent location calls for it to be restored and redeveloped into offices, hotels, or homes. apartments.

Brighton Racecourse, designed in 1901 and the finest surviving example of a circus theater, also sits “empty and rotting”. Its spectacular circular auditorium, with a richly decorated ceiling in the form of a paneled tent, once drew huge crowds. Recent plans for it to become a multiplex cinema, then a hotel, spa and apartments, have failed. It remains vacant and requires urgent work.

Brighton Racecourse is the best surviving example of a circus theater, but it needs urgent work. Photograph: Theaters Trust

Another vivid example highlighted is a former Anglo-Bavarian brewery in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, which is said to have been the country’s first lager brewery after the Beer Act of 1830 liberalized the brewing and sale of beer. Part of the site has been converted into a commercial area, but the rest has been vacant for many years and is in poor condition.

Anglo-Bavarian brewery

The former Anglo-Bavarian brewery of Shepton Mallet. Photograph: Victorian Society

Middlesbrough’s former Captain Cook pub, built in 1893 and named after the famous explorer was said to be born on the outskirts of town, has been closed for 10 years. The charity said the Jacobean-style pub was in a “sorry state” and a far cry from where it appeared in the hit comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Darlington Street Methodist Church in Wolverhampton

Darlington Street Methodist Church in Wolverhampton. Photograph: Ian Tatlock / Victorian Society

The list also includes the former gothic and dramatic Bavaria Place police station in Bradford, the Baroque Darlington Street Methodist Church in Wolverhampton, the Plas Alltran medical practice in Holyhead, the Northgate Malt House building in Newark-on-Trent. , the Bracebridge pumping station in Worksop and the offices of the former Prudential Assurance Company in Oldham.

Company president Griff Rhys Jones said the list was “heartbreaking and illuminating.” “Look at these fascinating survivors of history: hospitals and theaters, pump stations and police stations, insurance bureaus and glorious pubs,” he said.

Although the Victorians designed with “vim and panache,” he said, many Victorian gems had a “depressing recent history.” “Often profit takes priority and buildings are neglected until they have reached a state of complete abandonment.”

Surgery by doctor Plas Alltran in Holyhead

Surgery by Doctor Plas Alltran in Holyhead. Photograph: Victorian Society

Calling for these historic monuments to be preserved, restored and redeveloped, especially in these times when cities and town centers are fading, Rhys Jones said: “These buildings were constructed with great skill and they brighten up their urban environment. ”

Joe O’Donnell, director of the Victorian Society, said, “Homeowners should bring them to market at a realistic price. Finding new uses for these wonderful Victorian and Edwardian buildings is important not only for their architectural merit, but also for maintaining a sense of local belonging and identity. Taking care of the buildings we already have, rather than demolishing them unnecessarily, should be at the heart of an ecological recovery from Covid-19. “


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