The Dorman long tower, built in the 1950s, on the former steelworks in Redcar was demolished yesterday after its listed status was rescinded by the new Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries. The 56 metre high tower had been used to store coal. It was saved from demolition last year when Historic England granted it Grade II listed status, as it was considered to be of national importance as “a rare surviving remnant of the coal, iron and steel industries”, as well a monument to Teesside’s industrial past. This was Dorries’ first intervention since becoming Culture Secretary last week and it is to be hoped that she does not intend to make a habit of it.
It is a sad indictment of our times that there has to be a Heritage At Risk Register. Historic England battles valiantly to save listed buildings and its notable successes have included Wilton’s Music Hall, London, Liverpool’s former Royal Insurance Building and Kelham Island Conservation Area in Sheffield. In the last year, 181 sites were removed from the register thanks to restoration and renovation projects funded by grants from Historic England totalling £8.96m. These include Newington Green Meeting House in Hackney, St Mary’s Church in Guildford and Cadbury Castle in Somerset.
Sadly, these success stories are counterbalanced by the addition this year of 216 sites to the register, including the Ragged School Museum in Tower Hamlets and Madeira Terrace in Brighton. This year’s pandemic will, no doubt, lead to an even greater swelling of numbers of locations on the list, as resources become even more straitened for everyone.
You can check out sites near to you on the Historic England website and maybe see what you can do to help? https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/heritage-at-risk/search-register/
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