Thursday 10 July 2008

London buildings at risk

Heritage at Risk is now online. English Heritage's new project is a list of heritage sites in danger; they hope that identifying them may be the first step to preserving them. You can download a guide to your region, choose a theme such as 'shipwrecks at risk', or make a more detailed search. You'll find a lot more than buildings: there are battlefields, monuments, drinking fountains, and even bollards! Of course, I immediately searched for my local area, and even in that relatively small bit of London the register has a range of sites from the world-famous to the very humble.

The Cutty Sark is an obvious piece of heritage at risk, especially since the fire, but thankfully a major conservation project is underway. At the other end of the spectrum, although I'd often noticed the rather sad-looking building mouldering away at 227 Deptford High Street, it's hardly likely to be in anyone's tourist guide. Thanks to the register, I now know that it's a house, shop and bakehouse built in 1792 for baker Thomas Palmer. Just the sort of historic building that gets ignored, but is so crucial to the character of our high streets.

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