Victorian pumping station among 175 heritage sites deemed at risk in England

Many sites have been saved but King Arthur’s Great Halls and 12th-century Malmesbury Abbey remain vulnerable

King Arthur’s Great Halls in Tintagel, a 12th-century Benedictine abbey and a steam-powered Victorian pumping station are among 175 heritage sites deemed at risk this year.

Meanwhile 233 sites have been removed from Historic England’s annual “heritage at risk” register. Many have been saved as a result of rescue efforts by volunteers, community groups, charities and local councils, with £8.6m in repair grants awarded by Historic England, the public body that looks after the historic environment.

A total of 4,919 sites – including buildings, places of worship, parks and gardens, battlefields and wrecks – are on the at risk register for 2022.

King Arthur’s Great Halls, Fore Street, Tintagel, Cornwall.
King Arthur’s Great Halls, Fore Street, Tintagel, Cornwall. Photograph: James O Davies/Historic England

The Grade II* listed Great Halls in Tintagel, Cornwall, a place closely associated with the legend of King Arthur, need major repairs. The halls, built between 1927 and 1933, contain 73 Arts and Crafts stained glass windows by the artist Veronica Whall that are considered among the finest examples still intact.

Ten oil paintings by William Hatherell telling the story of King Arthur and his knights were specially commissioned for the building.

The Great Halls were designed as the headquarters of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table and embody the principles of knighthood, chivalry and honour in their architecture, fittings and decoration, Historic England said.

The building, constructed from local stone, and its interiors are at risk due to the deterioration of the roofs, which is allowing water into the building. The street frontage and roof were perilously close to structural failure and have been repaired recently, leaving almost no resources to complete the urgent roof works.

Aerial view from the south of Malmesbury Abbey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
Aerial view from the south of Malmesbury Abbey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Photograph: Steven Baker/The Historic England Archive, Historic England

The leaking roofs of Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire, which was founded in the seventh century but whose oldest surviving fabric dates from the 12th century, need repair. Its south porch, a “masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture”, is also vulnerable, Historic England said.

The upkeep of the abbey, which receives 65,000 visitors a year, “poses a significant challenge”. The last major repairs were carried out in 1903.

England’s only Victorian pumping station that retains all its original features has suffered age-related deterioration. Built in gothic revival style, Papplewick pumping station in Nottingham has been a museum since 1976. Images of fish and water lilies decorate the tiles and stained glass window of its steam-powered engine house.

Rockingham Kiln (also called Waterloo Kiln), Blackamoor Road, Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Rockingham Kiln (also called Waterloo Kiln), Blackamoor Road, Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Photograph: Alun Bull/Historic England Archive

Rockingham Kiln in Rotherham, South Yorkshire once produced lavish porcelain ornaments and dinner services for royalty and aristocracy. The condition of the bottle-shaped building, now Grade II* listed, is declining because of its age and lack of use.

Among the sites deemed no longer at risk are two sections of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland and Cumbria, Keppel’s Column, a 115ft Georgian folly in Rotherham, and the Grade I listed Jacobean Boston Manor House in Hounslow, which has been restored and will re-open to the public in the coming months.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, the heritage minister, said the heritage at risk register “plays a vital role in our ongoing mission to protect and preserve our rich heritage across the country”.

Duncan Wilson, the chief executive of Historic England, said: “With the help of local communities and partners, imaginative thinking and business planning, we can bring historic places back to life.”


Harriet Sherwood Arts and culture correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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