Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Local “historic buildings at risk”

English Heritage, the Government body tasked with overseeing England’s historic buildings, have published its “Historic Buildings At Risk Register” which includes a number of locations in the Whickham area.

The Register lists historic buildings that are in serious need of repair or renovating to avoid their being lost for ever. The aim is, over time, to reduce the number on the Register by renovating buildings and, where appropriate, bring them into some kind of use.

Gibside Hall

The most famous building on the Register in area is Gibside Hall. Great strides have been made in bringing the gardens and landscape back into use and the recent work on restoring the stable block has received widespread recognition.

The Hall itself however remains a roofless shell and a huge amount of remedial work needs to be done to protect and retain what is there.

Ravensworth Castle

There are two sections to Ravensworth Castle: the medieval towers and courtyard; and the Nash designed nineteenth century house. The two towers are still standing and the adjacent stable block is complete but roofless. The clock tower is still standing (minus the clock!)

The Nash house was largely demolished in the 1930s (then the war halted the area’s redevelopment) and further demolitions took place in the 1950s. Only one corner of the house now remains and is in a poor state.

A feasibility study for reuse of the stables and consolidation of the castle and house has been carried out by the North of England Civic Trust.

(You can visit Jonathan Wallace’s video of Ravensworth Castle on: Ravensworth Castle)

Dunston Staithes

The structure, which formed one of the features of the National Gateshead Garden Festival in 1990 was badly damaged by a fire in November 2003 when 8% of the building was destroyed.

A conservation plan and feasibility study into the future of the Staithes was drawn up in 2006. It is hoped that repairs will be carried out and public access to created.

Axwell Hall

The 18th century John Paine house near Blaydon is now in the ownership of a developer who is carrying out work to restore the building and convert it into apartments, planning permission for which was granted in 2006.

Hollinside Manor

This fortified manor house was first recorded in 1317. Due to the isolated position, it is vulnerable to vandalism. English Heritage has offered a grant towards repair and consolidation work which is expected to begin during 2007.

We’ll keep you informed of any further news on these buildings.
Photo: Axwell Hall in 2005, now undergoing renovation and conversion into apartments.

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