SAVE’s V&A shows: 40th for ‘Destruction of the Country House’

2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark ‘Destruction of the Country House’ exhibition at the V&A, which led to the founding of SAVE Britain’s Heritage in the following year, and to celebrate this SAVE is helping mount a dual exhibition at the V&A during the London Design Festival (September 13 – 21) which will continue at the museum until October 27th.

SAVE writes:
Since then SAVE has been directly and indirectly involved with saving a large number of country houses throughout the country.

To celebrate this SAVE is helping mount a dual exhibition at the V&A during the London Design Festival (September 13 – 21) which will continue at the museum until October 27th. The two exhibits have been sponsored by Gallery Sienna – friends and supporters of SAVE – and will be accompanied by a series of events.??The exhibits at the V&A comprise a display by Marcus Binney, SAVE’s Executive President, entitled ‘Country House, Past, Present and Future’ – a documentary on both lost and saved country houses.

This new display echoes the original exhibition’s ‘Hall of Destruction’, presenting a cascade of the finest lost country houses. Alongside it highlights the story of many others rescued from demolition and decay and adapted to sympathetic new uses. It also looks back to the 1974 exhibition, its impact including massive press coverage which led to the founding of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, and a deeper national appreciation of the value these historic structures represent.

The other exhibit will be the world’s first 12K Sculptural Video Art Triptych entitled ‘Breathless Beauty, Broken Beauty’ created by artist film maker VanessaJane Hall. This immersive audio visual work takes the observer on an atmospheric journey exploring the glory and the agony of the English country house.

Marking 40 years since the V&A’s 1974 ‘Destruction of the Country House’ exhibition.

The 1974 exhibition was curated by John Harris, Marcus Binney and Peter Thornton for Roy Strong, then Director of the V&A.??This new display echoes the original exhibition’s ‘Hall of Destruction’, presenting a cascade of the finest lost country houses. Alongside it highlights the story of many others rescued from demolition and decay and adapted to sympathetic new uses.?It also looks back to the 1974 exhibition, its impact including massive press coverage which led to the founding of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, and a deeper national appreciation of the value these historic structures represent. 

For more information please contact Mike Fox at SAVE on 0207 253 3500/


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Welsh Government supports eco centre in converted school

A former Pencader school is to be transformed into a centre for sustainable technology, including training opportunities for apprentices and school children and a showcase of opportunities for businesses and householders to become involved in sustainability initiatives.

The Welsh Government writes:
An old school building at Pencader, Carmarthenshire, is undergoing a mammoth £500,000 transformation with support from Welsh Government to become a unique training and demonstration centre where an extensive range of sustainable green technologies can be seen in operation.

The Hen Ysgol centre is set to be one of the greenest buildings in the country with the technologies in use and on show throughout the building. Earlier this year the project attracted the attention of Channel 4’s Restoration Man with one episode celebrating the £67,500 grant from the Wales Economic Growth Fund that supports five new jobs.

The technologies that have been installed include: underfloor heating,  PV roof panels, solar thermal panels, air to air pumps, air to water pumps, low energy lighting, low energy pumps, permeable paving, a green roof, internal and external wall insulation, double and triple glazing, rain water harvesting, a Bio-digestive tank, multi-fuel wood burning fires and stoves, biomass, to include pellet and log gasification units. All these technologies are linked together with the intelligent buffer tank to provide hot water and central heating on demand at a fraction of the cost of the mainstream fuels.

Hen Ysgol, will be the new operations centre for Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters Ltd (PECs), a business founded by Jayne and Ian Hall-Edwards who have re-trained in the installation of green technologies and diversifying with a focus now firmly on eco friendly systems.

Jayne explained: ‘The grant support from the Welsh Government was vital in taking our project forward and used towards installing a range of green technologies and also enabled us to take on four apprentices.’

Economy Minister Edwina Hart visited the site today (Tuesday August 19) to see how work is progressing.  The Minister said ‘It is an extremely interesting project and I am pleased the Wales Economic Growth Fund made an important contribution. It is not only bringing an historic building back into use but ensures it will continue to play a part in the life of the local community, offering training opportunities, helping to create and secure jobs and provide educational experiences for local school children.’

The large showroom and salesroom will enable home owners and businesses to see the technologies in action before buying, while working ‘child friendly’ models will be displayed throughout to help school children understand and learn in a safe environment.

Jayne added: ‘We aim to raise awareness of what is available, savings that can be made and which technologies can be linked with customers’ existing primary heat source. They will be able to see a range of working displays such as solar photovoltaic and rain water harvesting, where they will be able to push a button and see them work. A large underfloor heating pod display will show the various types of underfloor heating available, where people will be able to take off their shoes and feel the difference in temperature by standing on the various floor coverings.’

In addition to supplying and installing the systems they plan to run a range of accredited training courses providing a residential package using local B&B operators and sourcing food locally to bring additional benefits to the local community. The company employs eleven people, including four apprentices, with opportunities for additional employment as the business – which has a full order book well into next year – grows.

Welsh Government article 

IHBC newsblogs on sustainability

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Newcastle wins approval for Reg. 7 direction on ‘to let’ signs

A regulation 7 direction has been granted to Newcastle City Council, to control the visual effect of housing ‘to let’ boards in popular residential areas.

Newcastle City Council writes:
Newcastle City Council has successfully applied to the Government for a Regulation 7 direction, effectively banning lettings boards in areas of the city including Jesmond, Heaton and Sandyford. Intrusive ‘To Let’ boards that spoil popular areas will need advertisement consent from January in several neighbourhoods across Newcastle.  Landlords and lettings agents now have three months to take down ‘To Let’ signs or face court action and fines of up to £2,500.

Cabinet member for Investment and Development Cllr Ged Bell said: ‘The council has tried for a number of years to reduce the amount of lettings boards in certain areas of the city, even introducing a voluntary code for landlords.

‘Residents tell us that too many boards spoil areas and negatively affect house prices, particularly in areas like Jesmond and Sandyford that often contain student households.

‘We are very pleased the Planning Inspector agrees with us that we need more powers to take firmer action against landlords and letting agents who pepper our streets with these intrusive ‘to let’ boards.

‘This Regulation 7 direction gives us the power to take enforcement action against a significant minority and address an issue which is a persistent concern for residents in some of our most densely populated neighbourhoods.

‘We realise this is a big change for some local businesses, so we are giving them a three month window to get used to the new direction and remove any boards.’

The council’s new powers begin in January 2015 and will remain in place for an indefinite period of time.

IHBC newsblogs on street clutter 

View the press release

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Dismantling of Battersea Power Station chimneys begins: pic!

To document progress the redevelopment of the historic Battersea Power Station in London, an image has been revealed of the in-progress dismantling process on the facility’s chimneys.

Designboom writes:
The photo offers a striking vantage point, located at the upper height of the tall stacks and looking out toward the river Thames and the expansive cityscape.  The process is projected to take two years in total, with work beginning on the facility’s southwest tower as clearly seen in the image above.

Serving as iconic elements in the city’s skyline, the chimneys are being taken down to allow for the construction of new and structurally stable replacements. After years of existence and weathering, the concrete stacks have deteriorated and exist in a bad state of repair, posing potential safety risks with major cracked surfaces and exposed steel reinforcing.  The decision to dismantle and rebuild the structures was reached in agreement with the English Heritage and London Borough of Wandsworth.

In expressing the significance of the towering concrete stacks, the chief operating officer of Battersea Power Station development company, Phil Gullett, states, ‘the four iconic chimneys are not only one of the most distinctive features of the London skyline, they are the very DNA of this historical building.  After years of research and independent reports confirming this is the best strategy, we are now at the stage where the process of dismantling them and rebuilding them is underway and that means they are certain to be safeguarded for future generations.

The dismantling process begins at the upper level of each tower, with a working platform slowly moving downward as it progresses. debris is transported down a central funnel, and intended for re use or conservation in the project’s legacy program. Following, a new rig will be assembled for the rebuilding of each chimney.  The procedure places new reinforcing and concrete, staged in sections of 1.2 meters in height, and will result in structurally stable stacks identical to the originals. 

The redevelopment project includes an extensive seven phase process, with mixed-use facilities designed by architects Frank Gehry and Norman Foster.

For more information and images of the site’s future plans see Designboom website and article

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Museum plans for Birmingham’s Municipal Bank and Great Barr Hall

Two of Birmingham’s most ‘at risk’ landmark buildings are set to be saved as a brand new museum, which could become a major tourist attraction.

Birmingham Post writes:
The Birmingham Municipal Bank, in Broad Street, is set to be transformed into a Museum of World Religions, which will bring the city’s diverse faiths together under one roof.

Also earmarked for restoration is the stately Great Barr Hall, which has been derelict for the last 30 years.

This would be a place of contemplation and host religious arts and music festivals. If developed, the visitor attraction would stand as a Western equivalent of the Museum of World Religions in Taipei.

Birmingham, with its diverse range of faiths, is seen as an ideal location for the museum and a committee of faith leaders, academics and experts was set up in 2010 to develop the idea.

Now, they have earmarked the two historic buildings as the best places to develop their proposals and negotiations with the buildings’ owners, architects and investors have started.

Birmingham City Council, which owns the Municipal Bank, told the Post it was sympathetic to the museum proposal if it could be developed into a workable plan.

In its vision statement, the committee said Birmingham had a rich history as a forward-thinking city which welcomed people of all faiths from the early non-conformist Christian groups such as Baptists, Methodists and Quakers and the Jewish communities in the 18th century through to the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities as well as black Christian Churches which arrived in the 20th century.

More recently, there has been wide inter-faith co-operation on areas like religious education and the creation of a city faith map and these have led directly to the Museum of World Religions project…

Earlier this year, a planning application was submitted to Walsall Council for the conversion of the 18th century mansion, once home to the Scott Family, into a leisure spa and hotel complex, with proposals for 57 homes in the surrounding grounds. But this has not yet been approved.

Birmingham post article

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‘Pompeii of the North’ for sale by church

A Roman dig site in County Durham dubbed ‘the Pompeii of the North’ has been put up for sale, as Binchester Roman Town, at Bishop Auckland, has been put on the market by the group managing the Church of England’s property portfolio.

The BBC writes:
Auckland Castle Trust has submitted a £2m offer in a bid to prevent it ‘falling into the hands of developers’.

A number of discoveries have been made at the site, including a bath house and an altar dedicated to a Roman goddess. 

One of 10 plots of land put up for sale by the Church Commissioners around Bishop Auckland, it has been separated into two lots.

The trust is bidding to buy both and said its offer is ‘being considered’.

It is currently leased to Durham County Council and the trust fears developers could restrict public access to the site or limit archaeological digs.

Chairman Jonathan Ruffer said: ‘Binchester must be secured by someone who has a heart for Bishop Auckland and a deep understanding of the site’s importance in a national and international context.’

Trust chief executive David Ronn warned ‘the opportunity to bring the whole under one responsible owner and occupier and provide improved access and understanding of the site would be lost’ if the sites are sold to different developers.

Dr David Petts, lecturer in archaeology at Durham University, has called Binchester ‘one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in Britain’.

BBC news

Independent article

Church of England article

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Grade II Listed cob walled home collapses

The Exmouth Journal has reported on the collapse of a listed cob walled thatched cottage in the village of East Budleigh.

Yahoo online news also reported that the building had scaffolding poles which had either been removed, or collapsed, and featured dramatic images of the property.

Exmouth Journal article 

Yahoo news article

Devon Historic Buildings Trust guidance on care and repair of cob buildings

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Southwark’s CIL draft charging schedule challenged

Southwark Council has this week been criticised for its planned Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule and zones.

Planning Portal writes:
‘An independent examiner has voiced concerns about the evidence provided by Southwark Council in support of its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) draft charging schedule (DCS).  The London borough has been told that the evidence was ‘insufficiently robust to show that the CIL is set at a level that will not put the overall development of the borough at risk’.

Search the Planning Portal

IHBC newsblogs on CIL

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New guidance for contaminated land grants

Additional guidance and new application forms have been released this week by the Environment Agency and DEFRA on the contaminated land capital projects (CLCP) programme.

Members may be interested to learn of the new prioritisation scheme, where a four tier priority programme has been developed:

  • Priority 1 urgent remediation
  • Priority 2 – Completion of ongoing remedial treatment schemes
  • Priority 3 – Starting remedial treatment schemes on existing projects
  • Priority 4 – Completion of other ongoing schemes by exception

Section 3.2.1. of the guidance states that ‘The Government’s aim.. is to move away from discrete grants which can only be used for a specified purpose, instead allowing authority’s flexibility to use their funding efficiently and achieve the best possible value in delivering outcomes’

Read more about the guidance

View additional application forms and information 

IHBC newsblogs on grants and funding

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IHBC SE Branch free CPD seminar: ‘War Memorials’, Wed 10 Sept

IHBC SE event image

The South East (SE) Branch of the IHBC is hosting a free CPD seminar on the evening of Wednesday 10 September, with an illustrated talk by Amy Davidson, Conservation Officer with the War Memorials Trust, entitled ‘War Memorials: Their history, protection and conservation’.

This free talk will take place at 7 pm on 10 September at the Westerham Village Hall

Download details HERE

SE Branch 

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IHBC SE Day School & AGM: ‘Historic Buildings in C21’ – 10 Oct


The IHBC’s South East (SE) Branch is holding its Day School and AGM at Farnham on 10 October, on the topic of ‘Historic Buildings in the 21stCentury, Learning from the past and planning for the future’.

The SE Branch writes that this is…:
An opportunity to get an insight into approaches to adapting the historic environment to modern requirements including historic buildings, structures and streetscapes.  The day will comprise a series of talks in the morning followed by the SE Branch AGM and a buffet lunch. In the afternoon there will be a series of walks in Farnham, including the grounds of the Grade 1 Listed Farnham Castle, now used as conference and wedding venue, including the Castle exhibition and Keep.

Cost, including lunch: £40 IHBC members, £45 non-members.

Bookings can be made via Clare Dales Email:, telephone: 01892 602558

Download programme and booking details HERE

IHBC SE Branch

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