Change on the high street How urban retailing is adapting Government funding programmes What’s next for the Broadmarsh No 171 March 2022 Institute of Historic Building Conservation
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Change on the high street How urban retailing is adapting Government funding programmes What’s next for the Broadmarsh No 171 March 2022 Institute of Historic Building Conservation C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 1 www.ihbc.org.uk @IHBCtweet Registered as a charity in England and Wales number 1061593 and in Scotland number SC041945. Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England number 3333780. Registered Office: Jubilee House, High Street, Tisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6HA Officers President Mike Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org Chair David McDonald, email@example.com Vice Chair Lone Le Vay, firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary Jo Evans, email@example.com Treasurer Jill Kerry, firstname.lastname@example.org National Office Director Seán O’Reilly, email@example.com Operations Director Fiona Newton, firstname.lastname@example.org Consultations Coordinator email@example.com Membership Services Officer Carmen Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org Professional Services Officer Michael Netter, email@example.com Administration Officer Lydia Porter, firstname.lastname@example.org Committee Chairs Policy Roy Lewis, email@example.com Membership & Ethics Andrew Shepherd, firstname.lastname@example.org Education ChrisWood, email@example.com Communications & Outreach Dave Chetwyn, firstname.lastname@example.org Branch Contacts North email@example.com NorthWest firstname.lastname@example.org Yorkshire email@example.com West Midlands firstname.lastname@example.org East Midlands email@example.com South firstname.lastname@example.org SouthWest email@example.com East Anglia firstname.lastname@example.org South East email@example.com London firstname.lastname@example.org Scotland email@example.com Wales firstname.lastname@example.org Northern Ireland email@example.com Republic of Ireland firstname.lastname@example.org Rest of theWorld email@example.com Cover: A computergenerated image fills the windows of a vacant highstreet unit. See page 13. (Photo: Rob Cowan) 2 Briefing 5 Out of Context 6 Climate change and heritage 7 Periodically 10 The writer’s voice 13 Editorial 14 All change on the high street Allison Orr and JamesWhite 18 Heritage on the high street Will Holborow and ArchieWilliams 21 From the ruins of Nottingham Broadmarsh Clive Fletcher 24 Sensory and emotional histories of the high street Lucy Faire and Denise McHugh 28 Neighbourhood plans and heritage Dave Chetwyn 30 Glasgow’s journey to 2030 Brian Evans 35 Cemetourism: bringing life to burial grounds Alexandra Fairclough 39 The restoration of Thiepval Jon Gedling 41 Landownership in England in1909 Anthea Jones 44 Notes from the chair 46 Director’s cut 48 New members 49 Vox pop 51 New member profile 52 Book reviews 56 Inter alia 57 Products and services 60 Specialist suppliers index
Editor Rob Cowan Editorial Coordinator Michael Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Board Tom Copp Nigel Crowe Peter de Figueiredo (book reviews) Rebecca Madgin Andrew McClelland Fiona Newton Louise Priestman Gordon Sorensen Jonathan Taylor Michael Taylor (chair) Cartoons by Rob Cowan Context is distributed to all members of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. © Institute of Historic Building Conservation 2022 ISSN 0958-2746 Publisher Cathedral Communications Limited, High Street, Tisbury,Wiltshire, England SP3 6HA 01747 871717 email@example.com www.buildingconservation.com Non-member subscriptions to Context Context is available to corporate bodies at an annual subscription rate, including postage, of: United Kingdom £60.00 Elsewhere £90.00 Context on-line archive Past issues of Context can be viewed on the IHBC website. The archive provides a searchable database and reference for key articles. See www.ihbc.org.uk/page55/ context_archive. The views expressed in Context are not necessarily held by the IHBC or the publisher. Neither the publisher nor the IHBC shall be under any liability whatsoever in respect of contributed articles. We gratefully acknowledge the support of firms whose advertisements appear throughout this publication.While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this issue of Context is current and correct, neither the IHBC nor the publisher can be held responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur. Context themes and copy deadlines Context is published four times a year in March, June, September and December. The next three themes and copy deadlines are: Regulations and codes, June, issue 172 (8 April) Diversity, September, issue 173 (8 July) The IHBC at 25, December, issue 174 (7 October) Please contact Michael Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any editorial submissions or for information about the Context editorial board. 2 C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 Briefing Bristol’s forgotten architect A local architect has rewritten the history of Bristol’s Temple Meads railway station by discovering that its architect was Bristolian. Research by conservation architect David Martyn has attributed the Victorian Joint Station building to a local man, Henry Lloyd. The Victorian gothic-revival station building attached to Brunel’s old terminus had previously been thought to be by the London architect Matthew Digby Wyatt. The research, published by the Bristol Industrial Archaeology Society, details the story of the virtually unknown architect. Temple Meads Joint station was funded by the Great Western Railway, Midland Railway, and Bristol and Exeter Railway, who all shared cramped facilities in Brunel’s original station buildings. The new station, begun in 1874, more than doubled the capacity of the old building, creating the station much as it is known today. Matthew Digby Wyatt had worked with Brunel on Paddington Station. Martyn believes that attributions to him since the 1950s have been groundless. ‘The chief engineer on the project, Francis Fox, was clear who was responsible for the architectural designs, but Lloyd was quickly forgotten. Lloyd’s final bill for design work was £500, a huge sum, but his claim was rejected by the station committee and he sank into obscurity.’ Lloyd was responsible for other buildings in the city, including terraces on Victoria Square. He also designed Exeter St David’s railway station with Francis Fox. The rebuilding of Temple Meads station reunited the two men a decade later. Pivotal to the new discovery have been original drawings from the Brunel Institute, at the SS Great Britain. Bristol Temple Meads is currently undergoing a £10.2 million refurbishment and David Martyn hopes that Lloyd might be commemorated when the restored building is unveiled. Bristol Joint Station in a Victorian photo taken a short time after completion (Photo: David Martyn)
C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 3 The IHBC after IHBC@COP26 Seán O’Reilly writes: David Lovie, speaking to our members and colleagues on ‘Skills in community engagement’ at the IHBC’s 2013 School in Carlisle, offered yet another characteristic combination of the understated and the profound with his take on a critical practice area for the IHBC: dealing with complex problems and challenges. David, for so many pre-eminent in the history of the IHBC, was speaking to skilled professionals no less than community volunteers. He offered sound and practical suggestions on embedding heavysounding competences – ‘resource programming skills’ – into the real world of conservation. Unsurprisingly, David’s Lovie-esque pitch was framed around accessible advice on how to approach apparently insurmountable challenges: ‘get the ducks in a row’ before dealing with each one in turn. In Context 131 (September 2013) David makes the point that ‘Hard-pressed conservation professionals are being asked to support community and voluntary organisations in new contexts, but some of the basic skills remain the same.’ Encouraging a focus on lining up ‘ducks’ as ‘targets’, the approach is as universal as it might be. Indeed, since his talk I have retitled the approach in my own mind as ‘ducking’. The complexities of engaging with the conservation-friendly agendas of COP26 are embedded in the global phenomenon called, Sovietstyle, a ‘Conference of Parties’. That phenomenon is a mystery to most. Planning an engagement strategy for a peripherally-viewed (if structurally core) COP consideration such as ‘built and historic environment conservation’ is not just complex, but fractally so. Engagement challenges and problems in confronting a COP – not least simply estimating costs and benefits – are at once reduced and magnified even for a COP, all becomes somehow more manageable when laid out in their separate stages or parts, as ‘ducks’. Once recognised, the patterns simplify, as David’s ‘ducking’ approach once again offers a viable approach, even if, as related below, it can not guarantee success across the board. It is worth emphasising the huge scale of the challenge of participation, as that was why so many heritage bodies simply – and reasonably – stood aside from promoting their own core agenda at COP26, however relevant. Others restricted their engagement to partnering. Others did the best they could to inform the policy behemoth of the COP. For COP26, the IHBC, tentatively at first and over the summer, leaned towards at least trying to supplement our familiar (and, if needed, ‘back-stop’) partnering approach, notably working through BEFS, the Heritage Alliance and Climate Heritage Network as the more obvious lead link bodies. Inspired by David’s ‘ducking’ strategy, however, we also looked to devise an integrated, proactive approach that could complement these partnerships while offering stronger engagement opportunities. To start, exploring ‘stronger engagement opportunities’ was less about getting the ducks set up in a row than figuring out the difference between the duck and the shoot. In the end, just less than eight weeks before COP26 commenced. A virtual format was obvious, as clearly such an approach was well-suited to a pandemic and to our low- or no-cost priorities. That was framed around the IHBC@ COP26 Helpdesk+ service that could offer a low-effort but hugely flexible platform. As a service, supported by ready access to our technical advisers, we knew that this could accommodate the remarkable diversity of rapidly changing offerings and partnerships that were soon to be generated. The model proved to be a success, and as our first duck in the row it was also the biggest one, a simple public helpdesk. Even then its design as a ‘virtual’ platform faced some apparently insurmountable challenges. These were eventually resolved, sometimes with some remarkably simple solutions. For example, to make service access as easy as possible for all users and partners, the entire IHBC@COP26 Helpdesk+ service was hosted simply as a single Zoom meeting. That first duck was the perfect solution for us: cheap; outwardlooking, as a public helpdesk; partnership-focused, which was the ‘+’ in the title, to accommodate all users; and it could host our own evolving offerings as easily as those of partners. Its success as a flexible sector hub was confirmed by the wide array of programme features still captured on the archived web page. These range from the core helpdesk service (accessible online from 3 pm to 8 pm every day of the COP) to publicly accessible meetings with, as a special highlight, the SPAB and Marianne Suhr on next steps for their Old House Project. The programme also included public talks and presentations, features and even tours – BEFS offering an exemplary and, for us, enlightening approach,
4 C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 How ‘Conserving our Places Conserves our Planet’ A summary of the IHBC’s key messages to COP26 (from ‘Some observations on moving forward after COP26’) Sustainable Historic buildings and places, including historic gardens and landscapes, constitute non-renewable resources. Their conservation is a key component of our sustainable future. Care Conserving buildings and structures (which includes their care and maintenance) controls the carbon already captured in their construction and minimises the climate-unfriendly waste of demolition and landfill. Repair Repairing, caring for and adapting existing buildings encourages lowcarbon traditional construction practices, skills and materials, reducing the need for carbonheavy concrete, steel and new-build materials and their associated transport and production impacts. Adaptation Adapting existing structures to suitable new uses typically is the best way to offer low-carbon, climate-friendly and environmentally sensitive new facilities and places, as many construction awards testify. Nature As with caring for gardens and landscapes, traditional design and materials – from eaves overhanging walls that encourage nesting birds to earth construction – support the natural environment and encourage biodiversity. Community Historic and traditional places are inherently sustainable, being designed to facilitate pedestrian and other low-carbon traffic, all of which also brings health, well-being, social and community benefits. See the full text at https://tinyurl.com/mpnxvu5c via a recording – and the highlight from the IHBC, our own suite of Climate and Conservation podcasts. That success was not a surprise. We knew that the virtual platform could successfully and costeffectively offer the Helpdesk+ service because of the lessons from the IHBC’s learning-led MarketPlace platform, developed for the 2021 Brighton school and also now under way for Aberdeen in 2022. Even the MarketPlace guidance could be adapted as guidance for ‘feature’ hosts on the service, such as our Scotland branch chair MarkWatson, and volunteer hosts, notably the stellar Stella Südekum, who bravely responded to the NewsBlog call for volunteers to help host the Helpdesk, joining our chair, David McDonald, as the mainstay of our volunteering officers over the COP fortnight. As the IHBC never was among in the elite ‘zonal’ network at the COP, our access to the public outside our own networks had to be through the COP’s own ‘fringe’. Sadly, that part of our ducking plans did not match the final reality, as the sort of hugely accessible fringe familiar from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that had been anticipated was not on offer. That said, while the wider targeting of the public was derailed by circumstances, even then the Helpdesk+, as representing the IHBC@COP26, succeeded beyond all expectations. The IHBC’s own unique duck offerings were represented most emphatically by the podcasts, as noted: our network-focused initiative that, for public reach, used supplementary tools such as Google ads, Spotify, Amazon Music and more.Well documented across our web pages and NewsBlogs, the podcasts will also feature in our forthcoming Yearbook, with a notice by our professional services officer, Michael Netter, who led on all aspects of that remarkable achievement. A less prominent duck – although, for us, no less significant and experimental – was the development of a COP-aligned public face to our own conservation planning principles. This entailed a rapid recast of our existing guidance to create a fleet but sound hybrid of advocacy and guidance on the potential of our take on conservation at the COP, designed to be publicly-focused, while also rooted in the messages that should have been at the heart of COP26. That duck was inspired by the need for further clarification on the IHBC@COP26’s summary strapline Conserving our Places Conserves our Planet, which itself wryly offered a rhythmic take on the COP’s own acronym. That guidance looked to our recent briefing note on sustainability (which was led by trustees Roy Lewis and Crispin Edwards) to underpin an avowedly popular, even populist, offering to explain just why the IHBC’s conservation conserves the planet. That Helpdesk+ statement on How Conserving our Places Conserves our Planet was distinguished most by the rapidity of its production. It was conceived and drafted on 28 October, reviewed from the next morning, and designed, signed off and posted online in time for the public launch of the COP26 on Monday 1 November. The tie between policy and communications has long been one of our greatest challenges, and among the most inspiring ones too. It has spurred some of our greatest successes: the ToolBox (developed to offer counterpoint to potentially damaging heritage-linked policies); the Conservation Places and People All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) (to respond similarly across political and public agendas); the NewsBlogs and Conservation Wiki (integrated news services for members and networks, linking IHBC messages within wider news interests); and much more. That history is the background to our COP26 paper. Since then we have refined it, with further recasts planned. As for the future of the IHBC@COP26, we can be confident that the achievements and lessons learned there have established a firm foundation for even more innovative approaches in the near future. Seán O’Reilly, email@example.com
C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 5 ‘WE ARE committed to the faithful reinstatement of the Mackintosh Building within the practical constraints of the regulatory environment, as an integral part of the Glasgow School of Art, as a catalyst and key driver for the social and economic revival of Garnethill and Glasgow, and as an exemplar of sustainability for heritage buildings.’ Penny Macbeth, director of the Glasgow School of Art, and Kristen Bennie, interim chair of the GSA board of governors, commenting after the publication of the fire service’s report on the 2018 fire at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s School of Art ‘PLANNING for a 21st-century building and fire regulations did not form part of Mackintosh’s creative agenda. Moreover, the other elements that made his masterwork so brilliant, the sweeping entrance staircase through the foyer then up on to the open first-floor gallery; the double-height studios with open-access corridors; open staircases either end; double-height landings and innovative plenum system could not be replicated without much compromise. ‘It is clear that the Mac can not be replicated. Instead, any future “faithful reinstatement” has to be undertaken with absolute sensitivity and expertise. The Mac must remain a working building that meets the needs of a contemporary art school, and combines the new with all of the original structure that can be saved, [respecting] Mackintosh’s unique legacy.’ Glasgow architect Alan Dunlop responding to the fire service report ‘ACHIEVING the functional requirements at low level in such a constrained space has been done with consummate skill but would not quite outweigh the harm through loss of highly valued public open space and substantial intrusions into … the setting to the Gherkin. …The concept of beauty or otherwise for this appeal is in the eye of the beholder and any further discussion is unlikely to be helpful.’ From the planning inspector’s report recommending refusal of the Tulip proposal on the grounds of its embodied carbon emissions and the impact it would have on the Tower of London and other heritage assets ‘LITTLE more than a concrete lift shaft with a viewing gallery at the top.’ London mayor Sadiq Khan on Foster and Partners’ proposed Tulip in the City of London, for which the secretary of state has refused planning permission. ‘IT IS A GREAT pity that this structure, which for many years has given the island a very special place, is to be demolished. ‘The sculptural idea of the design is that of stranded “ark”, which of course can be carried on with the next flood – so the location is not so important. Certainly, I can speak for my late friend and partner Will Alsop, and myself, that we hope that La Frégate will find another place on the beautiful island of Jersey.’ Will Alsop’s former partner Jan Störmer telling the Architects’ Journal of his hopes for one of Alsop’s early works, a cafe on Jersey that is threatened with demolition. ‘‘RICHARD Rogers lobbied tirelessly but unsuccessfully for 30 years for the removal of VAT for refurb projects.We need to keep lobbying politicians for this change so that refurb becomes a more attractive proposition.’ The architect Peter Barber remembering Richard Rogers, who died in December.
6 C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 OPINION: CLIMATE CHANGE AND HERITAGE Robert Adam writes: Heritage is not physical objects or traditions in themselves, but what a community believes should represent its past. This is bound to change. Even now, in some South American countries and elsewhere, there is an ongoing reassessment of which past they believe is appropriate for national identity. There will be societal responses to both climate change and heritage. It is not just the change in climate itself that will affect heritage but how societies react to any pressure to modify or redefine it. There are various possible scenarios, from the extreme to the likely.We should not underestimate the extreme. Climate change could become such a moral imperative that we would no longer wish to identify with any past connected to energy profligacy. Despite age, ubiquity and a recognition that it was a reflection of its time, all association could be censured. This would be similar to attitudes to past slavery, which has all these characteristics. Anything associated with activities, such as coal mining or oil extraction, and anything funded by these activities, would no longer be considered worthy as heritage. The impact would be enormous. An opposite outcome, also based on severe climatic outcomes, is that social disruption and global disaster might turn communities in on themselves. Anything which reinforces identity and provides a memory of more favourable times would be held in special regard. The value of heritage would be enhanced, and new or more recent aspects of the past could become heritage. This is more likely, and would be an acceleration and extension of the current condition, where globalisation has reinforced interest in locality and tradition. A further outcome more in line with projections is a demographic move from areas degraded or with rising sea levels, to areas more amenable to settlement. This is already happening. Places affected by desertion will either be abandoned or will have to adapt. If they have a heritage value and are to survive for occupation, viable economic conditions will have to be created and consideration given to the consolidation of the population into buildings to be preserved. One consequence would be a reconsideration of how to adapt the surviving heritage. There are current discussions on whether to and how to improve the resistance to energy loss in occupied heritage. External insulation, solar panels and double or triple glazing have all been suggested, but their impact on the appearance of historic buildings can significantly alter their heritage value. There are two potential responses to this. The first is a more evolutionary, rather than preservationist view of heritage. Many buildings have been preserved at an arbitrary moment in their history, arresting a process of change that would have continued had there been no legal action to arrest it. The problem has been unsympathetic modern materials, the novelty culture of mainstream architecture and the Unesco Venice Charter principles, whereby additions have to be obvious and clearly ‘modern’. A greater tolerance of sympathetic change, whereby the character of the building is maintained, would provide opportunities for increasing energy performance without destroying or compromising the memoryvalue of the original heritage. The second potential response is to recognise the energy saving already locked in existing structures. Centuries of continued use represent a significant energy saving in relation to even a modest history of replacement. Currently, energy saving is measured in terms of savings in active energy input due to greater efficiency in energy loss. Nowhere in these calculations is there an agreed measure for the major significance of longevity and nowhere, even among those who recognise the value of future longevity, is there any credit for retrospective energy saving. While retrospective energy saving or an energy credit may be difficult to countenance with the concept of future action to moderate climate change, the principle that ‘the greenest building is the one already built’ is gaining in support. This principle will inevitably affect built heritage. We will most likely have to take a more critical and flexible view of adaptation and modification – and hence the integrity of heritage – and provide an appropriate and sympathetic architectural approach to more radical adaptation. Robert Adam is a classical and traditional architect, urban designer, author and educator with the Robert Adam Architectural Consultancy.
C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 7 Periodically C20 Catherine Croft, director of the Twentieth Century Society, has some interesting points to make about authenticity and intervention in the latest issue of C20, the magazine of the Twentieth Century Society (Issue 2022/2). The magazine features major works to two extremely different but important 20th-century buildings: the magnificent India Buildings in Liverpool and Balfron Tower in East London, both big, confident, dramatic bits of architecture. India Buildings, by Herbert J Rowse, epitomised commercial ambition and mercantile pride, while Balfron Tower is an inspirational example of public housing of the post-war period. Croft argues that in some respects the two buildings could not be more different. The first is classical in style, the second one of Britain’s best-known examples of brutalist architecture, but both were in need of restoration. The massive investment in their reuse was a cause for celebration, although in both cases the society raised objections to the developers’ proposals. What is interesting is the retrospective view, with the society asking some rigorous questions of itself, including whether their involvement had a positive impact, and whether the results were successful and worth celebrating. These are perhaps questions that many of us should ask ourselves on the completion of contentious projects with which we have been involved. Unfortunately we seem rarely to have the opportunity for such mature reflection. One issue of concern in these two cases was the amount of physical substance of the buildings to be retained (in the case of Balfron, not a lot), with implications for changes in how both buildings would be used. The society was successful in having both upgraded from Grade II to II* because of the concerns about the extent of the alterations then under discussion. In the case of India Buildings, upgrading helped the society gain a certain increase in leverage, but one major regret was that the splendid tunnel-vaulted shopping arcade is now no longer publicly accessible, notwithstanding wider benefits of HMRC deciding to locate there, bringing prosperity to the area. The Balfron project was more controversial. Croft considers it tragic that the sale of this most distinguished part of the estate (the tower itself) was felt necessary to fund the restoration of the lower blocks around it. Practically all the distinctive Grade II*- listed joinery was stripped out and replaced, undermining the environmental credentials of the project and effectively rebranding the building. The developer claimed on its website that it was a careful restoration but equally a ‘redevelopment of an Ernö Goldfinger masterpiece in east London’ – a big gap in concept between restoration and redevelopment.While Croft emphasises that the society is definitely not in favour of preservation in aspic, she predicts that posterity will see Balfron has a missed opportunity to achieve the authenticity that future generations will crave and see as fundamental to heritage projects. Association of Preservation Technology Bulletin The latest issue of the Association of Preservation Technology Bulletin (Vol LII, Nos 2–3, 2021) is a thematic one focusing on disaster mitigation and making it quite clear that under the climate emergency, the need for proper management of historic buildings will become more acute. The papers emphasise the urgency of developing more ways to protect and manage heritage assets in the face of threats of natural disaster that are becoming increasingly frequent. While three of the key articles focus on locations in Florida, what may be of interest to readers are any transferable lessons from the issues and methodologies where rising sea levels everywhere put more heritage assets and communities at risk. In her editor’s note, Diana Waite reminds us that no place is safe from natural disaster and the climate changes affect us all. Disaster mitigation plans urgently need to be put in place, with measures enacted to protect people and places
8 C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 from these ever-rising threats. A well-structured paper by Lauren Reynolds Hall on preemptive strategies and crossdisciplinary collaboration for emergency planning presents some useful lessons related to a major historic garden (Vizcaya Museum and Gardens). The author explains the history of this important garden, and indicates how vital is it is to build relationships between conservation professionals, engineers, architects and others to pre-document the site (including maintenance records) and to provide evidence of emergency protective measures taken, and she explains the immense value of photographs recording prestorm conditions. She writes that it is important to introduce training to enable and empower colleagues to be confident and proficient in undertaking annual or biannual emergency preparation and response instructions, and to capitalise on volunteer support. She points to the need to accept the realities that accompany damage as a stimulus to the numerous practical ways in which heritage professionals can help to build up resilience in emergencies. The second paper provides a counterpoint to work being undertaken by both Historic England and Historic Scotland on the question of the potential loss of heritage assets consequent on sea-level rises. Sujin Kim and Morris Hylton III have looked at sea-level rise modelling and impact assessment on historic coastal communities, concluding that there is less time to prepare than they expected. Presently the emphasis of heritage management is on resilience and addressing shortterm, temporary impacts such as storm surges. But sea-level rise will be a permanent change, adding to the hazards of intermittent flooding and weather events. The authors’ work is explained as four phases: data acquisition and processing; geo-referencing; sea-level rise monitoring and timeline visualisation; and impacted property assessment and mapping. Recent APT Bulletin articles have discussed conservation practices related to sea-level rise, and the vulnerability of individual properties and water-table monitoring. Kim and Hylton’s study demonstrates how a much more integrated approach, involving digital documentation, cultural resources using GIS and modelling processes, can inform likely impacts over a much wider area and timescale. In third paper, Sonia R Chao and Benjamin Ghansah look at storm-surge monitoring on vulnerable historic buildings. They ask (and posit some conclusions) whether properties in coastal areas will be resilient to the expected increases in extreme weather events and, if so, what the contributing determinants and attributes are. Also helpful in this issue is No 22 in the series of centre-section Practice Notes. Thomas Boothby provides valuable advice on how a reasonable assessment can be arrived at for stone or brick arches by applying general engineering principles to the specific problem of determining their loading capacity. The Victorian In TheVictorian (No 68, November 2021), Andrew Saint, the doyen of architectural historians, trails his recent book London 1870–1914 and explains the motivation behind it. One aim is to capture the extraordinary story of London’s architecture in the 40 years or so up to the first world war. He notes that progressive histories could hardly be more out of fashion these days. It was not his intention at the outset to impose such a reading on his book, which emerged out of lectures he had organised some years before and picked up again. Another aim has been to combine the rich diet of illustrations that Victorian Society lecture audiences crave with as broad a survey of London’s development and life as could be managed. In the current article, Saint summarises some of the transformative forces in London over the period, including buildings with very specific functions, such as fire stations, public libraries and board schools. In another article that joins the dots, so to speak, Philip Venning, secretary of the SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) from 1984 to 2012, looks at the years before the founding of the Victorian Society and the times when the SPAB did – and did not – take an interest in Victorian architecture. He cites several cases that perhaps today are overlooked. These include whether to take up the matter of the enlargement and reconstruction of Pugin’s chapel at Ushaw College, a Roman Catholic college in County Durham; and the widening of the late-18th-century Magdalen Bridge in Oxford (a structure only 50 years older than Pugin’s chapel VOL . L I I NO. 2–3 2021 BULLETIN The As sociat ion for Preser vat ion Technology Inter nat ional As sociat ion inter nat ionale pour la préser vat ion et ses techniques Asociación Inter nacional para la Técnicas de Conser vación del Pat r imonio T H E J O U R N A L O F P R E S E R V A T I O N T E C H N O L O G Y
C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 9 of 1881), which the committee of the SPAB considered was too modern to be campaigned against. Venning notes that today the SPAB is sometimes mistakenly thought of as the Medieval Society. Certainly William Morris interests were centred on pre-Georgian buildings. Morris seems to have believed in the Victorian era that the SPAB would survive and take up the case of later buildings (now perhaps more the remit of others). Venning notes that in News from Nowhere (1890), Morris envisages the Houses of Parliament being saved from demolition by ‘a queer antiquarian society’ – one that was so energetic and had such good reasons, that it generally gained its point. In the novel, the parliamentary buildings acquired a new purpose, being used to store manure. Currently, some might consider this quite apt. Other articles deal the relationship of the Brunel Museum to a project at the beginning of the career of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This was the construction of the Thames tunnel between 1825 and 1843, designed and built by his father Mark Brunel. Richard Holme of the Naval Dockyards Society explores the current threats to the nation’s Victorian dockyard heritage and offers some solutions. The Georgian One of the aspects of the work of the Georgian Group that is not perhaps as widely known as it should be is the annual Georgian Group Architectural Awards. In The Georgian (No 2, 2021) the chair, Peter Zisman, makes the point that Georgian buildings were conditioned by the social, economic and financial circumstances of that time, but today their preservation depends on ensuring that they reflect social, economic and financial circumstances in the 21st century. So while the Georgian Group continues to oppose inappropriate development, it still celebrates exemplary restoration and conservation projects, and the way in which these reflect the cause of the Georgian Group at large. Now in their 17th year, the awards demonstrate the vision, commitment and tenacity of owners. They are wide ranging in scope. The categories include the reuse of a Georgian building; the restoration of a Georgian garden or landscape; the restoration of a Georgian building in an urban setting; the restoration of Georgian structure or interior; the restoration of a Georgian country house; the restoration of a Georgian chapel or church; and construction of a new building in a Georgian context. All the winning and highly commended buildings are illustrated, and demonstrate the range of outstanding work recently completed. The winner of the new building category, Wolverton Hall Folly in Worcestershire, commissioned by Nicholas Coleridge and designed by Quinlan Terry Architects, graces the cover of the issue. By the time you read this it is to be hoped that the worst of the pandemic will have played itself out, but the problem of highly infection diseases is hardly new. Quarantine rules applying to travellers from abroad in 18th- and early 19th-century Britain required buildings necessary to deal with this. Some designers and clinicians’ life’s work was spent on controlling the spread of infectious diseases within buildings, as exemplified by a modest, nowderelict, mid-19th-century military hospital on the Isle of Sheppey on the Thames estuary. Listed by Historic England in 2016, this is a poignant symbol of the struggles of early Georgian pioneers to control the spread of diseases through architectural means. Worthy of note for those struggling to date box-sash windows is the fourth wellillustrated article in a series regarding the evolution and dating of historic joinery details. In this issue the subject is window shutters, once again drawn from the Charles Brooking’s architectural collection. The varying forms of shutter panels are illustrated, as are informative cross-sections as a basis for more accurate dating. This is a handy guide for future reference. For practicing conservation professionals, an ability to draw is an important accomplishment. A conversation between the Georgian Group director David Adshead and the classical architect George Saumarez Smith on the art of measured drawing is particularly interesting. It is illustrated with some of Saumarez Smith’s measured drawings from his new publication Sketchbooks: Collected Measured Drawings and Architectural Sketches. The Construction Historian It seems that few easily identifiable mistakes in the construction of historic buildings come to light without a bit of fortuitous forensic examination. In The Construction Historian (Issue 8, Winter 2021) Michael Heaton follows up the archaeological evidence he identified in 2011 of a mistake in the construction of the mid-18th-century Temple of Apollo at Stourhead, with further alterations more recently revealed during the restoration of its domed roof structure. The anomalous changes are well illustrated. Heaton writes that the builders had probably been given an outline of the building’s design but not its detail, and commenced with a composite purlin-andking-post roof truss incorporating
10 C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 two very large purlins per pitch. Their decision to try a king-post truss was probably influenced by copies of Italian roof designs that were circulating in Britain at the time. But he suggests that at one level this is simply case of incompetent builders or poor site management. At another level it is an example of vernacular builders struggling with foreign designs and a lack of supervision. This issue of The Construction Historian highlights another under-regarded historical figure:WJ Alcock (1840–1907), championed as Dover’s Greatest Builder, who had that port’s outer harbour among his credits. There is a very good article by Darren McLean on Scottish plasterwork, stemming from a 2020 collapse of a plaster ceiling in an 1890s Glasgow east end tenement. The exposed layers posed some interesting questions and led to forensic investigations (and some answers about building failures) concerning 19th-century methods and workmanship. Other short papers include one on the role of mortar makers in the middle ages; and one on the complexity of retro-fitting wooden traction beams by Philippi Brunelleschi to Florence Cathedral while he was responsible for directing (managing) construction of the cathedral and, more directly, the dome with which he is universally associated. PMC Notes For those with particularly long memories of the IHBC annual school in Llandudno 2011, and the visit to Gwydir Castle in particular, PMC Notes (No 20) from the Paul Mellon Centre [UK] has an interesting piece by Clare Taylor, a senior lecturer in art history at the Open University and a specialist on historic British interiors, on her research into the decorative furnishings of Gwydir. Taylor introduces the long understudied leather wall hangings, although she does not recount (as the IHBC members who visited were told) how the hangings were bought by William Randolph Hearst in 1921, languished in a warehouse of the Metropolitan Museum in NewYork, and finally returned to the restored dining room wing in the summer of 1998. Bob Kindred MBE From the introduction by J St Loe Strachey to Cottage Building in Cob, Pisé, Chalk and Clay by CloughWilliams-Ellis (1922) For me pisé de terre [rammed earth], ever since I heard of it, has offered special attractions. It, and it alone, provides, or if one must be cautious, appears to provide the way to turn an old dream of mine and of many other people into a reality. My connection with the problem of housing, and especially of rural housing, now nearly a quarter of a century old, has been on the side of cheap material. Rightly or wrongly, I have had the simplicity to believe that if you are to get cheap housing you must get it by the use of cheap material. It has always seemed to me that there is no other way. What more natural than first to ask why building material was so dear, and then what was the cause of its dearness? I found it in the fact that bricks are very expensive things to make, that stones are very expensive things to quarry, that cements are very expensive things to manufacture and, worst of all, that all these things are very heavy and very expensive to drag about the country, and to dump on the site in some lonely situation where cottages or a smallholder’s house and outbuildings are, to use the conventional phrase, ‘urgently demanded’… My deep desire was to find something in the earth out of which walls could be made. My ideal was a man or group of men with spades and pickaxes coming upon the land and creating the walls of a house out of what they found there. I wanted my house, my cottage in Cloud-Cuckoo Land, to rise like the lark from the furrows.
C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 11 Please reproduce the advertisement/s on this page AS IS / AS ALTERED BY ME on this page in ink, We maintain a register of architects who demonstrate skills and competency in building conservation, to protect the historic built environment E firstname.lastname@example.org T 0161 832 0666 W www.aabc-register.co.uk Independent Heritage and Planning Specialists We work on a wide spectrum of projects across all building sectors from residen�al and commercial to educa�on and ecclesias�cal. 07507734030 email@example.com www.brighterplanning.co.uk STEICO Wood Fibre Insulation Now available from High performance environmentally friendly building products from renewable sources MIKE WYE www.mikewye.co.uk 01409281644 firstname.lastname@example.org
C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 13 HIGH STREETS Opposite: A south London former shopping parade: most of the units have been converted to housing. (Photo: Rob Cowan) Editorial High streets, but not as we know them Is axe throwing compatiblewithdrinking alcohol?The question is relevant – bear with me – to the future of high streets. Axe throwing is a fairly new leisure activity that often takes place in high-street buildings which used to serve other functions. It is rather like darts: you throw a sharpmetal axe at awooden target and score points according to where it lands. In some axe-throwing venues alcohol is allowed, whereas in others the licencing authorities have refused it. The arguments in favour of serving alcohol: first, the places where axes are thrown are caged off with chain-link fencing to prevent wayward hatchets from flying into neighbouring groups; second, the behaviour of customers, and the number of drinks consumed, can be monitored by staff; third, the staff can also look out for signs of customers being drunk beforehand. The argument against combining axe-throwing with alcohol: Aaargh! A high street is the most important and liveliest shopping and commercial street of a town, or of a city district. The UK used to have thousands of them. Today many have lost much of their life and their commercial activity, mainly due to online and out-of-town shopping. Does it matter? If they are not needed for shopping, why now write them off? In many cases that will happen, but it other cases the high street has a value beyond being a place to buy things. They have a critical mass of activities with community and social value. They bring people together in ways that strengthen the links between people, and with the places where they live. Historic buildings are usually a big part of that. The buildings’ quality may inspire us; they may evoke the history of the place; they may provide accommodation of a size and quality that we could not build today; they may be well located in relation to pedestrian routes and public transport; and they may provide more flexible accommodation than the highly controlled and enclosed shopping centres that we were once told were the future of in-town retailing. IHBC members know how to manage change on the high street in ways that make the most of those historic assets. The cover of this issue of Context shows a former shop unit with a trompe l’oeil image in the window. It is an effective way of, to some extent, disguising the blankness of the frontage and suggesting how the building might be used. Done on any large scale, though, we would be in a world of Potemkin villages, as they call false facades of the type built in 1787 by Prince Potemkin to impress Catherine II of Russia – or, as some suspect, to conceal the fact that towns for which she had provided large sums of money had not been built. Avoiding such deadness will depend on imaginative thinking about what activities can replace traditional shopping on high streets. If that includes convivial axe throwing, so be it.
14 C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 ALLISON ORR and JAMES WHITE All change on the high street Research shows, not the death of the high street, but a complex picture with falling rents, more land uses, flexibility and innovation offering some hope for the future. The struggles faced by the UK retail industry are well documented. Unsustainable operating costs, ascendant online technology, changing consumer habits and the uncertainty of the pandemic have precipitated the closure of numerous well-known shops and driven a surge in vacancies on the high street and in shopping centres. However, today’s challenges are not entirely new. The retail market is dynamic and often cut-throat, and the fickle nature of consumers means that city centre retailing is always in a state of flux. What is different this time is the sheer scale of closures and redundant space.With the prospect of emerging from the pandemic, the search for innovative solutions that address this decline has become an urgent preoccupation of policymakers, landowners and other actors who have a stake in the future of our city centres. Researchers funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) at the University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield have been investigating how urban retailing centres have been adapting to changing market conditions over the past 20 years as part of a project called REPAIR (Real Estate, Place Adaptation and Innovation within an integrated Retailing system). Since 2018 we have been piecing together a series of linked datasets on landownership The refurbished 19th-century Paragon Arcade in Hull successfully specialises in independent retailing.
C O N T E X T 1 7 1 : M A R C H 2 0 2 2 15 CHANGE ON THE HIGH STREET and land use with stakeholder interviews and observations of the built environment. This has allowed us to track the significant land use and ownership changes that have occurred in five UK city centres: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Liverpool and Nottingham. In this article we reflect first on the changes occurring on the traditional high street and then within city-centre shopping centres. We argue that, despite the acceleration in vacancy rates, city-centre land uses are diversifying and new innovations are appearing all the time. Change on the high street Our research reveals that all five cities have faced similar changes on the high street to varying degrees. Across the piece, the number of retail units has contracted since 2010. Store closures, vacancies and land-use changes have tended to be greatest on the peripheral edges of the ‘prime retail pitch’ (the main shopping thoroughfare) and surrounding streets. The hardest hit retailers have been the national midmarket clothing and fashion chain stores, which have sought to reduce their occupation costs by right-sizing their corporate portfolios. The past 10 years have seen many ground floor units that once housed retailing adapt into coffee shops, restaurants and pubs, suggesting that change rather than absolute decline is taking place. Similar changes are happening above ground level. Retailers used to store their stock on the upper floors, but the need for this expensive space has waned and resulted is a trend towards residential conversion. We found that independent retailers, local operators with a small number of outlets, and service-oriented businesses, for example hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons, are becoming more established in prime and secondary retail locations due to falling rents. So too are retailers known for offering ‘experiences’, perhaps best exemplified by the Apple Store. These various operators are much happier to locate in the quirky and unique high street units than chain retailers, who find them difficult to standardise. This has required landlords to provide ‘white-boxed units’, enabling small businesses, which do not have the resources for store fit-outs, to get up and running quickly. High vacancies Size also matters. Bridlesmith Gate in Nottingham is an attractive shopping street with numerous historic properties, but it has been plagued by high vacancies. Here the problem is that many units fall below the preferred average 1,000 sq ft size. The street’s proximity to the partially demolished Broadmarsh Shopping Centre also adds to its woes, demonstrating the knock-on effect of wider city-centre challenges on retailing streets. A local property investment company has recently begun buying up the vacant units on Bridlesmith Gate and seeks to capitalise on the trend towards independent and experiential retailing. It hopes to reimagine Bridlesmith Gate as a cool destination with carefully curated fashion boutiques and coffee shops. All of the high streets we examined have lost department stores. These large multi-storey buildings have proven much harder to adapt than the smaller units now favoured by independents and experience-oriented retailers. Their sheer scale, physical depth and the cost of conversion have made repurposing difficult and expensive. However, it has not taken long for innovative proposals to emerge and fill the gap, principally Bridlesmith Gate in Nottingham had been a vibrant location for highend fashion brands, but today’s more discerning retailers are not prepared to take on smaller or poorly configured units. Unusually this former BHS store in Glasgow, empty since 2015, is to be renovated for occupation by a major food and nonfood retailer.ihbc.org.uk