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Cornwall's historic sites which are at risk of being lost forever

But some historic sites have been saved

This unique studio artist is at risk of being lost forever (Image: Historic England)

More than a thousand historic sites in the South West of England are at risk of being lost forever.

Several of these 1,435 sites are located in Cornwall. They are at risk of disappearing as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Historic England has today (Thursday, October 17) published its annual Heritage at Risk Register.

The register provides a snapshot of the health of England’s most valued historic places, and those most at risk of being lost.

It reveals that in the South West, 195 Grade I and II* buildings, 1,048 scheduled monuments, 149 places of worship, 17 registered parks and gardens and 26 conservation areas are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate change. There are 1,435 assets on the Register in Region, 20 fewer than in 2018.

Over the last year 62 historic buildings and sites have been saved.

Historic England says imaginative uses have been found for empty buildings, providing new homes, shops, offices and cultural venues for the local community to enjoy.

Monuments have been cared for, often by teams of volunteers.

Rebecca Barrett, regional director at Historic England South West, said: “The message is clear – investing in and celebrating our heritage pays. It helps to transform the places where we live, work and visit, creating successful and distinctive places for us and for future generations to enjoy.

"But there’s more work to do. There are buildings still on the Heritage at Risk Register that are capable of being brought back into meaningful use and generating an income, contributing to the local community and economy.

"These are the homes, shops, offices and cultural venues of the future, as the Melville Building in Plymouth’s Royal William Yard shows.

“Historic England’s experience shows that with the right partners, imaginative thinking and robust business planning, we can be confident in finding creative solutions for these complex sites.”

Sites added to the risk register in Cornwall include:

Anchor Studio, Newlyn

Interior of artist's studio Anchor Studio was built in 1888 by Arthur Bateman for Stanhope Forbes (Image: Historic England)

Anchor Studio was built in 1888 by Arthur Bateman for Stanhope Forbes, painter and founder of the internationally renowned Newlyn School of artists. Along with the Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, it is thought to be one of the oldest purpose-built artist’s studios in the country.

(Image: Historic England)

The Grade II* listed building is a good example of a late Victorian custom-built artist’s studio, but it is now in a fragile condition with much of the timber frame, timber cladding and slate roof needing urgent repair or replacement.

Anchor Studio, Newlyn (Image: Historic England)

The building was bequeathed to the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust in 2002 which has carried out urgent repairs. In June 2019, the National Lottery Heritage Fund confirmed an award of £320,000 and the much-needed repairs are now under way. Anchor Studio will continue to be a live-work space to attract internationally important artists to Cornwall.

Market Building, Penzance

Penzance Market Building (Image: N Chadwick / Creative Commons Licence)

Penzance’s Market Building is an outstanding piece of architecture. A large two-storey structure dating from 1837 and crowned with a dome and octagonal lantern, it stands in a commanding position overlooking Penzance town centre.

But the Grade I listed building is currently part-occupied, in need of urgent attention and a new use. Although repaired in the last five years, the roofs continue to leak and let water into the building, causing damage to historic plasterwork and creating the ideal conditions for timber decay.

Penzance Market Building (Image: Nilfanion)

The community are optimistic about the Market Building’s future at the heart of a thriving town centre, and have included proposals for its repair and reuse in a bid to the Government’s Future High Streets fund.

English Garden House, Mount Edgcumbe

Mount Edgcumbe Estate (Image: Historic England)

The English Garden House was built by 1729 for Richard, 1st Lord Edgcumbe (1680-1758) as a banqueting house and place of entertainment for his friends and family. It welcomed royalty when King George II and Queen Charlotte visited in 1789.

The English Garden House, Mount Edgcumbe Estate (Image: Historic England)

The Garden House was extended in 1809 and became a bath house complete with sunken marble pool and well-appointed private rooms. Gradually, it was used less for entertainment and more for accommodation, and for most of the 20th century it was used as staff housing.

The English Garden House, Mount Edgcumbe Estate (Image: Historic England)

The building retains fine carved wood and moulded plasterwork from the 18th and early 19th centuries, but water is now getting into the structure and damaging these precious features. There are plans for the Grade II* listed building to be repaired and to find a new use to help generate income for Mount Edgcumbe Park.

Sites saved in the past year in Cornwall include:

Trethevy Quoit

Trethevy Quoit (Image: Historic England)

Trethevy Quoit is a remarkably well-preserved example of a type of burial chamber known as a portal dolmen. Dating to the Early Neolithic period (around 3500–2500 BC), portal dolmens are relatively rare nationally, but there are three in Cornwall. Trethevy is probably the most famous of them all - its dramatically sloping capstone makes it one of the most impressive portal dolmens in the country.

It is a remarkably well-preserved example of a type of burial chamber known as a portal dolmen (Image: Historic England)

Trethevy Quoit was placed on the Heritage at Risk register in 2016 when the sale of the surrounding field threatened its future. A monument of such importance cannot be managed in isolation, so Historic England helped the Trust with a grant to purchase the surrounding field. This allowed the Trust to complete repairs to the monument and make improvements to its setting, including reconstructing a Cornish hedge. They have also been able to provide better access to the Quoit. In July 2019 an archaeological dig in the newly-acquired field produced exciting new discoveries and inspired huge public interest in the monument and its fascinating history.

Mill complex and ropeworks, Hayle

Mill complex and ropeworks, Hayle (Image: Historic England)

The Making Space for Nature project has been transforming urban green spaces across Cornwall, including the ruins of the historic mill complex and ropeworks in Hayle. The scheduled monument dates from the late 18th and 19th century and is one of many sites in Hayle which tell the story of its industrial past.

Work in progress, winter 2018 (Image: Historic England)

Over the last two years Making Space for Nature has delivered much-needed repairs and improvements to the site, improved its biodiversity through woodland management, and created better public access to the area. Local children have also worked alongside archaeologists to discover new information about the mill complex, including revealing a beautiful brick floor in one of the buildings. The monument is no longer at risk and is once more a source of local pride and interest.




Mill complex and ropeworks, Hayle (Image: Historic England)
Work in progress, winter 2018 (Image: Historic England)

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