We often hear that people find it difficult to get involved in planning, and the buildings around them. One strand of what Redwood does is helping people understand how they can shape their own environment. In that spirit, we look at how you can do your bit to save some of our collective architectural heritage – the things that, if lost, we will come to regret. Why not give it a go?
Own an at-risk building
Conservation charity SAVE is about to publish its latest catalogue of buildings that are at risk, through neglect or decay. The aim is to draw attention to these derelict buildings, which have often already proved a challenge for previous owners to restore, so that they attract purchasers able to give them a new lease of life. The list includes former pubs, a military gatehouse, a swimming pool, a church, a former hospital, a wool mill and a coastguard tower. If you’ve the cash, patience and willpower, it will be well worth the effort!
Pick up a historic building for free
The catch? The 103 historic buildings are in Italy and all the takers must commit to transforming them into tourist facilities. The under-utilised private and public properties on the list, which has been created by Italy’s State Property Agency and Ministry of Cultural Heritage, has been produced to encourage tourism in some of the country’s less well-known areas. The list includes ancient castles, monasteries and convents, as well as old farmhouses, schools and inns. Act quickly – applications need to be in by 26 June (a working knowledge of Italian will help).
Join a historic society
At the beginning of the year, the Twentieth Century Society produced a Buildings at Risk List, which includes some of the best examples of 20th century British architecture that are not listed. The society and local campaigners are raising the profile of these modern buildings and their place in the fabric of their towns and cities. The list includes the distinctive murals on former BHS buildings in Stockport and Hull, as well as buildings in Durham, Coventry and Central London.
Propose a plaque
If you’re in Greater London, you can propose to English Heritage that they commemorate someone with one of their famous blue plaques. Londoners – by birth, residence or association – have been commemorated with the plaques since Lord Byron in 1867. The individual in question must have been dead for 20 years, and the building be publicly visible, but there are not too many rules beyond that. It’s a great way not only to remember significant individuals, but to help protect buildings by making their important historical connections clear for all to see.