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Cornish heritage buildings at risk of being lost forever

Cornish heritage buildings at risk of being lost forever

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 12:22pm 17th October 2019. (Updated at 8:58am 18th October 2019)

The heritage buildings that are at risk of being lost forever in Cornwall have been revealed.

13 in the Duchy have been added onto the official 2019 Heritage at Risk Register because of things like decay, neglect or inappropriate development.

Those include a Victorian artist's studio in Newlyn and market building in Penzance.

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

But 18 other sites here have been saved, including Trethevy Quoit and the Mill complex and ropeworks in Hayle.

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. 

Mill Complex Hayle
Mill complex and ropeworks, Hayle

"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."

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England South West

The Heritage at Risk Register 2019 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.  

Trevethy Quoit
Trevethy Quoit

Sites added to the Heritage at Risk Register 2019 in Devon and Cornwall include:

ADDED: Anchor Studio, Newlyn, Cornwall 

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. 

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. 

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.

Newlyn Anchor Studio
Anchor Studio, Newlyn

ADDED: Market Building, Penzance, Cornwall

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.

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.

Penzance Market Building
Market Building, Penzance

Sites saved in the past year in Devon and Cornwall include:

SAVED: Trethevy Quoit, Cornwall 

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. 

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. 

Trevethy Quoit
Trethevy Quoit

SAVED: Mill complex and ropeworks, Hayle, Cornwall 

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.

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 Hayle
Mill complex and ropeworks, Hayle

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