Battersea Power Station is one of several sites to have been removed from Historic England’s ‘heritage at risk’ register, the organisation has announced.
The former electricity station in southwest London is in the final stages of an extensive redevelopment project and is due to open next year. Derelict for many years, it was added to the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register in 1991.
The list is Historic England’s annual ‘health-check’ of significant buildings and sites throughout the country that it judges are at risk of being lost due to neglect, decay, or inappropriate development.
This year’s catalogue, published in early November, has revealed that some 233 sites have been saved and removed within the last 12 months.
Other notable removals include a Victorian public lavatory in Bloomsbury that has been converted into a bar and Yorkshire’s Plumpton Rocks, considered to be one of the finest 18th century landscapes in the region.
But Battersea Power Station is the most significant removal this year. Built in 1929, it supplied one fifth of London’s electricity at its peak. The site closed in 1983 and lay derelict for many decades.
The redevelopment of the Grade II* listed building and its surroundings will see the opening of new retail, leisure, and dining spaces, as well as housing and offices. The conservation has included the reconstruction of its famous chimneys, which was completed in 2017.
However, over the last year, 130 historic buildings and sites have been added to the list. One of the most notable additions is underwater off Goodwin Sands in Kent. It was here that the third-rate British warship Restoration sank during the Great Storm of 1703.
A highly mobile sandbank has migrated off the wreck, exposing the remains of the hull and cannon to erosion due to wave action and marine organisms.
Other sites deemed at risk include Warley Place, the remains of a wild natural garden created by famed horticulturalist Ellen Willmott, which Historic England says is in urgent need of proper funding to tackle 40 years of dereliction.
In the past year, Historic England gave £9.8 million in grants to historic places, plus another £5.6 million to sites deemed at risk from its Culture Recovery Fund stimulus package during the pandemic.
A further £3.6 million has been awarded for the coming year to help with emergency repairs and to support the livelihoods of conservationists.
Commenting on the news, Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: ‘Our heritage is an anchor for us all in testing times. Despite the challenges we have all faced recently, this year’s Heritage at Risk Register demonstrates that looking after and investing in our historic places can bring communities together, contribute to the country’s economic recovery, and help tackle climate change.’
There are 4,985 assets on the register in all, 112 fewer than in 2020. You can read the register in full on the Historic England website.