The iconic Hammerhead Crane in Cowes has been listed as being one of the most endangered buildings in the country as The Victorian Society today (Wednesday) reveal their top ten most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in England and Wales for 2014.
The Victorian Society is urging the Isle of Wight Council to continue to put pressure on the owner of the former J.S White’s 80 ton Grade II* listed crane to secure the future of the industrial landmark. Installed to increase capacity for the production of naval warships, the giant cantilever crane was built within the first decade of these cranes’ development and is the only remaining pre-WWI hammerhead crane in England.
Earlier this year, Isle of Wight Council issued an urgent works notice to the crane’s owner after the crane was found to be structurally unsound. The owner is now disputing the urgent works notice.
The last Isle of Wight building to featured in the Victorian Society’s Top Ten was the Frank James Memorial Hospital in East Cowes, which was also nominated again this year. The hospital was originally built as a Home for Retired Seamen, before becoming a hospital in 1903. The hospital closed in 2002 and has suffered much deterioration since then.
Last year The Victorian Society wrote to the Isle of Wight Council noting that plans for the building had not yet progressed and urging it to serve an Urgent Works Notice to the owners. Although this step has not yet taken place, a planning application to transform the former hospital in a series of apartments has been submitted this month.
Other buildings in this year’s Top Ten include a Grade II*-listed church in Hastings facing potential demolition, the huge Tonedale Mill complex in Somerset and Sheffield’s Crimean war Memorial which has been hidden in Council storage for over a decade.
Chris Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society, said:
“Once again the number of nominations from the public has demonstrated that it cares about preserving Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Those we selected for the Top Ten are those in the most urgent need of help now, but they also illustrate the problems faced by many more buildings around the country.
“As the economy recovers, it is vital that owners and local authorities redouble their efforts to find new uses for these buildings. Victorian and Edwardian architecture makes a huge contribution to the character of places people live in and love. That the Grade II*-listed All Souls Church in Hastings is facing outright demolition is truly shocking and would set a dangerous precedent. Once these buildings are gone they are lost forever.
“The Victorian Society is asking the public for its help in the battle to save the buildings in the Top Ten. If one of the buildings is local to you, or particularly resonates with you, please consider writing to the relevant local council or paper to demonstrate that the building has public support. You can also help raise awareness by sharing our Top Ten campaign online so that more people are aware of the problems these buildings face.’’