SAVE Britain's Heritage

An organization called SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architects, journalists and planners. Its Dare to Care: Buildings at Risk 2012-13 report, published June 1, contains almost one hundred homes in need of restoration, from castles to cottages.

Buildings featured in the 2012 report, Dare to Care, range from enchanting cottages, such as Shellards Cottage above, farmhouses and town houses to forlorn country piles, deserted chapels and crumbling mills – all crying out for restoration. These neglected treasures, ripe for sensitive repair, often lie in idyllic locations, surrounded by fields or in country villages or beside rivers and canals.

SAVE’s latest report contains almost 100 new cases, resulting from a major consultation with local authorities in England. It also features up-to-date case histories of buildings rescued since appearing in earlier SAVE reports. Finally, the report highlights the scandalous waste of several historic buildings over the past twelve months. These include the demolition of a 19th-century brewer’s villa in Hungerford, Berkshire, and the imminent destruction of Charles Barry’s elegant Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

A must read for anyone interested in Britain’s heritage and an essential tool for prospective restorers, SAVE’s reports play a critical role in the conservation of Britain’s historic buildings. Some two-thirds of the country houses included in SAVE’s first report, published in 1977, had found new owners or uses within three or four years and good news has continued ever since. Marcus Binney, SAVE’s President says, ‘This is the 23rd of SAVE’s annual reports on buildings at risk, each one illustrating a remarkable selection of endangered properties in varying states of repair, but all candidates for immediate action.’

Here are some highlights from the 2012 report:

Milton Damerell House, Devon: this treasure trove of architectural detail and history is currently on the market for £495,000. Dating back to 1500, this handsome Grade II listed house is an amalgamation of four centuries of architecture. Thought to have been a vicarage at one time, and located within beautiful countryside, this building boasts extraordinary surviving features and the promise of a mysterious hidden tunnel.

Shellards Cottage, (above) Essex: This historical gem, a charming thatched cottage built around 1500, is situated at the end of a country lane and would make a delightful home or rural bolt hole.

Ivy Cottage in County Durham: When this idyllic house – which dates back to the 17th century – was listed in 1987 the Inspector recorded that it was already empty and derelict. Two decades later, this picturesque sandstone building, in a small rural village, continues to cry out for a new owner and a new life.

The Georgian Toll Cottage at Marple, near Stockport: stands in a picturesque position next to a hump bridge at the junction of the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. Pathetically boarded up, it cries out for some TLC.

Overstone Hall, (above) on the outskirts of Northampton: is a majestic Italianate mansion in a 40 acre walled park but poses a considerable challenge. It was built in 1866 to the designs of W M Teulon, younger brother of the great Victorian ‘rogue’ architect S S Teulon. After suffering a fire it was put up for sale two years ago. It would make for a magnificent hotel, offices, or could be adapted sensitively for multiple residential use.

For further information, visit the Save Britain’s Heritage website.

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