Following the destruction caused by WWII, the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 put a listings system in place to identify buildings considered special enough to be protected during post-war rebuilding. Stemming from those initial sites, the list we know today pinpoints buildings and landscapes of historical or architectural significance where preservation is deemed necessary in order for current and future generations to enjoy them.
In 2017 the list of sites across the country is mammoth, with around 400,000 entries spanning everything from windmills and palaces to piers and plague crosses. While 514 of the entries are pigsties and 13 are dung pits. Nice. Intriguing entries in the capital include a concrete diving board at the former Purley Way lido in Croydon, a skatepark in Hornchurch and that zebra crossing on Abbey Road.
Today, five new sites have been added to the National Heritage List for England, marking 70 years of the initiative, and have been given Grade II-listed status by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.
They highlight the variety of locations recognised by the list, and lucky London has scored two of them in the form of a cabbie’s shelter and a Jewish cemetery in Willesden.
The Cabmen’s Shelter, built in 1906, can be found in Grosvenor Gardens and is one of the last still standing in London (there are only 13 left). It’s still used by the city’s Black Cab drivers today as a place to rest and grab refreshments between jobs, but was originally built to combat cabbies taking shelter in pubs to escape the elements during shifts and drinking while waiting for customers.
The list’s other London addition is the funerary buildings at Willesden Jewish Cemetery, which has been referred to as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of the capital’s Jewish cemeteries. Established in 1873, it soon became the go-to burial spot for highly regarded members of the Orthodox Ashkenazi communities. A set of gothic revival buildings form the cemetery’s focal point, each playing a specific role in Jewish burial rituals.
Making the cut outside of the capital are the Underhill home in West Yorkshire (1973-7) designed by Arthur Quarmby, the Stockton-on-Tees Wireless Station in County Durham (1912-13) and Pillwood House in Truro (1973-74), a house seemingly suspended within the treetops of a woodland area.
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