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My name is Jonathon Wild, a Local Historian running BRAYGREEN.
I have campaigned on abandoned buildings for over 20 years and written several websites on local history content including the history of Childwall, the history of St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, the history of India Buildings, the history of the Ropewalks and was involved in the Pearson’s of Liverpool project identifying the locations of over 200 glass plated photographs from WW2 around Wavertree and the Edge Hill district.
Further to this I run eleven Facebook groups of historical content, which total over 26,000 members. Groups such as the History of the Bombed-Out Church, Liverpool Churches, Liverpool Lost Pubs etc. I have also written two historical books, The History of Childwall and the History of Sandfield Tower. Both self-funded and self-published, these books have been well received in the local area.
Liverpool’s Heritage – At Risk has been set up on the back of the current campaigns I am running on abandoned buildings within Liverpool.
1 – Sandfield Tower – A twenty-two-year campaign to highlight the plight of this Grade 2 listed, abandoned building. Set on the inner ring road in Queens Drive, it has been the subject of numerous articles in the local paper, I have been on BBC Northwest, I have written a website on the history of the building, and I have self-published a book on the history of the building. This has also been recognised by Save Britain’s Heritage Building of the month in September 2021.
2 – Woolton Hall – A newly developed campaign to highlight the real importance of this abandoned building. A GRADE ONE listed building built in 1704 and extensively renovated in 1772 by the influential architect Robert Adam, the building is praised as the finest example of Adam's work in the North of England. This has now been subject to Save Britain’s Heritage Building of the month in April 2021 as well as being added to the 2021 Historic England at Risk Register because of its poor state.
3 – Eddesbury – A late 1800’s Grade II listed building, designed by the noted James Francis Doyle (White Star Line/Former Royal Insurance Building/St Barnabas Penny Lane), this stands in its own plot in West Derby and has been the subject of vandalism, fires have been started in the building on many occasions and this once grand building is now very much falling apart in front of our eyes. There is talk of a local developer looking to purchase the property and restore it to its former glory.
However, we had the greatest success when the former St John the Divine’s Church in Fairfield that was supposed to be under severe deterioration and would fall down ‘within weeks’ was saved. The building is unlisted and yet a noted landmark on the entrance and exit to Liverpool via Edge Lane, the spire was apparently due to collapse and it was due for demolition. What happened next was a hard fought campaign to raise awareness of this building which followed in a new website listing the history, and campaigners stood up and raised the plight in a Consistory Court. 15 years later, the building is still standing and has now been turned in to flats. The spire still on the horizon for all to see!
This website has been set up because I believe there is no clear understanding of the way forward with our buildings at risk in Liverpool. We have numerous buildings at risk and yet it appears that it is down to ‘Joe Public’ to highlight these themselves, not just to the general public, but also to Liverpool City Council, Save Britain’s Heritage and Historic England.
Without the continued publication of local websites and local campaigners, no one would know the plight of Sandfield Tower, nor would they understand the very poor condition of Woolton Hall (Grade 1). We have had to fall back on the risk of ‘urban explorers’ to see inside some of our beautiful and yet abandoned building. Therefore, this website has been set up to highlight our abandoned heritage, to raise the awareness of these buildings, to understand who owns them and what the next step is for this building.
However, we speak in no capacity other than being a member of the public with an interest in local buildings and our fine history. We therefore must lean on our local ward councillors in the area of these buildings to help us, and together with the help of Liverpool City Council, come up with an understanding of who owns these buildings, what their current plans are and understand what responsibilities they have to upkeep their listed building. In this way, we can start to understand exactly what the next step is to assist everyone. This is not a website that will put the blame on the City Council or the local councillors or the owners, it is to simply highlight our abandoned buildings and understand what can be done to bring these back in to use.
This website has been set up because Liverpool has over 40 listed buildings on the ‘at risk register’. Time and time again we are seeing grand houses, churches, grade I & II listed buildings fall apart in front of our eyes. No one seems accountable. The City Council appear to be in a spending freeze and the owners appear to have free reign over what they are doing or not doing to upkeep their property. They are simply custodians at the present time until they are passed to the next in line. If we do not fight for our heritage, there will soon be none left for the next generation.
I hope that this website sees some movement and answers in our abandoned buildings. Pages will be added in due course on the next building, and this will be an on-going project. Should any of the owners of the buildings featured on this website wish to put their side of the story across then please e-mail me. If there is genuine help needed and people can provide their skills or simply elbow grease tending to gardens, helping to secure buildings or keeping a watch out on our abandoned buildings, please contact us.
This website is not to point the finger at anyone. It is for Liverpool City Council and the owners of these buildings to come together and find a common ground and a way forward so these buildings can be enjoyed for future generations.
SAVE BRITAIN'S HERITAGE
LIVERPOOL'S HERITAGE - AT RISK
These buildings do not belong to us only...they have belonged to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not our property, to do as we like with. We are only trustees for those that come after us.
SAVE has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, journalists and planners. SAVE is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic environment.
SAVE is a strong, independent voice in conservation that has been fighting for threatened historic buildings and sustainable reuses since 1975.
We are at the forefront of national heritage conservation. We intervene to help historic buildings and places in serious danger of demolition or decay. We stand apart from other organisations by bringing together architects, engineers, planners and investors to offer viable alternative proposals. Where necessary, and with expert advice, we take legal action to prevent major and needless losses.
Historic England are the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England's spectacular historic environment.
We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we've come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them.
Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.
We make sure people understand and appreciate the benefits England's heritage brings and why it should be respected, cherished and enhanced as part of the very soul of our nation. We open up heritage for everyone, using digital resources, media campaigns, our unsurpassed archive, publishing, public information and exhibitions.
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