The Listing of Buildings
These notes are intended to help any individual or group, who is interested in having a building or buildings entered on the national 'List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest'
- Why do English Heritage list buildings?
- The Criteria Used
- How do I get a building entered on the 'List'?
- Who do I seek expert advice from?
- Where are the listed buildings in Tameside?
The 'List' of buildings of special architectural or historic interest is a register, compiled by English Heritage, recording the best of British buildings. It comprises a wide variety of structures, from castles and cathedrals down to milestones and village pumps. Not all the structures are what we may consider to be 'beautiful', some are included purely for their historical value. The 'List' adds up to a heritage register and covers the entire country.
From 1 April 2005 the administration of the listing system was transferred from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to English Heritage. Instead of applying to Department of Culture, Media and Sport for listing of a building, applicants apply directly to English Heritage.
English Heritage list buildings to identify our heritage. Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Secretary of State has a statutory duty to list buildings of special architectural or historic interest. In choosing buildings for listing, other factors such as the cost of maintaining the building, unsuitability to modern needs and their current state of repair, are not considered (unless this has harmed the architectural interest). All these things can be considered if an owner wishes to demolish or alter his/her listed building. The list is a register; it simply puts a mark against those buildings that are considered special.
Most buildings have been selected in the course of the National resurvey of listed buildings. Every town in England has been visited by fieldworkers from the Department of the Environment and the best buildings have been selected against a set of national criteria. The results of this survey (edited into lists) are available at the Council Offices.
Sometimes it is necessary to list individual buildings which may have been overlooked in the re-survey. These buildings can be 'spot-listed'. The effect of this is the same and the list will again be available for inspection at the Council Offices. Sometimes spot listing is preceded by a Building Preservation Notice which is made by the local Council and which invites English Heritage to consider the property for listing immediately.
Several other changes will also take place to the listing process. English Heritage will now notify owners if an application to list their buildings is being made by another party. In the vast minority of cases the owner of the property will be informed, however in exceptional circumstances, where there is an imminent threat of alteration or demolition, the information maybe withheld. English Heritage will now also begin consulting owners and local authorities on applications to list buildings.
All the properties that English Heritage inspect, are judged according to a set of national standards.
Broadly, buildings that are eligible for listing are as follows:
- All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition
- Most buildings of 1700 to 1840 although selection is necessary
- Between 1840 and 1914 only buildings of definite quality and character and the selection is designed to include the major works of principal architects.
- Between 1914 and 1939, selected buildings of high quality or historic interest
- A few outstanding buildings erected after 1939.
In choosing buildings, particular attention is paid to:-
- Special value within certain types, either for architectural or planning reasons or as illustrating social and economic history (e.g. industrial buildings, railway stations, schools, hospitals, theatres, town halls, markets, exchanges, almshouses, prisons, lock-ups, mills).
- Technological innovation or virtuosity (e.g. cast-iron, prefabrication, or the early use of concrete.
- Association with well known characters or events
- Group value, especially as examples of town planning (e.g. squares, terraces or model villages).
The buildings are classified into grades to show their relevant importance. These are as follows:
Grade I - Buildings of exceptional interest (around 2% of all listed buildings)
Grade II* - Particularly important of more than special interest (around 4%)
Grade II - Buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort being made to preserve them.
The advice given below assumes that you have looked at the criteria outlined above and consider that the building that interests you is a possible for listing.
(a) Provide background information
Find out as much as you can about the building
- when was it built?
- who was the architect?
- who was the builder?
- has it any links with well known people or events?
Local or national groups with an interest in buildings may be able to help you 'fill in' the gaps in your knowledge. A letter of support from them could very much increase your chances of getting the building listed.
National bodies in this field are:
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport
Listing Branch, 2- 4 Cockspur Street, London, SW1Y 5DH
The Ancient Monuments Society
St. Ann's Vestry Hall, 2 Church Entry, London EC4V 5HB
0171 236 3934
The AMS is concerned with historic buildings of all ages and types, but with a particular interest in demolition cases, new design in the context of historic buildings and church matters.
The Council for British Archaeology
The Council for British Archaeology, St Mary's House, 66 Bootham, York, YO30 7BZ
The CBA is concerned with all historic buildings but with a particular interest in the archaeology of subterranean and standing structures.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
37 Spital Square, London E1 6DY
0171 377 1644
The SPAB is concerned mainly with structures constructed before 1714, but also with the philosophical and technical aspects of conservation.
The Georgian Group
6 Fitzroy Square, London W1P 6DX
0171 387 1720
The Georgian Group is concerned with architecture and architecture related-arts between 1700 and 1837.
The Victorian Society
1 Priory Gardens, Bedford Park, London W4 1TT
0181 994 1019
The Victorian Society is concerned with Victorian and Edwardian architecture and architecture-related arts between 1837 and 1914.
The Twentieth Century Society (formerly the Thirties Society)
70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6BP
0171 250 3857
The Twentieth Century Society is concerned with architecture of the twentieth century, in all decades except the first.
SAVE Britain's Heritage
77 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6BP
0171 252 3400
It may also be advisable to contact the Local Studies and Archives Centre, who may have further information regarding the history of the building. They are based at:-
Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne
0161 342 4242
(c) Identify any threat to the building
If you are becoming aware that the building is becoming increasingly derelict, or if you know of any plans / proposals either to make drastic alterations to it; or to demolish it, you should include this information.
(d) Take photographs
Take photographs (using as skilled a photographer as possible) of the outside and the inside of the building. Include both general views and close-ups of interesting details.
(e) Provide a plan
Mark the precise position of the building and the boundary of its site on an Ordnance Survey map (1:1250 if possible).
(f) Write to English Heritage
When you have assembled the information outlined above, write to English Heritage. explaining exactly why you want the building listed; what are it's outstanding characteristics and include all the information you have collected. It would help if you could submit your report in a type written form.
1 Waterhouse Square
Information is still available from:
Listing Branch, Department of Culture, Media and Sport
2- 4 Cockspur Street
The Local Authority encourages you to submit your own listing request to English Heritage. However, if you would like further advice on submitting an application, please contact us.
In Tameside we have over 300 listed buildings - Search the Database.
The contact information below may be used to enquire about listed buildings in Tameside. Please note that we are unable to answer enquiries or provide advice on listed buildings outside of Tameside.