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Bodley church among top-ten most endangered Victorian structures in the UK

20 September 2019


Rubbish piled up outside St Luke’s, Warrington, currently used as a builder’s store

Rubbish piled up outside St Luke’s, Warrington, currently used as a builder’s store

A REDUNDANT church, a former pub, a coalmine, and a country mansion are among ten of the most endangered Victorian structures in England and Wales, conservationists suggest.

Worship has not taken place at the Grade II* St Luke’s, Warrington, in Cheshire, for 30 years, and it is currently used as a builder’s store. The building is singular for its rare interior design — a double nave under a single roof — by the architect George Frederick Bodley.

IAN TATLOCKThe nave at St Luke’s, Warrington

It has been included in a list of the most at-risk Victorian and Edwardian buildings and structures, created by the architectural conservation charity the Victorian Society. Now in its 12th year, the annual top-ten campaign seeks to expose the plight of these buildings in the hope that increased awareness and appreciation will help save them. The list is based on nominations submitted by the public.

The director of the Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe, said: “This is a really unusual church of great architectural interest, by one of the greatest architects of the period. It is far too good to be lost, and its importance lies predominantly in its interior, making subdivision impossible. Public bodies and Warrington Council need to give serious thought on how to save this architectural jewel.”

Built in 1892 as part of the Gothic Revival, its design is based on a medieval style of which only three examples exist in England. It was the first — and regarded by experts as the most impressive — of three versions by Bodley.

Mr Costelloe said: “It is extremely unorthodox and highly inventive, and the result is remarkable. A new use is clearly required for this highly significant building: one that respects the extraordinary nature of its interior.”

The other buildings on the list are: 

  1. Shadwell Court, Norfolk: Grade I Gothic-style country mansion;
  2. Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, Staffordshire: Grade II* and scheduled ancient monument;
  3. Queensbury railway tunnel, between Holmfield and Queensbury, West Yorkshire;
  4. Everton Library: Grade II, one of the earliest public libraries in Liverpool;
  5. Cowbridge Comprehensive School, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales;
  6. Pelican Works, Birmingham: Grade II former electroplating works;
  7. Hulme Hippodrome, Manchester: Grade II closed theatre;
  8. Leslie Arms, Croydon, London: Grade II derelict Arts and Crafts pub;
  9. Corn Exchange/former town hall, Swindon, Wiltshire: Grade II.

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