E is for English Heritage

One natural resource that England has aplenty is history. It’s all around us, and not just the grand palaces, castles, stately homes and cathedrals — it can also be found in the humblest of structures.

The organisation charged with and protecting these buildings is English Heritage. Their criteria for ‘listing’ them is complex, but it includes pretty much everything built up to 1840 and anything after then that is of special interest, quality and character or technological importance.

For this week’s ABC posting I’ve included photos of a few listed buildings in Hyde, starting with the bandstand above which sits at the centre of a natural amphitheatre in Hyde Park.

It was officially opened on the 18th May 1922 and was originally surrounded by moveable glass partitions. It has played host to bands such as the Household Cavalry, Black Watch and local colliery bands. During the 1930s the bandstand hosted two concerts every Sunday.

Next is the Theatre Royal which I’ve written about and photographed before. Opened in 1902, the building is in a pretty dilapidated state, but a local group, Theatre Royal Onward, is trying to raise money to restore it to its former glory.

It seated 1,120 people on three levels — the stalls, the circle and the gods — and each level had its own entrance, stairs and ticket office.

In later years, it became a cinema and there is still a screen behind the curtain. I remember taking my daughter to see Beauty and the Beast there. It sticks in my memory because it was absolutely freezing. This was just before it closed its doors in 1992.

The next landmark took me by surprise because it’s just a bus shelter. Isn’t it? Well no, because this was originally a passenger shelter for tramcars.

Built in the late 19th or early 20th century, it is opposite the town hall and next to the outdoor market.

It is a cast iron structure with a glass canopy and the main columns have moulded braces, crocket capitals, and naturalistic enrichment to the pierced spandrels which support the canopy. Or so the English Heritage website tells me.

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Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • rog 16th February 2011

    I’ve always been annoyed by the fact that many Americans seem to have no sense of history at all.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • jabblog uk 16th February 2011

    English Heritage and the National Trust – are they one and the same these days?

  • Gattina 16th February 2011

    Very interesting post ! I have been lots of times in London, but never heard about this.
    Abc team

  • Mr Parrot 16th February 2011

    Thanks for your comments. English Heritage and the National Trust are separate organisationas. EH exists to identify buildings of significance, but doesn’t own them. It is usually local authorities that ask for buildings to be considered. EH also gets most of its funding from the government.

    The National Trust is a charity, independent of government, and maintains the properties and land that it owns.


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