Welcome to our April newsletter.
Like our seasonal weather, it has something for everyone.
Get your diaries out to book in one or more of this years visits. Places on the physical visits are in high demand so do book early to avoid disappointment. As Lucy explains, if you are not able to join our physical visit we hope to have a virtual visit to each location as well. Please keep in touch with our website for more information. Hopefully, we will be able to explain more in our next newsletter.
Read the update on Wingfield Station to learn of the beautiful wallpapers that have been revealed, and also of other buildings at risk, Codnor Castle, the Gasworks Sudbury, and Barrow Hill Church. Very different ages but each very significant in their own way. Perhaps these mini articles will encourage you to give your additional support to the trusts and organisations involved which the DHBT already partner or supports?
As you can see the work of the DHBT is expanding and we are still seeking volunteers with a wide range of skills – and none!
We look forward to hearing from you
Derek Latham, Chair of DHBT
wingfield station - Project update
Hopefully many of you managed to catch Wingfield Station make an appearance on the final episode of the second series of 'The Architecture the Railways Built' on the 23rd March. It was fantastic to see this special building receive the recognition it deserves by Tim Dunn and the Yesterday Channel TV crew.
The show can be accessed again here: https://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/shows/the-architecture-the-railways-built/watch-online/6238100535001
We are currently working towards issuing the urgent works tender documentation to the conservation contractors that have been shortlisted following a pre-qualifying process. The design team have been busy liaising with scaffold designers to finalise the drawings and with suppliers of various materials, such as the secondary glazing that could be used for the trackside windows. We are also bringing together all the necessary documentation that will be required for our next funding application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund later on this year.
We have now received back the fragments of wallpaper that had been carefully extracted from underneath the dado-rails in the former ladies waiting room. These have been conserved by a paper conservator and provide a fascinating insight into the decorative scheme (alongside the detailed paint analysis carried out last year).
We've also formed an exciting partnership with Smith of Derby (Clockmakers, est. 1856) to look at the possibility of reinstating a clock. The clock, around which local communities worked, was an important part of the life of the station. Setting the time by the station clock was commonplace by the mid 19th century.
The clock at Wingfield was dual-faced and was an important aspect of the principal elevation. Unfortunately, it is now missing, but with the help of Smith of Derby, we intend to have an internal working face in the Booking Hall and a fixed replica on the exterior. Experts from Smith believe that the original may have been made by Gent, who made a lot of railway clocks, including the one for St Pancras Station.
Follow our youtube channel
DHBT now have their own YouTube channel. So far this year we have delivered three online talks via Zoom - 'The Country House in Derbyshire', 'The Iron Giant that Survived - Bennerley Viaduct' and 'A Virtual Tour of Georgian Ashbourne' - all of which are now available to view. We are also creating a series of short films about our activity with local filmmaker, Gavin Repton. The first of these showcases our role as a 'not-for-profit developer' at Wingfield Station. Subscribe to our channel so you don't miss anything.
DHBT architecture awards 2021
codnor castle vandalism
Those of you who follow Codnor Castle Heritage Trust on social media will have seen that of late there has been a disturbing series of instances of vandalism at the Codnor Castle site complex, such that the situation has been drawn to the attention of Historic England's Heritage At Risk division. They, in turn, have recently alerted the Planning Enforcement Department at Amber Valley Borough Council.
Recent activity on site, such as visitors climbing the surviving structures to take selfies, and the use of off-road bikes, has led to the fall of stones from the scheduled 13th-century walls. The Grade II listed farm buildings are also of concern, as so-called 'urban explorers' and 'paranormal investigators' have taken to breaking in and, on one recent occasion, committing arson.
Codnor Castle Heritage Trust is fully in support of any remedial action that can be taken by the official bodies concerned. It hopes this fascinating and complex historical site - a significant heritage asset to the county - can soon be restored to its rightful place as a haven for walkers, and its multilayered archaeology can be studied without the harassment of vandals.
The DHBT is supportive of the Trust’s heroic efforts and is extremely concerned to learn of the growing threat to this important part of the County’s heritage, not only the castle remains but also the historic farmhouse and farmyard.
How many people realise, when they drive from Ripley to Eastwood on the A610, that just behind the east side of the road lies a medieval deer park, within which stands the ruinous and romantic remains of a medieval fortified Manor House?
Eighteen foot high stone walls remains of a former rectangular three storey tower with a connecting wall to a later outer court.
Originally it was defended by a moat and curtain walls and records describe it as Codnor Castle back to the 12th century.
It was the home and power base to one of medieval England’s most powerful families for 300 years; the De Grey family, otherwise known as the Barons Grey of Codnor.
In 2006, The Codnor Castle Heritage Trust was established to prevent the Castle from falling into further disrepair and to promote the Castle as a major site of historical importance.
The ruinous remains of the C13 Codnor Castle are designated a scheduled monument. They were also listed, grade II, in 1963. At the same time the C17, C18 and C19 nearby Codnor Castle Farmhouse was listed grade II. Listed too, in its own right, at grade II, was the C18 adjacent stables and loft.
The Castle ruins and other listed buildings stand within the Codnor Park Conservation Area. The conservation area was designated in 1993, largely for its historic interest as it comprises, virtually intact, the whole area of the medieval deer park in which the Castle was built. Although much of the land within the former deer park was opencast-mined for coal, the ditch and bank boundary of the park survives to a remarkable extent.
We must not allow this remarkable historic place to descend into greater dereliction.
We are running a visit to Codnor Castle on the 18th July - see below for details - booking information and tickets to be released nearer the time.
WILL YOU HELP SAVE ST ANDREWS CHURCH, BARROW HILL, CHESTERFIELD?
APPEAL BY THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ASSOCIATION
One the most important icons of Britain’s working-class heritage is under threat.
Please help us save the most hopeful building in Britain!
The Church of St Andrews, Barrow Hill in Derbyshire will close this month and despite a groundswell of community interest in saving the building and its contents its future appears bleak. Despite three attempts spread over ten years and supported by Chesterfield Borough Council, Historic England have refused to recognise its historic importance because of its ‘modest’ design. It is true that this brick built working class church is modest because the community that paid for it were miners and steel workers.
But this was the design test for two giants of the Garden City movement; Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker. Their contribution to working class housing was even more monumental and it’s what they learned about the appalling conditions in Derbyshire mining villages that fuelled their commitment for a beautiful home for everyone regardless of their income. We believe that St Andrew’s marks a critical moment in both their partnership and evolution of Raymond Unwin from mining engineer to outstanding exponent of the Arts and Craft tradition. It was a building they both put their heart and soul into, even making the internal fixtures. It is vital that Historic England lists St Andrews and that we all support the local community in finding a fitting legacy to this extraordinary heritage asset.
The Historical Significance of Unwin and Parker
The English Heritage Publication ‘English Garden Cities’ (Miller 2010) sets out powerfully the shared and unique contribution of Unwin and Parker. They above all figures in the Garden City movement translated high ideals into practical action on a grand scale. This was not simply through individual design and master plans but in their contribution to founding the modern town planning system and to housing design standards. Miller points to the influence of the joint publication ‘The Art of building a Home’ (1901) and to Unwin's critical shaping of the Tudor Walters Report (1919) which transformed the design approach of the 1.8 million working class homes built in the interwar period.
Unwin and Parker’s work had an overtly political purpose to provide working class communities with high quality design and amenities inspired originally by Ruskin’s notion of the positive effect of good surroundings on the human well-being. They also advocated the Co-ownership housing model and Unwin’s 'Nothing Gained by overcrowding’ (1912) made an economic as well as social case for houses with decent gardens. The TCPA believes these two figures deserve to be recognised as the most influential planning and design partnership of the 20th century.
The heart of the case for listing hangs on the significance of St Andrew’s in the development of Unwin and his partnership with Parker. It is clear that St Andrew’s is ‘The earliest work of Parker and Unwin’ (Pevsner 1978). Unwin and Parker’s personal relationship was founded in family ties (they were half cousins) but St Andrew’s, which involved both design (Unwin) and manufacture of detailed internal features (Parker), marks the first practical design collaboration between them.
A real sign of the significance which they themselves ascribed to the building is the fact that they ‘meticulously preserved’ the plans for St Andrew’s throughout their professional lives.
St Andrew’s marks the transformation of Unwin from a mining engineer with no formal architectural training into one of England’s most renowned architect planners. Unwin worked as chief designer at Staveley Coal and Iron Company from 1887 until he established the architectural practice with Parker a decade later. His role as designer increased form 1890 when he began to design whole villages of bye law housing built with minimum cost. Each community was also provided with a range of community buildings from welfare to sports clubs and churches. Arkwright Town and Poolsbrook have now been demolished but some of Unwin’s terraces survive at Warsop Vale. While further research is ongoing it appears that St Andrew’s is the only surviving example of an Unwin and Parker designed community building from this early period (1878 to 1896). While Parker was the most immediate influence on Unwin he was also transformed through his meeting with Edward Carpenter whose house, just north of Chesterfield, was a crucible for idealists and architects.
The TCPA strongly urges Historic England to reconsider the decision not to list St Andrew’s. We continue to believe that there is an overwhelming case for such a designation not solely on the grounds of intrinsic architectural value but in relation to the iconic role this building plays in the formative development of two of the greatest figures in the British and international Garden City movement. If you have time to send an email please contact Historic England.
Please write to the CEO of Historic England Duncan Wilson: