August News 2018: East Midlands C20

I hope you are well and drinking plenty of water? Is it like the summer of 1976? I have no idea but I've been way too hot to do anything so I'm sorry for organising zero local events this summer. By way of apology before I begin my usual news roundup, I have posted a few interesting finds from a recent trip to Cleethorpes. 

Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire

Like neighbouring Grimsby, in the nineteenth century it was given a boost by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Co, but whereas Grimsby was for importing fish and exporting coal, Cleethropes was all about recreation.
One of the C20 sites to tick off is the Southern Outfall Pumping Station by the rather famous Lincoln architect Sam Scorer. 
Here's Lincoln architect Karolina Szynalska on Scorer's postmodern idea with the pumping station:

Completed in 1987, it is supposedly a temple of Amon, god of ammonia, an intermediate by-product of the decomposition of the pumping station content. This classical utility shed in deep purple engineering brick is divided into bays by tapering paired pilasters with chamfered angles. Above the ornamental concrete ‘capitals’ and ‘cornice’ there is a busy frieze of undulating brickwork in an abstract pattern which was inspired by waves braking on the near by beach.

You can read Karolina excellent dissertation on Scorer here
From the clay beach (which gave its name to Cleethorpes) you can make out the Haile Sand Fort. This was built to guard the Humber Estuary between 1915-18.
Nearby are the Humberston Fitties, plotlanders originating from the the 1920s and still charming and popular. Unfortunately their future is uncertain at the moment after North East Lincs Council sold the site to Tingdene, a portable home manufacturing company. Here's a nice article in the Independent from last year.

So I hope you have enjoyed some of my holiday snaps. Here is the news:
John Dean
Leicester is well known for its severe 1960s road engineering which unfortunately cut the city centre from its Roman origins. Although this was not to the design of the town planner Konrad Smigelski it unfortunately happened under his watch. In the following decade the succeeding Head of Planning John Dean pursued a more inclusive and conservationist approach. It has been sad therefore to hear of John’s recent passing – his career and achievements at Leicester warrant re-appraisal. Until then, here's a lovely obituary from the Leicester Urban Observatory.

Charles Wilson Building, Leicester University

Historic England have recently refused an application for listing this building sited on the campus of Leicester University. It was designed by Denys Lasdun and is perhaps one of the region’s most striking brutalist buildings. At present its future seems safe, although there has been talk about refurbishment, which potentially could alter the appearance of the building.

Imperial Tobacco

The fate of the Horizon Factory at Imperial Tobacco has been well documented on this newsletter, particularly with regard to the unsuccessful attempts at listing and also the fate of the nearby 1930s Bonded Warehouses (RIP). Sadly, the latest is that new owners Henry Boot are intent on demolition in order to free up land for new business/industrial development. Sometimes it just seems as though creative thinking is sacrificed for homogeneity. 

Derby Cattle Market

Derby Cattle Market was perhaps never going to be in the architectural coffee books, but its history and design is rather interesting. There are few (if any?) other modernist cattle markets located so close to a city centre. Its location neatly shows how Derby in the Twentieth Century was still in some senses a County Town, with a rather significant rural hinterland. Given that, it seems a shame to destroy the whole edifice. 

Assembly Rooms

The ongoing saga over the proposed demolition of the Derby Assembly Rooms is a bit like reading about Brexit, although this time the government comes out rather well. The Culture Sectretary Matt Hancock has questioned plans to replace the building, claiming that refurbishment could come at a quarter of the price.

Nottingham City Airport

C20 have objected to a proposed demolition of a Grade II listed pillbox at Nottingham City Airport. They have also urged that applicants should rebuild in facsimile a hangar demolished without permission and that the local authority consider prosecuting applicants. Shocking!

Ritz Cinema Ilkeston

Apparently the Bingo company using this interwar cinema in Ilkeston will be vacating the premises. Luckily the building is Grade II listed but it will be worth keeping at eye out for this gem overlooking the Erewash Valley.

Derby Cathedral

The C20 churches officer Claire Price recently attended a meeting to discuss extensive re-ordering proposals for the interior of the cathedral. Apparently this work may effect the 1939 organ, Comper Song School and ancillary spaces. Following the fire of the nearby Assembly Rooms, it seems as though the idea was to covert the church into a new events space. Unfortunately this may actually harm one of the most impressive church interiors in the region. This issue was raised during our Derby tour last September, so it good that C20 will be keeping a close eye on things.

Beeston Town Hall

Despite third party support from C20, a recent attempt to list Beeston Town Hall has hit the buffers. Furthermore, there has been a leaked report from Broxtowe Borough Council who are dismissive of an attempt to reuse the building and are rumoured to favour demolition. Reading the dismissal of the business case I wonder if the council have considered the recent growth of co-working spaces, which I think the interest group are aiming at but maybe haven't defined properly?

Finally, news just in: Nottingham Civic Society have submitted two C20 buildings for listing: the 1980s Royal Concert Hall and the interwar Raleigh Cycle offices. Both are distinctive and integral to the story of Nottingham. Let's see what happens.

That’s all for now!

Chris Matthews
Chair East Midlands C20

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