20 North East buildings join English Heritage risk list

Twenty buildings in the North East have joined English Heritage’s at-risk register including a landmark windmill, medieval churches and an 18th Century country house

The Fulwell windmill in Sunderland, which is the only working survivor of over 180 windmills
The Fulwell windmill in Sunderland, which is the only working survivor of over 180 windmills

A landmark windmill, medieval churches and an 18th Century country house are among North East historic gems which have been added this year to an at-risk list.

Twenty sites and conservation areas in the region have joined English Heritage’s at-risk register, which is published today.

The register covers Grade I and Grade II-star listed sites – the top 5% gradings of listed buildings and structures.

The North East has a total of 287 sites on the register – a 6.8% rate compared to 4% nationally.

But this is seven sites less than last year, as 27 have come off the list with their future secured.

Over the year more than £768,000 has been offered in grants to help some of the North East’s most important historic sites.

 Graham Saunders, English Heritage planning and conservation director for the North East said: “Successful partnerships and the support of volunteers and community groups are crucial in tackling heritage at risk - a fact demonstrated consistently in the North East.

“Whilst we’ve been very successful in improving many sites, there is no time to relax with 20 historic sites and areas were newly assessed and added to the 2013 register.

“We will continue to work with others to improve the condition of our historic environment. In particular over the next year, we will be working to assess the condition of publicly and privately owned and managed parks, gardens and cemeteries.

“In addition, working with local authorities, we will assess the condition of grade II buildings and look for ways of arresting their decay, made more difficult by the increasing demands on the resources owners need to repair and maintain them.”

The regional picture is:

Tyne and Wear:

Added to the list is Fulwell Windmill in Sunderland. It would have been one windmill of many along this stretch of the coast when it was built in 1821.

It had been a popular visitor attraction but following storms in 2011 the windmill had to be closed to the public.

Sunderland City Council has allocated funds to undertake repairs that will make the structure watertight. The first phase of this work is due to start next summer.

Also joining the at risk list are:

Church of the Holy Trinity, Sunderland, built 1718-19; Italianate chimney at Cleadon Pumping station, built 1860-62; Church of St Patrick, High Street, Felling, Gateshead, 1893-95; Church of St Aloysius, Hebburn, 1888; Church of St Luke, Claremont Road, Newcastle, 1890; the 14th Century Sallyport Tower, part of Newcastle’s medieval defences, which lies empty and has been the target for vandalism.

St James Church in Benwell
St James Church in Benwell

Coming off the list in Tyne and Wear is the Church of St James in Benwell in Newcastle.

It opened in 1833 and is the burial place of Newcastle developer Richard Grainger and pioneering mining engineer John Buddle.

It has suffered for many years from maintenance issues and vandalism that had left it in a very poor condition, including a leaking roof.

But the church launched a Raise the Roof campaign in 2012 with financial and technical support from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The campaign asked people to sponsor a slate for £5 to raise the necessary cash for the roof work .

Also off the list is the site of Washingwells Roman fort in Whickham, Gateshead.


Added to at risk list are:

Church of St Michael, Alnham dating from the 12th Century; Church of Our Lady, Seaton Delaval. 12th Century; Holy Cross Church, Chatton 1763-70; Church of St Aidan, Tarset, 1818,

Taken off the register are a heather thatched barn at Tow House, Bardon Mill; limekiln at Little Mill, Longhoughton; Christ Church, Hepple; Cartington castle, near Rothbury, monastic cell and medieval tower, Coquet Island; bastles at Tarset.

In County Durham, the gothic country house Hamsterley Hall has been declared to be at the highest level of risk.

Hamsterley Hall, County Durham
Hamsterley Hall, County Durham

It has been home to three historically important families who have shaped the building from the 1760s to the 1930s but the hall has suffered from decades of decline leaving the property with an estimated repair bill of £4 million.

A major structural failure in the service wing this year resulted in its controlled demolition, and the remaining sections of the buildings now require immediate and substantial repair if the hall is not to be lost forever.

Also added to the list are Friarside Chapel, Durham; Church of St Andrew, Winston; Barnard Castle keep, chapel and dovecote.

Off the list come Bounds Wall, Ushaw College; Church of St Cuthbert, Durham; Church of St John the Baptist, St John’s Chapel.

Alnwick and Chester-le-Street conservation areas have bene placed on the list, while Spittal conservation area at Berwick has come off.


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