70 years of preservation for England’s historic buildings
Listing is when specific landscapes and historic buildings are recognised as special interest and placed on the Statutory List of Buildings. These buildings are protected for the current and future generations to understand England’s intriguing history and cannot be altered without permission from the local planning authority.
Each building is categorised into Grade I, Grade II and Grade II to signify its individual importance with Grade I buildings having the highest significance. Marking 70 years of the National Heritage List, a further five fascinating places have been listed this month and these include a First World War wireless station and Cabmen’s Shelter in London.
When the list first began, its initial purpose was to identify the most unique buildings so that they could be salvaged in the aftermath of the Second World War. The historic list has since continued to grow over the decades and now has approximately 400,000 entries which range from windmills and palaces to dung pits and fairground rides.
Amongst the latest additions to the list of England’s best-preserved buildings is Underhill, Britain’s first modern earth-sheltered home. Designed by the architect Arthur Quarmby and built in 1975, the impressive hobbit-hole is nestled within the Peak District National Park with much of the building blending into the rolling green hills of the Holme Valley.
Described as a luxury ‘hobbit house’, Quarmby designed the 4000 sq ft home for himself and his family who lived there for around 41 years before putting it on the market last year. Despite it being built underground, the south-facing position of the building means that natural light floods into the house. This is further enhanced by the 20ft sliding windows at the front of the home as well as various roof lanterns.
The inspiration behind the unusual architecture has been Quarmby’s interest in building into the earth and connecting nature with the artificial world. Interestingly, Underhill represents one of the first pieces of sustainable, green architecture in the UK - an architectural trend has only just taken flight in recent years.