IThe battle to get the New Piccadilly listed by English Heritage

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Lorenzo Marioni, New Piccadilly Cafe, June 2005 (Pic: M Jonholt)

"English Heritage works in partnership with the central government departments, local authorities, voluntary bodies and the private sector to: Conserve and enhance the historic environment; Broaden public access to the heritage; Increase people's understanding of the past..."

This just in... (Sep 14 2005) English Heritage to reconsider terms for New Piccadilly Listing...


Key reasons that English Heritage have given to date for NOT listing the New Piccadilly cafe:

1) Lacks architectural quality
Little in the cafe is of really great design, it consists mostly of workaday fittings. (Objection: the New Piccadilly has one of the best preserved Festival of Britain interiors - with frontage and sign - in the country. The booths, light fittings, menu, coffee boiler, and shop front are unique and rare.)

2) Most of the cafe isn't fixed
And so can't be considered as part of the structure. Catherine Croft, director of the Twentieth Century Society, says: "A lot of the charm [of the New Piccadilly] is in the furniture and the menus and what's on the tables. It's popular art, not high architecture. Listing can only protect the building elements." (Objection: the sign, 50s shopfront, booths and stools are fixed. English Heritage has recently focused on the appreciation of pub interiors; the New Piccadilly deserves the same attention.)

3) It suffers in comparision with the Pellicci (which was listed)
If you stripped the Pellicci bare the marquetry and distinctive yellow front and lettering would all remain; the New Piccadilly would just be a shell. (Objection: the New Piccadilly is every bit a modern cultural icon as Pellicci's - architecturally strong and of special interest, comprehensive, rich, intact and well cared for.)

To complain about this ...

Elain Harwood
English Heritage
23 Savile Row

0845 3010 009


English Heritage is a public body with responsibility for all aspects of protecting and promoting the historic environment.

Officially known as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, English Heritage is an Executive Non-departmental Public Body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

English Heritage advises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on proposals to "list" buildings of special historic or architectural interest.

English Heritage expert staff also advise local authorities and, where necessary, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on applications for listed building consent relating to Grade I or II* buildings or the demolition of any listed building.

English Heritage works in partnership with the central government departments, local authorities, voluntary bodies and the private sector to:

- Conserve and enhance the historic environment 
- Broaden public access to the heritage
- Increase people's understanding of the past

English Heritage meets these responsibilities by:

- acting as a national and international champion for the heritage
- giving grants for the conservation of historic buildings, monuments and landscapes
- maintaining registers of significant historic buildings, monuments and landscapes
- advising on the preservation of the historic environment
- encouraging broader public involvement with the heritage
- promoting education and research
- caring for Stonehenge and over 400 other historic properties on behalf of the nation
- maintaining the National Monuments Record as the public archive of the heritage
- generating income for the benefit of the historic environment

English Heritage consider buildings for listing in these ways:

We look at individual buildings, hundreds of which are brought to our attention each year by local authorities, amenity and historical societies, and individual members of the public. Without this public interest, many important buildings might be lost or damaged.

Area Lists
Since the 1970s the number of listed buildings has increased fourfold through our national re-survey of England's built heritage, which has just been completed. Every part of England was visited by expert fieldworkers, supervised by English Heritage, and the best buildings selected against the listing criteria.

Thematic Listing
Our priority now is to focus our attention on particular building types which are under-represented in the lists, through our Thematic Listing Programme. Recent and current areas of work include:

Industrial heritage: our work here is closely related to the industrial component of the Monuments Protection Programme. Work so far has included the lead mining and textile manufacturing industries, and post-war industrial buildings.

Pubs: pubs have become increasingly standardised in recent years, and although many hundreds of pubs are already listed for their age or architectural qualities, very few have been listed for their importance as pubs. This means that the importance of many pub interiors has not been fully appreciated. We have launched a campaign which aims to make the public more aware of how the listing criteria are applied to pubs, to ensure that this interesting part of our heritage is adequately protected.

Industrial cities: the area lists for Liverpool and Manchester, are already being reviewed to take account of our increased appreciation of the industrial significance of many of their buildings, particularly their warehouses.

The defence of Britain: the significance of many buildings associated with national defence, including barracks, dockyards, and airfield structures, has only recently been fully understood. Surveys carried out with the co-operation of the Ministry of Defence will ensure that the most important buildings will be protected.

Post-war Listing
Recommending modern buildings for listing causes more controversy than any other English Heritage activity. In 1987 the principle was established that post-war buildings could be listed, and by the end of 1995 the importance of the period had been recognized by the listing of 189 separate buildings.

In the same year the listing of post-war buildings was opened up to public debate and consultation, in recognition of the strong views many people hold on the subject in general and individual buildings in particular.

We decided to look at the whole field of buildings dating from the period 1945-1965 by building type and held a series of consultations on all our proposals for listing in 1995 and 1996, backed up by photographic exhibitions and publications explaining the basis on which post-war listing recommendations are made. These have attracted much press coverage and enormous public interest."

"From 1 April 2005 English Heritage will be responsible for the administration of the listing system.

New notification and consultation procedures for owners and local authorities will be introduced, as well as clearer documentation for list entries.

Further changes will be made to the listing system throughout 2005/06, including the introduction of new information packs for owners.

The intention is to make the heritage protection system simpler, more transparent, and easier for everyone to use. "

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