Worthy of listed status, Percy Thrower's Blue Peter garden

Mention the words "Italian sunken garden" and almost everyone who grew up in Britain in the latter part of the 20th century will immediately know what is being discussed.

The Blue Peter garden – home to a bust of Petra, the first Blue Peter pet, a plaque to its designer Percy Thrower and the grave of George the tortoise – achieved iconic status in the minds of millions of Britons.

Now this patch of greenery in west London, which is "smaller than it looks on TV" according to BBC insiders, is likely to be protected from redevelopment.

English Heritage is recommending that the core parts of the 58-year-old BBC Television Centre, on Wood Lane, should be given a grade-II listing.

The BBC is reportedly considering selling the building, but the heritage watchdog said it had "strongly urged" the Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport to recognise its "extraordinary cultural and architectural significance".

Television Centre was home to Top of the Pops, early Doctor Who, the Children in Need programmes and Terry Wogan's shows, but it was Blue Peter that became part of the national psyche.

Peter Beacham, heritage protection director for English Heritage, said: "The nation has an immense fondness for this building and what it represents for our culture. We all feel we know areas such as the Blue Peter garden and the studios, where people have watched significant moments in broadcasting over the past 50 years.

"Blue Peter is an instance of a programme that has had a great influence on the way things here have developed – stuff that was done there at Television Centre affected the way Britain has been in the second half of the 20th century."

English Heritage said that the central building itself was an example of "very good 1950s design" with "dazzling mosaics, a gilded statue of Helios and the familiar pattern of atom-like discs on the front".

The distinctive drum-shaped core of the centre, which houses the offices and main studios; the scenery workshop with its barrel-vaulted ceiling and rows of circular rooflights; and the "light and airy" canteen should all be protected, according to English Heritage.

In 2011, the BBC is moving its children's television department to Manchester and it is believed this will involved the creation of a new Blue Peter garden.

The plaque to Thrower, along with a bronze bust of Petra and the most recent time capsule are expected to be taken north, but more serious alterations to the original garden would require listed building consent if the Government agrees with English Heritage's recommendation.

The prospect of the sunken garden being covered in asphalt would horrify many. When vandals caused serious damage to the garden in 1983, there was widespread shock: plants were trampled, flagstones hauled up and various pieces of garden stonework smashed. Oil was also poured into the pond, killing several fish.

The BBC said it was "happy to discuss" any proposal for listing with English Heritage, adding that it would make its views on the historic and architectural merit of Television Centre known to the Government.

"The BBC has announced that it does not intend to occupy the whole of Television Centre after 2012, but any reference to detailed development plans is premature," it added.

Weird and wonderful listed buildings

A glorified garden shed in Horham, Suffolk, became a grade-II listed building when the Government agreed the small brick structure should be protected as the place where Benjamin Britten composed some of his later works, including Phaedra and Death in Venice.

* A scattering of small concrete buildings might seem insignificant, but Bawdsey Radar Station is a grade-II listed building nevertheless. It became operational in 1936 and was the first radar installation in the world, helping to win the Battle of Britain.

*Listing a former pie shop might sound unusual, but then so is No 41 Kingsland High Street, in Dalston, London. Now a Chinese restaurant, it was built as a stylish eel and pie shop in 1862. Intertwined eels can be seen on mirror frames, delft-style tile pictures show scenes of Thames barges and there is a frieze of fish on the cornice.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate