Protection urged for post-war landmarks

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The Independent Online
JONATHAN GLANCEY

Architecture Correspondent

The spectacular span of the Severn Bridge is among the 67 post-war buildings which wererecommended for listing yesterday by English Heritage.

Should John Gummer, the Secretary of State for the Environment, take the conservation body's advice, the new candidates will join England'sexisting 447,891 listed buildings.

The latest heritage recommendations have been divided into four groups - churches, schools, public buildings and bridges. They include spectacular and well-known fixtures - such as the Severn Bridge - noble institutions like the Royal College of Physicians, in Regent's Park, London and a veritable congregation of churches, most of them little-known except to those who pray in them and the architectural historians at English Heritage who believe them worthy of protection.

Little known, perhaps, yet many of the churches John Gummer will cast his eyes over in the next few months were designed by some of England's finest 20th-century architects. Sir Gilbert Scott is best known for his designs for Liverpool Cathedral, Battersea Power Station and Waterloo Bridge, but he was also architect, in his seventies, of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (1954-59), a brick church on fashionable Kensington Church Street, London, rarely given a second glance by the frenzied shoppers and ladies- who-lunch, strutting past its arty-crafty doors.

Equally, Sir Edward Maufe has been much lauded for his austere Guildford Cathedral, yet, in the twilight of a distinguished career, he found a corner on his drawing board to design the much humbler St Mary-in-the- Park, Willingdon, near Eastbourne, Sussex.

To Maufe we also owe one special and unusual building in English Heritage's church group - the haunting Air Force Memorial on Coopers Hill, high above the spot on the River Thames at Runnymede where King John signed the Magna Carta In here are the names of those who, with no worthy body to save them for posterity, died flying during the Second World War.

Not only is English Heritage's list wide-ranging, stylistically and geographically, it is also open, for the first time, to public debate. The 67 recommendations are on show at an exhibition, from tomorrow until 23 March at the Royal Institute of British Architects, London. Forms will be provided for members of the public to give their views.

"This new challenge of deciding which modern buildings merit special attention involves us all", said Sir Jocelyn Stevens, chairman of English Heritage . "The politics and social trends of the Fifties and Sixties have recently been thoroughly re- examined. The period's art, music and fashion are experiencing a revival. Now is the time to re-appraise the architecture".

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