Five UK sites on 'watch list' of endangered monuments

Michael McCarthy
Tuesday 06 October 2009 19:08

Graveyards in Edinburgh which house the remains of some of Scotland’s greatest historical figures, from Adam Smith to David Hume, are in urgent need of a makeover, according to a charity dedicated to preserving historic monuments.

A group of five burial grounds in the centre of the Scottish capital - Greyfriars Kirkyard, Canongate Kirkyard, St Cuthberts Kirkyard, Old Calton Burial Ground and New Calton Burial Ground - have "deteriorated" because of "years of exposure to nature's elements, vandalism, and neglect”, according to the World Monuments Fund, based in New York.

Yesterday the fund placed the graveyards on its "watch list" of what it considers to be the 100 most endangered historic sites in the world, published every two years.

This year's list (actually of 93 locations) include temples, churches, rice terraces, walled cities, historic centres, and cultural landscapes around the globe. Among them are five sites from Britain and another from Ireland, ranging from Dudley Zoo to Sheerness Dockyard.

The Edinburgh burial grounds head the list, the fund saying they "give significant insight into the history, culture, and society of Scotland from the early 17th to the late 19th century". Among the many figures of the Scottish Enlightenment at rest there are Adam Smith (1729-90), the father of modern economics, who has a moderately ornate monument in Canongate Kirkyard, and David Hume (1711-76), the philosopher and historian, who has a splendid circular tomb in Old Calton.

The other sites put on this year’s "watch list" are the Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland; the Tecton Buildings, Dudley Zoo, West Midlands; Sheerness Dockyard, Isle of Sheppey, Kent; and St John the Evangelist Parish Church, Shobdon, Herefordshire. The Irish entry is an 18th-century mansion, Russborough, in County Wicklow.

Listing the sites and structures does not mean that they automatically receive financial help from the fund; rather it is hoped that the publicity may be a catalyst for local and national restoration efforts.

The Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church was home to one of the largest Methodist congregations in Belfast, but has now been derelict for close to 20 years and has suffered extensive physical degradation. It is located at a major interface between Catholic and Protestant populations and a result, the building is now perceived as neutral territory in a deeply polarised area.

The Tecton Buildings at Dudley Zoo, constructed between 1935 and 1937, are animal display houses made from reinforced concrete, some of which are no longer considered suitable for housing animals. But they are among the most important examples of modernist architecture and in urgent need of attention.

Sheerness Dockyard was built in 1815. At present it is a commercial port, but the most significant parts of the site are unused and decaying. Elsewhere the area currently most unaltered and complete - the Georgian Terraces - is marked for redevelopment against the wishes of local people.St John the Evangelist Parish Church in Shobdon in Herefordshire was originally 14th-century but was rebuilt in the mid 18th century and is now widely regarded as an outstanding example of the mid-18th-century Rococo Gothic style, largely influenced by Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill in Twickenham. But the building needs restoring.

Russborough in County Wicklow is an 18th century Palladian mansion overlooking a large park that falls to the valley of the River Liffey. The park, one of the earliest designed landscapes in Ireland, is in need of restoration.

World Monuments Fund: 2010 World Monuments Watch

AFGHANISTAN Old City of Herat

ARGENTINA Buenos Aires Historic Center

Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires

ARMENIA Aghjots Monastery, Garni Village

AUSTRIA Wiener Werkbundsiedlung, Vienna

BAHRAIN Suq al-Qaysariya, Muharraq

BELGIUM Sanatorium Joseph Lemaire, Tombeek

BHUTAN Phajoding, Thimphu

BOLIVIA Convento-Museo Santa Teresa, Cochabamba

Misiones Jesuíticas de Chiquitos

CHILE Churches of Arica Parinacota

COLOMBIA San Fernando and San José Fortresses,

Cartagena de Indias

Santa Fe de Antioquia Historic Center

COMOROS Ujumbe Palace, Mutsamudu

CYPRUS Historic Walled City of Famagusta

ECUADOR Todos Santos Complex, Cuenca

EGYPT New Gourna Village, Luxor, West Bank

Old Mosque of Shali Fortress, Siwa Oasis

FRANCE Hôtel de Monnaies, Villemagne l’Argentière

Parish Church of Saint-Martin-des-Puits

GREECE Churches of Lesvos

GUATEMALA Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala City

HAITI Gingerbread Houses, Port-au-Prince

INDIA Chiktan Castle, Kargil

Dechen Namgyal Gonpa, Nyoma

Historic Civic Centre of Shimla

Kothi, Qila Mahmudabad

IRAQ Al-Hadba’ Minaret, Mosul

IRELAND Russborough, Blessington, County Wicklow

ISRAEL Old City of Lod

OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM Cathedral of Saint James

ITALY Historic Center of Craco

Ponte Lucano, Tivoli

Villa of San Gilio, Oppido Lucano

JAPAN Kyoto Machiya Townhouses

JORDAN Damiya Dolmen Field, Jordan Valley

KAZAKHSTAN Vernacular Architecture of the Kazakh Steppe


LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC Hintang Archaeological Landscape, Houameuang District

Tam Ting, Nam Kong River at Ban Pak Ou

MEXICO Acueducto de Tembleque, Zempoala to Otumba

Las Pozas, Xilitla

Templo de San Bartolo Soyaltepec

Templo de San Felipe Tindaco, Tlaxiaco

Templo y Convento de los Santos Reyes, Convento de la Communidad, Metztitlán

REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA Assumption of Our Lady Church, Causeni

MOROCCO Lixus, Larache

PAKISTAN Petroglyphs in the Diamer-Basha Dam, Area, Northern Areas

Shikarpoor Historic City Center

PANAMA Colón Historic Center

Corozal Cemetery, Panama City

Mount Hope Cemetery, Colón

PARAGUAY La Santísima Trinidad del Paraná, Trinidad

PERU Chankillo, San Rafael District

Jesuit Churches of San José and San, Javier, Nazca

Pachacamac Sanctuary, Lurín

Pikillaqta, Cuzco

Santuario Histórico Machu Picchu, Cuzco

Tambo Colorado, Humay

San Francisco de Asís de Marcapata

Santa Cruz de Jerusalén de Juli

PHILIPPINES Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, Municipality of Santa Maria

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Ifugao

San Sebastian Basilica, Manila

ROMANIA Fortified Churches of Southern Transylvania, Sibiu

RUSSIAN FEDERATION Church of the Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign, Podolsk District

SLOVAKIA Lietava Castle

SOUTH AFRICA Wonderwerk Cave, Ga-Segonyana/Kuruman

SPAIN Historic Landscape of Sevilla

Historic Landscape of Toledo

Numancia, Soria and Garray

Old Town of Ávila

Route of Santiago de Compostela

Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona

SRI LANKA Dutch Fort in Batticaloa

TANZANIA Pangani Historic Town

UGANDA Wamala King’s Tombs, Nansana, Wakiso District

UNITED KINGDOM Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, Belfast

Edinburgh Historic Graveyards

Sheerness Dockyard

St. John the Evangelist Parish Church, Shobdon

Tecton Buildings at Dudley Zoological Gardens

UNITED STATES The Atlanta-Fulton Central Public Library, Atlanta, Georgia

The Bridges of the Merritt Parkway, Connecticut

Cultural Landscape of Hadley, Massachusetts

Miami Marine Stadium, Florida

Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, New Orleans, Louisiana

Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin

Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

UZBEKISTAN Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm, Republic of Karakalpakstan

VENEZUELA Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas

Parque del Este, Caracas

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