A church-owned country house in Northamptonshire has been named in a top ten of the country’s most endangered buildings.
The Victorian Society has today revealed that burnt-out Overstone Hall, Northampton, is one of its Top Ten Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales.
The Society, backed by TV presenter Griff Rhys Jones, is now urging the Hall’s owners, The New Testament Church of God, to take action to ensure the building survives, selling for less than £1 million if necessary.
A spokesman for the society said: “The New Testament Church of God put the hall up for sale in 2010 for £1m illion but it remains unsold at that high price.
“The Church was reportedly ordered to carry out work to ensure public safety in June after severe vandalism.
“The owners should face up to the responsibility of owning a historic building and take action to ensure it survives - either by finding a tenant or selling it a more realistic price.”
The 2015 list also includes Brighton’s seafront walk, Kinmel Hall, often dubbed the ‘Welsh Versailles’, Birnbeck Pier, Sheerness Boat Store, London’s gothic Ladywell Baths.
The Society’s says inclusion in the Top Ten often leads to national exposure and new interest in the buildings selected, which could help save them.
people walk their dogs.
Director of the Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe, said: “We’re grateful to everyone who nominated Overstone Hall.
“Like all the buildings included in this year’s Top Ten, Overstone Hall is a listed building meaning that the Government has recognised its national importance. Overstone deserves better than its current situation.
“I urge the public to share the Top Ten list, and Griff’s message, to help raise awareness of these buildings and help them to find the investment they desperately need.”
Nobody was available for comment at The New Testament Church of God.
The history of a much-loved building:
-The Grade II listed building was built in the 1860s, but was badly damaged by fire on Easter Monday, 2001.
-It was built by banker and financier, Samuel Jones Loyd, who was Baron Overstone.
-An innovative building when new, Overstone Hall was built with double walls, giving it the earliest known cavity wall insulation. It also had a central heating system, gas lighting and a butler’s lift.
-However, Lord Overstone is said to have disliked the design and never lived there.
-In the 20th century, the building, which had well over 100 rooms, was converted to a college and used by the Conservative Party as a base from which to train political students.
-It later became Overstone School for Girls and operated for 50 years until forced to close in 1979.
-Two years later, the building was bought by the New Testament Church of God, to be used as their national headquarters.
-But on April 16, 2001, a fire broke out inside, destroying about half of the property.
-In 2009, the New Testament Church of God moved into new headquarters in Cheyne Walk in Northampton town centre,
-Magistrates ordered the church to carry out urgent repairs in June this year, saying it had been left in a “dangerous” state.
-At the time Daventry District Council applied for a civil order instructing the church to make the building safe within the next four weeks.
-The Court heard that another leaseholder, the Abbey Dorcas Society Ltd, left the site in November 2014, so Overstone Hall is now unoccupied.
-Part of the building was also badly vadalised in January this year.