An 1820s railway pub built before the development of train stations and still serving pints is one of some 227 historic buildings and sites added to the National Heritage List for England this year. Others include a drive-in “carriage splash” likened to a 17th-century carwash, a Second World War radar station, and a Norfolk manor house that has had so many additions over the centuries that it resembles an entire village street.
Altogether, over 400,000 sites have been granted protection through addition to the list, which is managed by Historic England on behalf of the government. Here are eight of the most interesting new, upgraded or amended entries of 2023.
The Railway Tavern, Darlington, grade II listed
This inn at Darlington, County Durham, was one of three built in 1826-1827 by the pioneering Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR). According to Historic England, these railway pubs with accommodation influenced by old coaching inns, were effectively “proto-railway stations”, built before the concept of the station was fully developed.
Each of the S&DR’s pubs was built next to one of its coal depots, which were expected to be the railway’s primary source of revenue. Their customers included buyers of coal who had travelled over long distances. The Darlington depot was at the end of a short branch line and — unlike S&DR’s inn at Heighington on the main line — its inn did not develop into a station after passenger services unexpectedly became successful. It was nevertheless the most successful as a pub and is the only one of the three still operating as such.
Barkway carriage wash, Hertfordshire, grade II listed
Barkway, near Royston, was an important staging point on routes from London to Cambridge and the north of England during the era of horse-drawn coaching. Its carriage wash, or “carriage splash”, was in use from around 1600 into the early 20th century and is said by Historic England to be the earliest known facility resembling a modern car wash.
Carriage washes had two main functions: to clean the wheels and name plates of coaches and to soak the wheels to help prevent the wood from shrinking from the metal rims. The one at Barkway consists of a brick-lined structure with a gentle slope at one end leading into the water, which is fed by an underground channel. It was the right depth to submerge the wheels without flooding the carriage or being too deep for the horses.
Church of St Nicholas, Fleetwood, Lancashire, grade II listed
This is a rare example in the north of England of a church by Laurence King, one of Britain’s leading ecclesiastical architects of the postwar period. Built in 1960-62, its sculptural design in the form of an upturned boat is dominated by sheer tower walls and tall copper-clad roofs with triangular dormer windows representing sails. The design emphasises Fleetwood’s strong maritime heritage, and its dedication to St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors, cements this association.
The light, lofty interior, with trusses rising from the ground like a ship’s ribs, even incorporates red and green port and starboard lights either side of the crossing. Original fixtures and fittings include finely carved and painted statues of the Virgin and St Nicholas, designed by the architect. King was a gifted designer and an important voice for the addition of new artworks to churches, intended for the beautification of worship.
Lower Boscaswell Fogou, St Just, Cornwall, Scheduled Monument listing amended
The name fogou derives from the Cornish for a cave, ogo. Fogous are stone-built underground tunnels up to 30m long and 2m wide, usually with a long passage and sometimes with a chamber and side passages. Their drystone walls were built in a trench, roofed with flat slabs and covered by earth. They were mainly constructed in the early Iron Age (500BC-200BC) and continued in use into the Roman period (AD43-AD410). Only 15 are known to survive in England, all in Cornwall.
The structures are associated with settlements and may have been used as safe refuges or for storing food and valuables. In pre-Roman times, they may also have had religious significance. This fogou was first recorded in 1842 and first scheduled in 1970. Its entry in the list has been amended to include findings from excavations on the extent of the tunnel and its likely relationship with an Iron Age or Roman period courtyard house on the site.
Northwold Manor, Northwold, Norfolk, upgraded to grade II*
This genteel residence was owned for much of its history by the Carter family — relatives of Egyptologist Howard Carter — and is a time capsule of the evolution of country-house design over 500 years. Sitting in a one-acre plot with a large walled garden at the heart of the village of Northwold, it has been extended repeatedly and is now around 60m long. According to Historic England, the building resembles a village high street more than a single family home.
The oldest section is a Tudor cottage that was later incorporated into the manor house complex. Highlights of the property include a 17th-century oak staircase, panelled 18th-century parlours, a Regency ballroom and an octagonal turret added as recently as 2016. The 1814 fanlight above the main entrance, carved from a single piece of oak, is a rare survival of its type.
Chain Home Low Radar Station, Craster, Northumberland, grade II listed
Built on an escarpment in 1941 and operational until July 1944, this Second World War radar station remains intact, with two principal buildings: a rectangular transmit and receive block (TXRX), and a T-shaped stand-by generator 25m to the south. It served as a small, low-cover coastal radar station designed to detect and monitor the movement of German shipping as well as low-flying aircraft, while Britain was at risk of invasion.
The site is one of only eight of its type to survive in complete or near-complete condition. These structures are normally quite isolated. However, this one stands in a historic militarised landscape ranging from the medieval Dunstanburgh Castle through to Second World War “coastal crust” defences including nearby weapons pits, slit trenches and pillboxes.
The Light House, Hampstead, North London, grade II listed
The Light House, close to Hampstead Heath, was designed by the architect Ivan Simovic (1932-2012) for his family. Built between 1984 and 1985, Historic England says it stands as an important and well-preserved example of how big Post-Modern ideas could be used in a small-scale domestic project. The design makes ingenious use of a tight wedge-shaped plot, with the interior arranged “as efficiently as in a space capsule”, as contemporary critic Martin Pawley noted.
A central element of the house’s interest is its use of playful spatial effects and unfolding views of the garden and summer house. The glazed triple-height core allows light to penetrate deep into the building, casting sharp shadows against the curved internal surfaces. The whole lower-ground floor functions as an open entertaining and living space. This includes, at the centre, a formal dining area capable of seating 50 people.
Former Liverpool Furnishing Company Showroom, Liverpool, grade II listed
This richly ornamented former furniture showroom at 104 and 106 London Road, Liverpool, dates back to 1899, when it was purpose-built for a company then operating next door, run by Jacob Lipson. The Baroque red terracotta exterior and landmark clock tower were praised at the time as good examples for developers to follow. Today, they remain an impressive reminder of the splendour of late Victorian commercial architecture.
Ghostly lettering spelling out “THE LIVERPOOL FURNISHING Co” is still visible, over 100 years after Lipson’s business ceased trading and the building was converted into a bank and offices. Lipson, originally from Poland, was a prominent figure in the local Jewish community and became president of the New Hebrew Congregation. The opening of his new building was celebrated with a Jewish blessing and a banquet in the basement.
If you have information, stories or photographs about any listed sites in England that you would like to share via the National Heritage List website, you can do so through the Missing Pieces Project.