One of the handful of surviving green painted Edwardian cabbies’ shelters, a Jewish cemetery, and an underground home in Yorkshire described as a “luxury hobbit house” will all be made listed buildings as part of celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the system.
The listing system has preserved thousands of England’s most beautiful, historically important or downright weird buildings and structures since it was created in the ruins left by the second world war. The buildings identified were originally added to “salvage lists” of structures to be preserved in postwar reconstruction.
The National Heritage List for England now has 400,000 entries, including 710 windmills, 262 palaces, 72 piers, 16 plague crosses, 13 dung pits including an 18th-century example in a Devon farmyard, three scoreboards, and the 1919 wooden rollercoaster at Dreamland in Margate.
Debbie Mays, head of listing at Historic England, said that “the diverse character of our land and its people is marked in the fabric of England’s buildings and places” – a diversity reflected in the five new Grade II listings announced on Monday.
The cabbies’ shelter – a Tardis-like structure with room inside for a kitchen, serving counter and seating – was built in Grosvenor Gardens in London in 1906, a rare survivor from many created when social reformers worried that cab men were spending too much time in the pub. It is still in daily use by London taxi drivers.
The curvy underground house, Underhill at Holme in West Yorkshire, complete with swimming pool and cave, was the first modern earth-sheltered house when it was built in the 1970s as a family home by architect Arthur Quarmby, president of the British Earth Sheltering Association. When he downsized last year it went on the market for £700,000.
The 1870s buildings included a prayer hall at the United Synagogue Cemetery at Willesden in London, which was grand enough to earn the title of “the Rolls-Royce of Jewish cemeteries”, the burial place of choice for prominent members of the Anglo-Jewish Ashkenazi communities. Those buried there include the artist Mark Gertler, the scientist Rosalind Franklin, who contributed to the discovery of the structure of DNA, and Sir Joseph Lyons, founder of the Lyons Cornerhouse catering empire.
The new listings are completed by a 1970s greenhouse-like home, Pillwood in Cornwall, designed by John Miller, and a thoroughly dull-looking bungalow in Durham built as a Royal Navy intelligence-gathering wireless station just before the outbreak of the first world war.
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