Is there a listed building down your street? Using the new ‘London Listed Buildings’ layer, you can now find out! Simply activate the new layer here (click on ‘Use this Layer’ then ‘I’m done’) to explore all the listed buildings within the bounds of the M25.
The idea of ‘listing’ a building originated around the time of the Second World War, as the Town and Country Planning Acts of 1944 and 1947 established a survey to decide which buildings should be demolished and which protected in the event of damage from bombing. After nearly a quarter-century, 120,000 listed buildings had been selected, though these records were often lacking in information. Consistent resurveys since then have updated and broadened ‘The List’, which since 2011 has been available online on the Historic England website.
Working with this list, we placed the 19,200 listed buildings inside the M25 on our interactive online map, where you can view their name and location, along with the ‘grade’ they have received – a marker of the historical importance of the building and the necessity of preserving them. There is also a hyperlink to their complete record on the Historic England website.
Browsing the map with this layer activated quickly reveals interesting histories:
- There are listed buildings spanning the whole range of London’s history, which often makes for fascinating juxtapositions of old and new. St Paul’s Cathedral, rebuilt following the Great Fire of London in 1666 according to Sir Christopher Wren’s design, is of course Grade I listed – but so, perhaps more surprisingly, are the three K6 telephone kiosks in its near vicinity. The K6, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1935, is the most common red telephone box, and deemed just as worthy of listed status as that great early modern cathedral.
- Utilizing other layers simultaneously is perhaps the quickest and most intuitive way of understanding the ways in which London has changed. Cleopatra’s Needle and the Norman Shaw Buildings – better known as New Scotland Yard – are both listed buildings well known to those living in and visiting London. But, if we overlay John Rocque’s 1746 map of London, Westminster and Southwark, they are consumed by the River Thames! This owes itself to the fact that both buildings are situated on the Victoria Embankment, construction of which began only in 1865, and is a stark reminder of the influence that waterways, especially the Thames, have had on London’s historical development.
- Moving away from the city centre, thousands of listed buildings are also waiting to be discovered in Greater London. Parish churches such as the Church of St John in Shirley and the Church of St Mary in Kenton, village halls such as those in Waltham Forest and Dulwich, both of which are named after St Barnabas, and intriguing outliers like the ‘Rom’ skatepark in Hornchurch have all been granted listed status.
These few examples give only a taste of depth and diversity of the listed buildings in London, and the best way to appreciate this is of course by using the new layer directly – try it out now here.
Blog post by Jack Graveney