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English Heritage (Designation)

Reject at Initial Assessment Report

04 February 2013

Application Name: Number: Type: Heritage Category: Address: 1-7 Snowsfields,London

Vinegar Yard Warehouse 475914 New Listing

County

District

District Type London Borough

Parish Non Civil Parish

Greater London Authority Southwark

Recommendation:

Reject

Assessment CONTEXT No. 9-17 Vinegar Yard stands within the Bermondsey Street Conservation Area, Southwark. There are no current planning applications relating to the site. The building is currently vacant and is highlighted as a building of significance in Southwark Council's Conservation Area Appraisal. Stanfords map of 1862 and subsequent maps of the 1860s, though lacking detail, indicate that the warehouse was not present on the site at that time. It appears on the OS 1872 edition as a hop warehouse, one of several warehouses in the area used for the storage and transit of Kentish hops brought in by rail to London Bridge Station. It was later used for a variety of goods, including canes and bamboo in the 1920s and leather in the 1960s. Warehousing was often speculatively built for letting out, and it is probable that Vinegar Yard formed part of the boom in warehouse construction in Bermondsey prompted by the extension of London Bridge Station in the mid-1860s. The warehouse suffered considerable damage in 1944 from a V1 rocket, and the roof, top storey and south elevation were rebuilt in 1946. The adjacent buildings on the south and west sides were destroyed or subsequently demolished, leaving the warehouse as a freestanding structure. The owners of Vinegar Yard have submitted a building appraisal by Ettwein Bridges Architects which contests listing. This has been taken into consideration in our assessment along with the submissions made by the applicant. HISTORY/DETAILS The warehouse has an irregular, wedge-shaped footprint, dictated by the constraints of the sites existing boundaries, consisting of three straight sides to the north, south and west, and a canted north-eastern elevation with a short, single-bay eastern return. It is four storeys high above a semi-basement, built in stock brick with painted cement rendering to the areas where buildings once abutted, with a corrugated asbestos roof. The windows have stone cills, gauged-brick segmental arches and cast-iron frames, some are bricked up; those to the rebuilt top storey have concrete lintels and steel frames. The north-east elevation retains its original full-height loading bay or hatch rank with timber doors, external jib crane complete with chain and hook, and associated internal hydraulically powered lifting mechanism. A second hatch rank on the north elevation has been infilled with brick. A third hatch rank, on the short eastern

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English Heritage (Designation)

Reject at Initial Assessment Report

04 February 2013

return, was inserted during the post-war reconstruction; this has an electrically powered crane. The rebuilt south elevation has a central entrance and two rows of windows with concrete lintels. The west elevation is blind. The interior follows typical warehouse construction with timber beams supported on cast-iron cruciform stanchions. A timber stair is understood to survive. ASSESSMENT The Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (March 2010) advises that from 1700-1840, most buildings are listed; after 1840 progressively greater selection is necessary. Mid-late C19 warehouses survive in considerable numbers nationally, and guidance in English Heritages Listing Selection Guide for Industrial Structures (April 2011) stresses the importance of technological innovation or architectural quality in assessing examples for designation. The degree of alteration is also an important consideration. No. 9-17 Vinegar Yard has considerable local interest as a survival of a once-commonplace building type in this locality, and makes an important contribution to the conservation area in which it stands. In a national context however, it does not meet the criteria for listing for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest and technical innovation: its design and construction follow a standard form for mid-late C19 warehouses and there is no particular claim to interest on either of these grounds; * Intactness: a significant proportion of the building, comprising the entire roof structure and over 50% of the external walls, has been rebuilt. Its integrity is further compromised by scarring from the loss of abutting buildings, infilling of openings and poor-quality repairs. The survival of one original hatch rank with its associated cranage, while relatively rare, does not outweigh these cumulative losses. The application cites No. 55 Great Suffolk Street, Bermondsey, a mid-C19 warehouse listed at Grade II in 2008, as a comparator to Vinegar Yard; the former is considerably more intact than the latter, however. CONCLUSION No. 9-17 Vinegar Yard should not be added to the statutory list.

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