12 iconic sites preserved by the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust in 2019
PUBLISHED: 14:07 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:07 26 February 2020
Surrey Historic Buildings Trust highlights some of its biggest heritage success stories from the past year
Surrey has a wealth of historic buildings, from medieval barns to Victorian mansions. But this heritage is continually at risk. The passage of time, environmental conditions, changes of use, or neglect - all of these things can harm an ancient structure.
So, preserving our built environment is a never-ending task. It requires the expertise of conservationists, architects, craftspeople, stone-masons, roof-thatchers and others - people who understand how these buildings were constructed in the first place, and know how they can be repaired and maintained.
And it would not be possible at all without the vigilance of Surrey's conservation officers and a commitment to conservation by the building-owners themselves.
Thankfully, there is an organisation that helps to promote the cause of heritage conservation here in Surrey - and that is the charity, Surrey Historic Buildings Trust (SHBT).
The trust was formed in 1980, when a former High Sheriff of Surrey, Philip Henman, pledged the sum of £25,000 for historic building conservation in the county, which the county council then matched.
Four decades later the Trust is still going strong. As well as organising the bi-annual Surrey Heritage Awards, the trust has a Small Grants Scheme to promote best practice in building conservation.
These grants are typically between £1,000 and £3,000 each and can make a significant difference in enabling property-owners to undertake repairs using the correct traditional methods and techniques.
Altogether, since its formation in 1980, SHBT has given out over £500,000 in grants for heritage conservation, as well as playing a leading role in promoting awareness and understanding of Surrey's unique and diverse architectural heritage.
Here are just a few of the conservation projects that have been supported by the SHBT Small Grants scheme over the past 12 months:
Providence Chapel, Charlwood: The trust awarded a grant of £3,000 for repairs to the veranda of this former nonconformist chapel in the village of Charlwood, near Gatwick. This is a distinctive Grade II* Listed building and is on Historic England's Heritage At Risk register.
The building has had an unusual history: in 1797 it was constructed in Horsham as the guardhouse of a barracks to house the troops assembled to repel a French invasion. After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 it became redundant and was moved 12 miles to Charlwood on horse-drawn carts.
There it was rebuilt with voluntary labour and in 1816 opened as a non-denominational nonconformist chapel.
It was 'rescued' by a local charitable trust, and with substantial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which enabled the people of Charlwood to give this unusual building a new lease of life, as a facility for all the community. The Surrey Historic Buildings Trust grant-aided a specific project - the repair of the chapel's veranda.
Claremont Garden Walls, Esher: SHBT made several grants to fund repairs to Grade II Listed walls at Claremont dating from 1723.
These walls were originally part of a walled kitchen garden designed by Sir John Vanbrugh for the Claremont estate, but are now very decayed and are on the Heritage At Risk Register. As well as funding repairs to brickwork, SHBT grant-aided the construction of new buttresses to support sections of wall which are in danger of collapsing.
St Mark's Church, Hale, Farnham: The chancel of the late-Victorian church is decorated with an impressive wall mural of The Song of Creation painted by local artist Kitty Milroy between 1911 and 1920.
There has been significant deterioration and a programme of repairs is now required, including restoration of lost plasterwork. SHBT agreed to provide £5,000 towards these repairs. This is an especially interesting project and a photographic record will be made of the work in progress.
United Reformed Church, Dorking: The URC have been running a major fundraising appeal for a long-term project to improve community facilities and renovate the fabric of their church building in Dorking, which is Grade II Listed and is over 185 years old.
The imposing building on West Street plays host to over 20 community and faith-based groups that attract over 1,000 weekly users. The SHBT gave a grant to repair and clean the church's memorial tablets which record the names of the town's Fallen from the First World War.
Orpheus Barn, Godstone: The trust gave £3,000 to patch and repair the thatched roof of this Grade II Listed 17th-century barn which is used as a theatre and performance space for disabled youngsters and local community organisations.
Church of St Nicholas, Cranleigh: The roof of this medieval church is made of Horsham Stone, which is unique to Surrey and Sussex - and is very expensive. SHBT's trustees felt that it would be a great shame if the church could not be re-roofed with the correct fabric and in the traditional manner, and agreed a grant of £2,700.
Oatlands Park Hotel, Weybridge: The trust awarded grants totalling £3,500 for repair work to the gates of this 19th Century, Grade II Listed building.
War Memorial Lychgate, St Bartholomew's Church, Horley: Grant-aid of £1,500 was made to repair this interesting lychgate, which was built in the early 1900s as a memorial to parishioners who lost their lives in the Boer War.
St Mary's Church, Holmbury St Mary: The Trust also gave £1,000 for repairs to the seriously deteriorated lychgate of this Grade I listed church.
Two Way House, Brockham: A grant of £3,000 was made by SHBT towards reconstruction of the bell turret of this Grade II listed former school.
Warlingham War Memorial, Warlingham: The trust also funded the repair of part of the statue of a soldier protecting a woman and child on this Grade II Listed war memorial on Warlingham Green.
Clock House, Broome Hall, Coldharbour: SHBT gave £1,500 towards the cleaning and re-gilding of the clockface, which is an important feature of the Grade II Listed, converted stables.
For further information about the work of the Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, visit the SHBT website: surreyhistoricbuildings.org.uk or call the trust's Secretary, Andy Smith, on 07737 271676.