Old factory and cemetery chapels on Victorian Society's at-risk list

A former Black Country crop factory and a cemetery’s chapels in Birmingham have been included on a new list of the UK’s most at-risk buildings.

Architecture campaign charity The Victorian Society has named Langley Maltings, in Oldbury, and Brandwood End cemetery chapels, in Kings Norton, on its 2018 Top 10 Endangered Buildings list.

It is the 11th time the campaigning charity has published the report which highlights the plight of significant Victorian and Edwardian buildings whose futures are in doubt following years of decay and neglect.

Langley Maltings sits on the banks of the Titford Canal and was saved from demolition in 2012 but, with no current proposals for repair and reuse, it has fallen into a very bad state, according to the society.

Langley Maltings in Oldbury

Built in 1870 as Showells Maltings, it was in use until 2006 but was a victim of arson in 2009 which caused significant damage.

The Victorian Society said the “attractive design and prime location” made the complex ideal for regeneration, provided the right developer could be found.

The grounds of Brandwood End cemetery have red brick, neo-gothic mortuary chapels standing at its highest point, providing “a dramatic central focus”.

The society said that, the drama that should be evoked by the striking symmetrical design, was in fact compounded by the terrible state the chapels were in.

Closed for over 30 years, they also suffered a serious arson attack in 1995 which gutted the north-east chapel.

A friends group was set up in 2005 and in 2012 Birmingham City Council pledged more than £76,000 for restoration work but subsequently withdrew the funding due to spending cuts.

Both Langley Maltings and Brandwood End Cemetery chapels are grade II listed and were nominated by local residents concerned about their current state and uncertain futures.

Brandwood End Cemetery chapels in Kings Norton
Brandwood End Cemetery chapels in Kings Norton

Christopher Costelloe, director of The Victorian Society, said: “This is the first time in many years we have had two buildings from the West Midlands feature on the final top ten list.

“Both these sites are in a very bad way but there is still time for them to be regenerated and brought back into use as buildings the communities can be proud of.”

The other eight buildings included on the 2018 list are:

– The Winter Gardens, Great Yarmouth

– Bromley-by-Bow gasholders, London

– Merseyside Centre for the Deaf, Liverpool

– Hartley’s Village, Aintree

– Former Legat’s School of Ballet, Kent

– Oldway Mansion, Devon

– John Summers Steelworks, Flintshire

– St Mary’s Convent Church, Leeds


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