UK

Civil Defence Bunker Granted Listed Status By Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey (PHOTOS)

20/09/2013 17:36 BST | Updated 20/09/2013 18:49 BST

A Cold War bunker, a concrete electricity sub-station and a yellow-roofed warehouse that featured in a James Bond film have been given listed status.

A steel-framed private house has also been listed by Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey, on the advice of government agency English Heritage, in the latest move to protect post-war architecture.

capel manor house

This 'brutalist' electricity substation in Sheffield is one of those buildings given listed status

The Civil Defence Bunker in Gravesend, Kent, has been given Grade II listing, as a rare surviving example of a purpose built civil defence control centre, which would have been used in the case of a Soviet air attack.

The building, which would have been staffed by around 35 people, would have handled information and co-ordinated the response to a nuclear attack, and was operational between 1954 and 1968.

The Spectrum building, formally the Renault Distribution Centre, in Swindon, was designed by Sir Norman Foster and features yellow steel "umbrella masts" and a yellow roof around the single-storey glass-walled warehouse.

Built in 1980, the building featured as the backdrop to scenes in the 1984 James Bond film, A View to a Kill. It has been given Grade II* listing.

A 'brutalist' electricity substation on Moore Street in Sheffield, was an important component of the radical post-war regeneration of the city which was badly bombed, English Heritage said.

The building, designed by Bryan Jefferson, has been listed at Grade II.

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And Capel Manor House, in Horsmonden, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, which is built with its steel frame exposed, bronze tinted glass walls and a flat timber roof, has been listed at Grade II*, joining just 5.5% of listed buildings, for its high architectural interest.

The building was designed by Michael Manser, one of a small number of architects in the 1960s and 1970s who explored the use of steel-frame construction for domestic architecture.

The Roman Catholic Church of English Martyrs, Birkenhead, the Wirral, built in 1952, was originally listed at Grade II but has seen its listing upgraded to the higher Grade II* listing.

Mr Vaizey said: "Everyone knows that England has a fine and wonderful built heritage. But it's sometimes forgotten that we have many outstanding modern buildings too.

"Our architects are among the best in the world and it's absolutely right that their finest work is afforded the same protection as their historic forebears.

"The buildings and structures I am listing today demonstrate this well. Innovative, exciting and eye-catching, they each in different ways show that architecture in this country is very much alive and well in the modern world."

The announcement from the Department, Culture, Media and Sport came the day before many buildings in the capital opened their doors for Open House London, an annual event where the general public can access buildings usually off-limits. One of those included this year is a post-War grade II listed building, Trellick Tower in Notting Hill, a typical example of 1960s architecture.

trellick tower

The Grade II listed Trellick Tower which features in this weekend's Open House London

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, admitted that listing modern buildings, which some people saw as "concrete monstrosities", could be controversial.

"Few areas of English Heritage's work are as disputed or as intriguing as the listing of modern heritage and these striking buildings listed today exemplify our rigorous and highly selective approach.

"Some still view the buildings of the era as concrete monstrosities, others as fine landmarks in the history of building design," he said.

The listings coincide with the opening of an English Heritage exhibition, Brutal and Beautiful, looking at the UK's love/hate relationship with recent architectural history, at Wellington Arch, central London, from 25 September to 24 November.

Almost 700 post-war buildings have been listed in the past 25 years and we've included a handful in the slideshow below.