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Clocktower, Lockwood, Huddersfield

Application to demolish the clocktower at the former Mount Pleasant School:

Image result for mount pleasant clock tower lockwood

The school was redeveloped following the demolition of the Victorian school building (the powers that be unable to differentiate between shoddy facilities and dilapidated interior, and an important robust vernacular building).

Yet Kirklees have slyly slipped this application in a few days before Christmas. No one will notice that right? Yes, absolutely we will notice.

The tower was initially thought to be saved after a hard fought campaign. However the building was rejected from listing status due to the incomplete nature of the site, however historic England recommended a local listing. I doubt such a mechanism actually exists in Lockwood.


Old Westgate Redoubt building, Snapethorpe

Plans by the council to demolish an outbuilding of Snapethorpe Primary School:

Snapethorpe Primary school.JPG

Forgive the terrible photo from Google Earth’s Streetview archives circa 2012.

Some local objection to this proposal that coherently cites the councils own policy:

Death, Taxes, and local authorities not adhering to their own policies are the only certainties in life.

A handsome building that will be a loss to the visual fabric of the area. Not worthy of listing, never the less it is the kind of building I dream of inheriting from a long lost uncle and spending the rest of my life as custodian.

Incidentally, the argument that a building has to be demolished because it has been “regularly targeted by vandals and trespasser’s” is an old and hackneyed cliche in the planning consultant’s armory. Misdemeanors do not necessitate flattening the site and starting over.

Christ Church Primary Academy

Demolition of a school building in Shipley:

Old school building Shipley.JPG

Demolition does not require full planning permission, but rather a demolition notice, so this has been progressed with alacrity.

A nice looking building that looks to be in good condition, but as the officers report suggests, way off English Heritage’s radar.

The centralized position on the site would make any redevelopment difficult should someone want to capitalise on the full footprint, and as such there was no chance conservation would have been contemplated.

The rest of the school will presumably stay open.

At this point, as the people tell me I am an overly zealous heritage obsessive, I remind them that this type of building can NEVER be built again.

Former Mechanics Institute, Keighley

Another loss to the town centre fabric of Keighley:

Currently used as part of Leeds College, the building is to be levelled to form a car park.


keighley mech institute.jpg

Mechanics institutes are a mysterious thing of the past. You see the words embossed in stone on a building now occupied by Weatherspoons, somewhere in most industrial northern towns.

Nothing embodies the civic aspiration of the Victorians more than these institutions, and for that reason alone they are culturally indispensable. Rome had the agora, the Victorians had mechanics institutes.

We simply can not knock these temples down. Even the heritage statement (which was commissioned to support the demolition of this building) agrees.

Keighley loses beautiful buildings often. Warehouse shaped piles of rubble are found throughout. It is a town that struggles with identity, but until now has somehow retained a town centre that is a lot grander than its contemporary economic situation would attest.

The fact that at some point we were willing to develop diminutive small towns to the aesthetic standards of classical cities says a lot about our erstwhile civic pride.

We can’t let the last vestiges of local history in towns like Keighley be torn down for car parking space. Half of the original building was lost to fire some time ago. It was lucky the other half survived until now. Bradford council, please intercede.



Oakbank School, Keighley

Another old school building to be demolished in Ingrow, Keighley:

The school itself was constructed in 1963,  however in the core of this asbestos/plywood complex is an impressive Manor House known as Haggas Hall.

Haggas Hall

This image taken in 1963 (thanks to David Kirkley of Keighley Schools Heritage) shows the building in all its manorial glory. Sadly not spectacular enough for Bradford Council to consider intervention, this is yet another historic building to be lost during the current wave of school rebuilding.

Of course it is fantastic that funding is going into building new education facilities for our young people, but there does seem to be a culture of scorched earth redevelopment, rather than the existing sites being analysed as the composites of buildings they are.

Its somewhat lazy, and the new school will lose some capital derived from having a historic ‘core’ building as a centre piece. By all means get rid of the prefabricated periphery, but retain the sturdy stone nucleus.

Mount Pleasant School

Here is a link to the Huddersfield examiner article covering the ongoing campaign to save the amazing clock tower at Mount Pleasant School In Lockwood:

mount pleasant

I feel a pattern emerging. A former council property is snapped up in an auction by a developer for next to nothing, and plans to demolish said building are expedited by the council. How can we demolish this architectural treasure?

Thankfully the Examiner are very vocal about local heritage, and hopefully the campaign to stop this iconoclastic behaviour will be successful. Please if you can attend the meeting  in support of this campaign. See linked article for dates and location.

Whitcliffe Mount School, Cleckheaton demolition

Another application to flatten a Victorian school in Kirklees;

The school covers a large site, and is for once not being sold off in the bonfire of the assets, but is being rebuilt.

Much of the current building is from the 1960s onwards, but the southern wing of the building is from a much earlier date and is once again an important testament to our social history. Opened in 1910, a brief history of the school can be found here:


Echoing the demolition of Penistone Grammar School, opposing an application by the local authority is a none starter, Yet it would be great to see a local campaign to try and halt this unnecessary loss. Incidentally, from the indicative plans it looks like the footprint of this building would serve only as a car park. I am not against building and upgrading education facilities, but retaining some of the schools history can only make the establishment more prestigious, surely?