Conserving the Present

Robert Thorne on when, and if, Britain’s modern buildings should be listed as historic.

The listing of modern buildings makes headline news. Hardly a month goes by without the announcement that yet another famous post-war building has been selected for protection on the same terms as older and more venerated examples. In August last year the Alexandra Road housing scheme in Camden leapt to prominence as the youngest historic building in Britain. A few months later attention turned to the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool ('Paddy's Wigwam'), listed when only twenty-seven years- old, and then in June this year the Royal National Theatre achieved historic status as a Grade II" building. With buildings, as with a great deal else, history is catching up with us.

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