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Sheerness Boat Store in Kent on Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings list

5 October 2015

The Victorian Society raises plight of ‘architectural pioneer’.

The Victorian Society has revealed that Sheerness Boat Store is one of 2015’s Top Ten Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales.  The Society has urged the owners of the Grade I-listed building to seek inspiration from the way former naval buildings are re-used at Chatham Dockyard to find a future use for the building.

The national exposure from inclusion in the Society's Top Ten often leads to new interest in the buildings which can help save them. Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society Vice President, launching the Top Ten, said "These are buildings that need help, and we need your help." 

The disused boat store is the world’s earliest surviving example of a multi-storey iron-frame and panel structure following the destruction of the Crystal Palace and the first South Kensington Museum. The all-metal frame, made rigid by portal bracing, was pioneering. It was subsequently adopted by early skyscrapers in Chicago, and universally used for modern steel-framed buildings. Without the techniques demonstrated at Sheerness boat store, today’s architectural world might be very different.  But the boat store is in desperate need of a use. The Isle of Sheppey is one of the South East’s more remote areas but the not too distant Chatham Dockyard shows that historic buildings such as the boat store can have a future.

Director of the Victorian Society, Christopher Costelloe, said: ‘We're grateful to everyone who nominated Sheerness Boat Store. Like all the buildings included in this year's Top Ten The Boat Store is a listed building meaning that the Government has recognised its national importance. But the Grade I listed Boat Store has worldwide importance – it is an architectural pioneer. It deserves better than its current anonymity. I urge the public to share the Top Ten list, and Griff’s message, to help raise awareness of these buildings and help find the solutions they so desperately need.’

Pictures of Sheerness Boat Store can be found here.

Taken from victoriansociety.org.uk/news, October 2015. Image: Sheerness Boat Club.

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