Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Endangered species? The World Monuments Fund Watchlist 2010

Stone in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh (click to enlarge pics)

The World Monuments Fund Watchlist of the world's most endangered buildings and sites has been published.

An interesting mix!

The full list is here:

UK photos (and the one in the Irish Republic, Russborough) here:

The UK sites are:

Belfast, Northern Island, United Kingdom

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Sheerness, United Kingdom

Leominster, United Kingdom

Dudley, United Kingdom

The Tecton buildings at Dudley Zoo have been on the Twentieth Century Society's radar for a considerable time. Here's the 'Risky Buildings' entry, which gives a great deal of further information about them:

In 2004, the group of buildings featured as Building of the Month; here's the entry, with more information and photographs:

The nominations procedure for the Watchlist and reasons the buildings are selected can be read here:

And what, you say, is the point of yet another list of things in danger? Does it help to highlight these?

Well, this one does at times bring help. As it says on the WMF website:

Launched in 1996 and issued every two years, the World Monuments Watch calls international attention to cultural heritage around the world that is threatened by neglect, vandalism, conflict, or disaster. The 2010 Watch continues this tradition of identifying endangered sites, while also encompassing sites with compelling issues or progressive approaches that could inform the field at large.

Watch listing provides an opportunity for sites and their nominators to raise public awareness, foster local participation, advance innovation and collaboration, and demonstrate effective solutions. The Watch nomination process also serves as a vehicle for requesting WMF assistance for select projects. Since the program’s inception, 544 sites have been included on the seven Watches. Nearly half the listed sites, representing 79 countries, have received WMF grants totaling $50 million. These WMF monies have leveraged an additional $150 million in assistance from other sources.

So a listing for these buildings and monuments and sites will hopefully focus minds and make these a priority re applications for other funding.


Now that so much lottery cash has been diverted to the bluddy Olympics, every little helps

Ars longa, vita brevis? Greyfriars Kirkyard again. More on that here:

and Edinburgh graveyards in general:

World Monuments Fund:

More pictures worldwide


UPDATE Sunday 11th October 2009: a splendid piece by Kevin McKenna in the Observer

...The Canongate kirkyard is a jewel in the firmament of Edinburgh's many enchanted spaces and I had cause to be grateful for its ability to restore a flagging spirit when I worked for the Scotsman newspaper, whose HQ was a two-minute walk away.

Is there anything better in the world for a troubled soul than to set himself down on a bench contemplating a row of quiet headstones with a packet of cigarettes and fortified by a few lunchtime Bacardis?

...Robert Burns acknowledged the sanctity of the grave and was heartbroken when he saw how poorly Robert Fergusson had been buried in Canongate Kirkyard. In 1787, three years after his friend's death, he paid for the lovely tombstone that marks the final resting place of the great poet and penned this tribute:

O why should truest Worth and Genius pine
Beneath the iron grasp of Want and Woe
While titled knaves and idiot-greatness shine
In all the splendour Fortune can bestow.

If I am granted the privilege of a decent burial, I'd be happy to leave with the words of the great Birmingham rock-poets Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler whose oeuvre inspired the music of Black Sabbath, echoing in the breeze. Perhaps they were inspired by Burns the great egalitarian when they wrote in 1980:

The world is full of Kings and Queens
Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams
It's Heaven and Hell.

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