In this series we showcase Britain’s underappreciated and relatively unknown architectural gems, buildings that epitomise a significant movement or period in history. Once celebrated for their pioneering designs, many fell victim to the changing demands and fashions of the modern world, and were deemed relics of a bygone era.
Luckily, the majority of these buildings have seen a renewed appreciation in recent years, being listed or painstakingly restored to their former glory by those who have acknowledged their importance in British history – from keen volunteers to internationally acclaimed architects.
The buildings span generations – both Clifton Cathedral and Preston Bus Station are prime examples of groundbreaking Brutalism civic architecture featured in the series. Preston Bus Station, an imposing scallop-shelled structure, was hailed an instant classic, while Bristol’s distinctive Clifton Cathedral was described as a “sermon in concrete”, paving the way for the Catholic Church’s shift towards modernity and inclusivity.
Crossness Pumping Station is a fine example of Victorian grandeur, but more importantly, its creation helped to eradicate waterborne disease throughout the capital.
The Forgotten Gems series will be updated on a monthly basis.
You might also like: The Design Masters series: each month we will be profiling one of the world’s greatest creative minds and telling the story behind their fascinating careers.
Architecture firm Purcell is well known for its conservation of big-name British landmarks, from Battersea Power Station to Big Ben. While its latest restoration project – Clifton Cathedral in Bristol – is more modest, its preservation of this deserving Brutalist building is just as significant. Read the article here.
Nicknamed the Cistern Chapel, Crossness Pumping Station by Joseph Bazalgette is a joyously decorative feat of Victorian industrial design, which inadvertently helped eradicate cholera in London. Read the article here.
Preston Bus Station is now deemed a “heroic” piece of British Brutalist civic architecture, which has been sensitively restored by fledgling architect John Puttick. Read the article here.