Monty Python set and 462-year-old theatre among unusual places given heritage status

20 December 2019, 00:32

Historic England have announced some unusual choices to get protected status
Historic England have announced some unusual choices to get protected status. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A theatre where Romeo and Juliet was staged while Shakespeare was alive, a building used as a Monty Python set and wartime training sites are some of the unusual heritage sites to receive protected status this year.

A vertical spinning tunnel for testing aerodynamics, two 19th century shipwrecks and a house with recently discovered 16th century wall paintings are also among the historic places which were listed or had their protection upgraded in 2019.

Government heritage agency Historic England has revealed its list of the top 21 unusual buildings and sites to have been given new or enhanced protected status this year.

They are drawn from more than 500 historic places which have been added to the National Heritage List for England in 2019, along with new scheduled monuments, parks and gardens and protected wrecks.

They include the remains of the 462-year-old Curtain playhouse, built in Shoreditch in 1577 and where Romeo and Juliet was staged during Shakespeare's lifetime, which was discovered in recent excavations.

World War I Practice Trenches, Tolsford Hill, Saltwood, Kent one of the unusual buildings and sites to get protected or enhanced status this year
World War I Practice Trenches, Tolsford Hill, Saltwood, Kent one of the unusual buildings and sites to get protected or enhanced status this year. Picture: PA
The 462-year-old Curtain Playhouse, had a version of Romeo and Juliet play there while Shakespeare was alive
The 462-year-old Curtain Playhouse, had a version of Romeo and Juliet play there while Shakespeare was alive. Picture: PA
Second World War practice bombing range indicator and observation post, Vention Lane, Putsborough, Devon
Second World War practice bombing range indicator and observation post, Vention Lane, Putsborough, Devon. Picture: PA
The three tiered spray fountain in Promenade Gardens, South Parade, Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire
The three tiered spray fountain in Promenade Gardens, South Parade, Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire. Picture: PA

The Porchester Centre in Bayswater, London, where the Mr Creosote sketch in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life was filmed in 1982, has been upgraded to Grade II*.

First World War training trenches in Kent and Second World War practice bombing range indicator - formed of a large concrete arrow in the ground - and observation post in North Devon have also been protected this year.

An early telephone kiosk now in a field, a pedestrian tunnel for nursemaids to take children to the park avoiding a busy 19th century road and 18th century direction markers are also on the list of the top 21 unusual heritage sites highlighted.

Heritage minister Helen Whately said: "From a Tudor playhouse and First World War training trenches to shipwrecks and a Monty Python set, England is home to many historic, iconic, and sometimes quirky sites.

The Porchester Centre in Bayswater, which was used as a Monty Python set
The Porchester Centre in Bayswater, which was used as a Monty Python set. Picture: PA
Cabmen's Shelter, Northumberland Avenue at the junction with Embankment Place, London
Cabmen's Shelter, Northumberland Avenue at the junction with Embankment Place, London. Picture: PA
K1 telephone kiosk alongside the weir at Dean Beck in a field at Newsholme Dean in West Yorkshire,
K1 telephone kiosk alongside the weir at Dean Beck in a field at Newsholme Dean in West Yorkshire,. Picture: PA
The Vertical Spinning Tunnel, former High Speed Laboratory Complex, Twinwoods Business Park, Milton Ernest, Bedfordshire
The Vertical Spinning Tunnel, former High Speed Laboratory Complex, Twinwoods Business Park, Milton Ernest, Bedfordshire. Picture: PA

"Protecting our heritage is of huge importance so future generations can better understand all the things that have made this nation great."

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England said: "A fascinating range of historic buildings and sites are added to the list each year, and 2019 is no exception.

"A kinetic water sculpture, a 19th century nursemaids' tunnel and an Elizabethan playhouse are among the quirkier places to receive protection this year.

"By celebrating the extraordinary historic places which surround us, above and below ground, we hope to inspire in people a greater interest in our shared heritage, and a commitment to pass it on."

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