Writtern by Walton Horsfall Partnership
As part of the agreement with Kirklees planning service, who administer the listed building status, the trust has undertaken to work towards a full restoration of the cottages, chapel and gardens.
1.1 This plan has been compiled and written by the Walton Horsfall Partnership on behalf of the Harry Roebuck Memorial Homes Trust.
1.2 The following parties and individuals have been consulted during the preparation of this plan;
Kirklees Council Conservation Team The West Yorkshire Archive Service The residents of the memorial homes
1.3 This plan will define the nature and significance of the heritage assets associated with the site. The current and future threats to the heritage assets will be identified. Opportunities for the preservation and enhancement of the heritage assets as well as improvements to access will be identified. An action/activity plan including specific works will form part of this plan.
1.4 The historical records at the time of writing were limited. Researching the history of the site and the family who commissioned the buildings will be pursued as a separate piece of work.
1.5 A full range of maps and drawings are attached in the appendices.
2.0 The Heritage Assets;
2.1 Three components contribute to the nature and significance of this heritage asset; The buildings and their setting which are grade 2 listed.
The history of the family and the circumstances of the bequest.
The contribution of the property and its garden to the streetscape in the area.
2.2 The Memorial Homes were commissioned following the death of Harry Roebuck’s wife in 1924. The buildings were completed in 1933 and bequeathed to Huddersfield Corporation for occupation by the elderly of limited means. A fund was established to allow the residents to live rent free.
At the end of the 1914-18 war the area of land to the north of Wakefield Road remained as open farmland and included a large private residence Dives House to the north east of the site. The following thirty years saw the suburbanisation of both sides of Wakefield Road with the site becoming surrounded by residential development.
2.3 The site is located on Wakefield Road approximately 1.5 miles from the centre of Huddersfield. This busy arterial road carries traffic from the south and east and provides at link to M1 motorway. The site is now surrounded by residential development and is one of three open spaces in the area which together have a significant beneficial impact on amenity.
2.4 The bequest of these properties is a twentieth century example of a long tradition of philanthropy by successful businessmen wishing to return some of the benefits of their activities to their local community. There are numerous examples throughout industrial West Yorkshire of individuals financing housing, libraries and mechanics institutes. Charitable giving increased significantly during the second half of the nineteenth century. The memorial homes are a good example of how this altruistic tradition continued into the twentieth century.
3.1 The significance of the heritage assets, which are the subject of this plan, derives from three components;
The grade 2 listed buildings and gardens.
The buildings comprise four pairs of linked cottages which were built in 1932 to a design by Clifford Hickson of Hickson, Hickson & Hickson a respected firm of local architects. The cottages are linked by an open loggia with a central pavilion which contains a memorial stone. Classical details occur throughout the site and are employed for the boundary treatments and Italianate terraced gardens. The interior of the properties does not feature in the listing text.
The historical significance of the bequest and Roebuck family.
The official history of the major conflicts pursued during the twentieth century tend to focus on the military and political leaders involved and geo-political consequences of war. At a local level the widespread war memorials record the tragic impact on
families and communities. This heritage asset was commissioned as a memorial to the benefactor’s wife and his son who was killed in a night flying accident towards the end or the 1914-18 war. As we approach the centenary of the start of the First World War it is anticipated that commemorations will avoid the glorification of warfare and focus on its impacts on everyday life. This group of buildings is a resource that can be employed for the study of how Huddersfield changed during the period between the two world wars. A memorial trail is being planned linking all sites connected with the First World War. Access to a refurbished memorial garden will highlight the personal tragedies associated with war and will show how these can be channelled as a force for good in society.
The amenity value of the site and buildings;
The memorial gardens are one of three open spaces in the locality which enhance the amenity value of the streetscape. Whilst public access is not available at present views into the site provide a welcome contrast to the suburban development which surrounds it. The renovation and re-planting of the garden will biodiversity is enhanced and an area of soft landscape is retained.
4.0 Risks & Opportunities
4.1 The fabric of all building deteriorates over time and will require regular maintenance and repair. The memorial homes continue to be occupied as dwellings and as such must meet current functional expectations. The energy used by dwellings and the greenhouse gases which are a result make a significant contribution to climate change. Consequently anyone who manages property has a duty to explore ways of reducing the carbon footprint of their buildings.
4.2 Improving the thermal performance of historic buildings must balance improved performance with the potential for the works to damage the heritage asset. In the case of the memorial homes improvements have been limited to the installation of modern double glazed windows. Any work to other building elements will be evaluated on the basis of whether changes are visible significant and reversible. There is evidence of thermal bridging at window cills, jambs and heads. This is particularly severe in kitchens and bathroom where deterioration is evident
4.3 Some of the residents are elderly and will experience mobility problems. The site levels and the design of the buildings do not promote ease of access for wheelchair users
or the ambulant disabled. A programme of reasonable measures will be developed
to improve access without damage to the appearance of the heritage asset.
4.4 It is anticipate that the properties will continue to be occupied as dwellings and must therefore provide privacy and amenity for the residents. Public access to the gardens might compromise this and could lead to damage and deterioration of the listed fabric. Consequently opening up views into the site will represent a better means of allowing the general public to enjoy the amenity value of the property.
4.5 The Italianate terraced gardens make a significant contribution to the architectural significance of this heritage asset and are the public face of the property. Maintenance issues the removal of the railings and the loss of the original planting have resulted in dramatic deterioration to a point that the space is unusable and detracts from the appearance of these fine buildings. A comprehensive restoration programme is required as a matter of urgency.
5.0 Listed Building Consents
5.1 An application for retrospective listed building consent has been prepared for the upgrading of kitchens and for the introduction of extract ventilation from wet areas. These works are considered necessary to ensure that the dwellings comply with the requirements of the Decent Homes Initiative and to avoid damage to the listed fabric. The original kitchen were designed before the concept of a fitted kitchen
evolves and at a time when the number of appliances was limited. The current layout do not meet current expectations of functionality and amenity