Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Another listed building in Margate goes up in flames

Grade II listed 49-50 Hawley Square went up in flames last night. That's the third fire in almost as many weeks. The building has sadly been gutted on the inside. However, a fire officer was overheard by a local resident to say to council officials that the facade is structurally sound. This has yet to be confirmed. But hopefully this means that all is not lost and the building can be saved and rebuilt from the inside.

I've yet to research the history of this particular building. It was apparantly bought and awaiting development. Hence another development site up in smoke in Thanet.

More info from BBC News

Details of the building listing can be found at English Heritage's site: Images of England. You have to sign up for free registration to access the listing details of properties. The listing for 49-50 states:

IoE Number: 356571
Location: 49 AND 50 HAWLEY SQUARE (west side)
Photographer: Mrs Claire Hughes
Date Photographed: 13 May 2003
Date listed: 22 February 1973
Date of last amendment: 22 February 1973
Grade II

1380HAWLEY SQUARE(West Side)Nos 49 and 50TR 3570 NW 1/5010.4.51.

1. 1380 HAWLEY SQUARE (West Side) Nos 49 and 50 TR 3570 NW 1/50 10.4.51. II GV 2. Late C18. Originally one house and similar to Nos 47 and 48. 4 storeys and basement red brick ground floor stuccoed. Modillion cornice below the parapet. 3 windows in all. 2 bay windows on the ground floor. Fine doorcase with projecting cornice, Ionic ½ columns, a segmental fanlight with Gothick glazing and 8 panel moulded double doors. Nos 39 to 51 (consec) form a group.


  1. What a sick and sickening sight for sleeping hawley square eyes. The physical devastation is equally matched by my feelings on this scorched and now dampened site.

    Margate is suffering and is pitted with the scars of too many fires.

  2. That morning there was also a car crash which combined with this tragedy to caused chaos on the roads all day. What is it with listed structures and fires around here?

  3. Margates heritage is being destroyed. It is soo sad to see 200 years of history go up in smoke to be replaced with anonymos blocks of cheep flats.

    The front and rear walls are intact as is the beautiful entrance.

    I hope the conservation team make an example of this and enforce the complete restoration of the building to it's former glory.

    If insurance won't pay for the restoration, the developer should, or the council should take over the site for immediate restoration and then recoup the cash from the owner. I think he might have some other properties he can auction off to pay for the damage.

    If restoration was enforced it would, in the future, encourage developers and speculators to protect their buildings from fire.

    Until now fires in listed buildings are seen as a stroke of luck. Why, for example, have the terrace houses on the seafront not yet been rebuilt? How can their distruction by fire be seen as convenient access to the seafront for the plot behind?

    I really cant see why the seafront terrace shouldn't be rebuilt according to historic photos.

  4. Add that to the Grade II Victorian photographer's studio that was demolished/developed on Ramsgate front in January. Still no sign of the rebuild TDC have supposedly insisted on.

  5. To add insult to injury the developer had already been caught out stripping out the insides of paneling and other features two years ago. It seems none of these large scale buildings in the area are owned by anyone with any respect or appreciation of them. And there's the crazy thing. They're stripping out their value. If they're looking to make money, stripping out their features and dividing them into cheap flats makes them unappealing to buyers who want to live in the centre or outskirts of town. With current lending more expensive and restrictive added to the cost of building regs compliance for conversion, it would make more financial sense to keep buildings like this as a single or larger units. There are simply too many flats in Margate and not enough takers.