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April 13, 2018

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What Makes a Building Listed

July 22, 2013

What are listed buildings and what does it tell you about the building and how does it affect you if you are the owner?


The concept of listed buildings was introduced during World War II as a way of determining which buildings should be rebuilt if they were damaged by bombing. Shortly after the war there was the first list of buildings of special historical or architectural importance compiled. In England, listed buildings are designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, acting on advice from English Heritage. English Heritage assesses the building and any material, provided to support an application and then makes a recommendation.


The criteria for listing a building are summarised as follows:

  • It is an interesting work of a local architect of merit or good examples of an architect of importance and influence

  • It forms part of an important architecturally sensitive streetscape or is part of a larger group built to a single design or purpose

  • It is a complete or early example of specific building type or built with a pioneering form of construction

  • It is a very rare survival of a specific type, which is an historically important part of an area or an industry’s history

  • It has a definite architectural quality, or an expression of a technical or social innovation of the period, such as pumping stations and lunatic asylums

  • This means that it is nearly impossible for what might be described as ordinary Victorian architecture, such as terraced housing, however attractive, to be listed