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Romantic Ruins Gallery

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Holland House library after an air raid BB83_04456 Featured Romantic Ruins Print

Holland House library after an air raid BB83_04456

HOLLAND HOUSE, Kensington, London. An interior view of the bombed library at Holland House with readers apparently choosing books regardless of the damage. Photographed in 1940. The House was heavily bombed during World War II and remained derelict until 1952 when parts of the remains were preserved.
Holland House, originally known as Cope Castle, was a great house in Kensington in London, situated in what is now Holland Park. Created in 1605 in the Elizabethan or Jacobean style for the diplomat Sir Walter Cope, the building later passed to the powerful Rich family, then the Fox family, under whose ownership it became a noted gathering-place for Whigs in the 19th century. The house was largely destroyed by German firebombing during the Blitz in 1940; today only the east wing and some ruins of the ground floor still remain.
In 1940, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended the last great ball held at the house. A few weeks later, on 7 September, the German bombing raids on London that would come to be known as the Blitz began. During the night of 27 September, Holland House was hit by twenty-two incendiary bombs during a ten-hour raid. The house was largely destroyed, with only the east wing, and, miraculously, almost all of the library remaining undamaged. Surviving volumes included the sixteenth-century Boxer Codex.
Holland House was granted Grade I listed building status in 1949, under the auspices of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947; the Act sought to identify and preserve buildings of special historic importance, prompted by the damage caused by wartime bombing. The building remained a burned-out ruin until 1952, when its owner, Giles Fox-Strangways, 6th Earl of Ilchester, sold it to the London County Council (LCC). The remains of the building passed from the LCC to its successor, the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1965, and upon the dissolution of the GLC in 1986 to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Today, the remains of Holland House form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, home of Opera Holland Park. The YHA (England and Wales) "London Holland Park" youth hostel is now located in the house. The Orangery is now an exhibition and function space, with the adjoining former Summer Ballroom now a restaurant, The Belvedere. The former ice house is now a gallery space

© Historic England Archive

Cathedral construction site JLP01_01_025_59 Featured Romantic Ruins Print

Cathedral construction site JLP01_01_025_59

COVENTRY CATHEDRAL, PRIORY STREET, COVENTRY. A view looking south across the construction site of Coventry Cathedral, showing the ruined Cathedral Church of St Michael in the background.
The photograph shows the construction of the new Coventry Cathedral, designed by Basil Spence in 1951 and constructed between the mid-1950s and 1962. It replaced the ruined Cathedral Church of St Michael which had been badly damaged by bombing in 1941.
The caption below the photograph in the album reads "Looking south across the New Cathedral Site showing in the foreground the circular excavation for the pile cap to the Guild Chapel and the Boiler House Area Pile Cap under construction. In the middle ground can be seen the Piling Rigs in operation and the old Georgian House. The background shows the three Spires of Coventry these are namely, the Spire of the Cathedral Church of St Michael, with the Spire of Christ's Church just to the right, and the Spire of Trinity Church in the extreme right hand."

© Historic England Archive. John Laing Photographic Collection

Port Mulgrave 34092_006 Featured Romantic Ruins Print

Port Mulgrave 34092_006

Port Mulgrave, North Yorkshire, 2018. The remains of Port Mulgrave, a harbour built for the export of local ironstone, partially demolished during World War II as an anti-invasion precaution and damaged by storms in 1953

© Historic England Archive

Aerial, Dock, Harbour, Ruin