10 weird and wonderful listed buildings

Margaret Thatcher on Abbey Road crossing

If you're told that a building has been granted listed status, then you may naturally assume it's a beautiful historic house, or thatched cottage, nestled in an untouched and perfect part of the country.

However, this isn't necessarily the case. Listed status is far more eclectic than this, and has reached as far as 1970s shopping centres, 1960s motorway service stations, and selected road furniture. We reveal ten of the oddest stories of listed property.


1. Sylvester Stallone's car park

A hideous 1960s car park in Gateshead was considered for listed status after a campaign by Sylvester Stallone. It had made an appearance in the film classic Get Carter, and as the star of the re-make, Sly felt it had a vital place in history and ought to remain.

Luckily English Heritage recognised it was blighting Gateshead, the campaign failed, and the car park demolished.

2. The Beatles zebra crossing

The crossing, which shot to fame after appearing on the front of the Beatles' Abbey Road album cover, became the first bit of road to gain listed status. It's still a veritable traffic hazard as drivers try to second-guess whether people are trying to cross the road or simply waiting for an opportunity to pose on the crossing.

3. A petrol station off the A6

Believe it or not the Mobil garage at Red Hill off the A6 has Grade II listed status. It was designed with a number of circular canopies at a time in the 1960s when filling up with petrol was doing your bit for a modernist future - rather than an expensive imposition.

4. Motorway service station cafe on the M6

No really. A hexagonal tower with a cantilevered restaurant and sun deck looking over Lancaster motorway services on the M6 has been protected by listed status. Officials weren't swayed by the fact that it was shut in 1989 because of the cost of meeting health and safety legislation.

5. Milton Keynes 1970s shopping centre

Even as it was listed in 2010 the architecture minister admitted that the 1970s building was never universally loved. The owners were said to be gutted, saying it would hamper the redevelopment of a centre its director had called 'nondescript and characterless.'

6. Goldfinger's brutalist Trekllick Tower

The dominant, sludge grey slab of concrete looming over Notting Hill so upset novelist Ian Fleming that he named a villain after Erno Goldfinger, the architect. It was once earmarked for demolition, but given listed status in 1998.

7. A sewer gas lamp

The lamp in North Tyneside is one of ten still surviving in the area - and was installed in the early 20th century as a method of drawing gases out of the sewers and stopping them building up and causing explosions.

8. The Blue Peter Garden

This was recommended for Grade II listed status by English Heritage, after the BBC moved to Salford. Sadly the government rejected the idea, so while TV Centre was protected, the garden was not. The best bits were moved to a new garden in Salford, while some of the statues were scattered around the new building, and the buried pets were left in-situ.

9. Parts of Brunel University where a Clockwork Orange were filmed

It was considered so brutal that the 1967 lecture theatre block of Brunel University served as the backdrop for Stanley Kubrick's dystopian film. It didn't stop English Heritage from deciding it was worth of protection.

10. Coronation Street set

The set was actually denied listed status in 2012. It sought protection when filming of the soap moved, but was deemed not to be historic enough.

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