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Demolition of important sites.
As a non-archaeologist, I was amazed to discover that there is no apparent legislation for councils to report, to appropriate bodies, the demolition of sites of potential interest.
We discovered, by chance, that our local Hoffmann kiln in Armadale was being demolished, along with a sister one at Carluke. As far as I know, these were the last two working Hoffmann brick kilns in Scotland and possibly the UK.

[Image: hoffmann600.jpg]
Kite aerial photograph of Etna Brickworks, Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland.

Paperwork going back to Victorian times, along with photographs, had been left behind in a building which had been trashed, and was ready for demolition. Most of the filing cabinets and archives were intact and unlocked.

Is this normal throughout the UK?
It is my understanding that the local Sites and Monuments Record/Historic Environment Record office is the council body involved with planning permission, alteration of scheduled sites/listed buildings, and demolition of historic properties. I worked at the Humber Sites and Monuments Record office and they were very good at preserving archaeological sites and fending off angry builders! :p But you will always get rogue people damaging archaeology without asking permission.. another thing I learnt at the SMR! Sad

I think examples like the one you have given about the Hoffman kiln will become a more common occurrence with the upcoming planning reform Sad Where it will be much easier to build on potentially important heritage sites, and the people trying to preserve archaeology will be outnumbered.

*first post ever!!!*
First thoughts:
Presumably the buildings/structures don't have any statutory designation (Listed buildings, Scheduled monuments)? Otherwise call Historic Scotland as a law is being broken.
Presumably the demolition is not part of a planning application (therefore has not been considered as a candidate for a planning condition regarding heritage)? Otherwise I would expect a requirement to 'mitigate', usually by recording.
Otherwise (and perhaps some cutratorial folks know another route), the landowners can pull down the kilns however they please.

If the council were consulted regarding a possible future planning application, there may have been an opportunity to tell the developer that any future work would be considered in the light of how they dealt with heritage as part of these preparatory works.

Of course, and most importantly, we don't know what is going on in the local planning office and they may be dealing with this already.*


PS Emily, welcome aboard!
PPS John, you might not get paid for it but you look and sound a lot more like an archaeologist than a fair few who do

eta: PPPS if sites are really significant heritage assets, they can be Spot Listed or Scheduled. It's extremely rare though.
*PPPPS the most glaringly obvious point that I almost completely glossed over is that maybe the site *has* been recorded in accordance with a planning condition, or that the site has been judged to be too low significance to merit any mitigation, and we just don't know about it.

Lots to read about it.

Also West Lothian was one of those rogue counties that has only recently come under any form of Archaeological advice in Planning. so any ongoing planning would not be interfered with ( by WoSAS ) look on and weep and what happens when you leave it to conservation officers alone to make decisions...

The loss of archive material is unforgivable though
The link posted above by BAJR says that someone from the RCAHMS visited the site at the end of January as part of the Threatened Buildings Industrial Survey project, and that the information gathered was added to the material already held at RCAHMS from the Scottish Industrial Archaeology Survey in the 1980s as part of the Brick, Tile and Fireclay industries recording project, so it would appear that there should be some record of the brickworks. Presumably, the SIAS records from the 1980s were carried out in relation to the removal of the 19th century kilns, as the RCAHMS record says that the ones demolished this year were built in 1964 - I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this, as it would mean that I'm very nearly as old as a monument of industry!
You know Marcus. He once got lost in his own museum
Just to add to my comments above, I'd also say that this emphasizes the value of the RCAHMS - the fact that they were able to undertake such a record at fairly short notice - and that examples such as this should be considered by Historic Scotland in their current review of the Commission and its funding
You know Marcus. He once got lost in his own museum
Here at West Lothian Archaeology we feel that the RCAHMS is like a light in the darkness and has been supportive of our efforts since we were founded. We have already posted some images of the brickworks on Canmore and we will probably be posting more. Initiatives like Scotland's Rural Past are wonderful.

Historic Scotland have been supportive too (especially Richard Heawood) and we particularly enjoy working with the HS Rangers on Cairnpapple.

A West Lothian pre-WoSAS site which is of concern to us is
If anyone looked at this site before it was built over we would like to know. The Council does not appear to have records. Another confirmed Roman fortlet site in West Lothian would be nice.

Steven Raeside of SIPT came in to salvage some of the lighter equipment at Etna Brickworks and recovered most of the older paperwork, all very much at the last minute and nothing to do with the council.

With reference to 1964 - I had a metal detector and was also doing current measurements through soil around then (more from the standpoint of communications than archaeological geophysics) - maybe I should be scheduled...or was that certified!?...and my wife Rosie was digging at Kent's Moat.
We were both still at school and had yet to meet.

When we discovered that the brickworks was being demolished we contacted numerous organisations and had the above aerial photo published in our local newspaper.

Regarding the issues raised by the demolition of Etna Brickworks. A very succesfull legal campagn has resulted in recent changes to the legal controls affecting demolition, at least for England & Wales, which allows Local Planning Authorities the means to consider the loss of heritage significance. An important point is that this allows public scrutiny of the process and an opportunity to object if the LPA considers demolition proposals as acceptable.

You may wish to clarify the situation for Scotland and suggest you contact SAVE for advice.
If nothing else this thread has opened my eyes to how many demolition contractors advertise on the interweb!

As a small slightly irrelevent addendum, was out on a walkover for a DBA on Tuesday and was alarmed to discover that one of my larger Hertage Assets, a rather nice highly architectural and decorated 1890s factory building (they made Bisto there amongst other things, many moons ago), appears to be in the middle of demolition, plant and rubble everywhere. Makes determining the potential impact of MY development a bit tricky to assess......

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