Wednesday, 13 July 2011

'Restoration' Home?

For those unaware, there is a great storm brewing regarding the BBC's latest 'educational' series Restoration Home (BBC2 Tuesday evenings). The programme seeks to follow 6 homeowners through their 'restoration' projects while supporting them in researching and recording the history of the buildings they are adapting. I write this post in follow up to another blog by huntwriter which sets out concerns over the lack of conservation approach to these projects.

Having earlier watched this week's episode I felt compelled to add my own thoughts and like many, will follow up this post with a complaint to the BBC over the approach used and the potential harmful effects of which they are clearly unaware. My comments posted in response to the huntwriter blog are as follows:

"...Restoration Home has nothing whatsoever to do with restoration and any attempt to claim otherwise is harmful to the future of our built heritage and the profession that seeks to protect it. Such high profile and misguided coverage of this topic is cringe-worthy and I would support our learned societies in contacting the BBC to raise their concerns.

Even our misguided Victorian restorers of the past with their conjectural makeovers believed that what they were doing was in the interests of the buildings. There was nothing on display in last night’s episode to demonstrate an ounce of consideration for the physical or industrial heritage of the building.

Granted, the building wasn’t Listed but surely that was an oversight; the historical research identified sufficient significance to warrant some form of statutory protection.

As a professional I would be ashamed to put my name to such a programme in the name of ‘restoration’ when the project so clearly demonstrates a complete lack of awareness of the philosophies of conservation. The building could quite easily have been adapted for alternative use without such dereliction.

The end result may be pleasant to some... but the building may well have been constructed new. Any claim that the building has been “saved” is pure fallacy."

For those with any interest in heritage and conservation I would recommend the series to you, if only to see how irresponsibly our historic buildings are often treated. But be warned, you will not be impressed with what you see and will no doubt find yourself caught up in the debate.


  1. I was horrified by the destruction of the pump house. The historians clearly unhappy, but not allowed to say so.

  2. Rseponse received from the BBC as follows:

    "Thanks for contacting us about BBC Two’s ‘Restoration Home’.

    I understand you feel the episode featuring Nutbourne pumping station was not a true restoration as the property was modernised rather than restored. I appreciate you feel this ran counter to the purpose and intent of the show.

    This series follows owners of crumbling historic buildings as they save them from ruin by restoring them into 21st-century dream houses. In this episode Nick and Brigitte wanted to turn the concrete carcass into a carbon efficient home for life.

    We try very hard to produce a wide range of high quality programmes and services which we hope will appeal to our audiences. The BBC is a publicly-funded broadcaster serving the whole of the United Kingdom providing programming to a hugely diverse audience with differing tastes and preferences.

    Your comments are most welcome as we’re driven by audience reaction and I'd like to assure you that I've registered your complaint about this programme on our audience log. This is daily report of audience feedback and it's made available to all BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

    The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions on future BBC programmes and content.

    Once again, thank you for contacting us."

  3. It’s terrible what they did to that building, I’m glad you emailed, it is disgusting. As someone living in Canada where historical buildings like that are rare, it was terrible watching them destroy it just to turn it into a cookie cutter home. The outside is the only part they should have been credited for. Normally I like BBC but this was a huge letdown and I hope the people who destroyed the building feel very guilty for what they’ve done.