In order to avoid being listed by Historic England, a developer recently demolished an ornate Jacobean pendant ceiling at one of their sites. Previously a hotel and bar, the owners, Midas Properties/G&E Baio Ltd, had a planning application to subdivide and convert the building into student flats that was currently under review.
The property—15 Small Street—is located in Bristol, a town best known for its examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture though having been a medieval and 17th-century city as well, there are fine examples of Jacobean works deserving of preservation. Bristol's Conservation Advisory Panel had applied last week for the building to become spot-listed.
Historic England was in the process of assessing the building, but had been unable to arrange access with the owners, who were also deferring scheduled site visits by Bristol City Council planning officers. In the interim, the developer was able to demolish the almost 400-year old ceiling.
Historic England described the event in a statement saying that they "received an urgent listing application for 15 Small Street, Bristol last week. We understand a significant amount of the elaborate Jacobean ceiling was deliberately removed and destroyed yesterday, before we were able to see inside the building. We are continuing with the listing assessment but are saddened that this important 400-year-old feature has been lost for future generations.” Since the ceiling was the main feature of significance, the building is unlikely to be recommended for listing.