Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 18:55 UK

Dockyard joins world at-risk list

Sheerness Dockyard
The first dockyard at Sheerness was proposed by Samuel Pepys

A dockyard in Kent has been added to an international watch-list of threatened heritage sites.

Sheerness Dockyard, on the Isle of Sheppey, is one of five sites in the UK placed on the World Monuments Fund (WMF) list for 2010.

The former naval site at the mouth of the Thames and Medway rivers includes Grade I and Grade II listed buildings and ancient scheduled monuments.

WMF has added 93 sites to its at-risk list, including Machu Picchu in Peru.

The dockyard was nominated by Save Britain's Heritage, a charity that campaigns for protection for historic buildings.

The first dockyard at Sheerness was proposed by the diarist Samuel Pepys when he was a Royal Navy official in 1665, but destroyed by the Dutch in 1667. After the Napoleonic wars the dockyard was completely rebuilt as a planned town.

Sheerness and the Isle of Sheppey have been rather overlooked in recent years
Dr Jonathan Foyle, WMF Britain

World War II and Cold War structures, including a nuclear bunker, were added during the 20th Century and warships were stocked and repaired there until its closure in 1960.

The dockyard, which has since been split between different owners, was selected because parts of the site are unused and decaying while other areas are faced with redevelopment despite local opposition, the WMF said.

Dr Jonathan Foyle, from WMF Britain, said: "Sheerness and the Isle of Sheppey have been rather overlooked in recent years.

"It's more famous now as a commercial dock for importing fruit and veg, but right next to that is this exquisite piece of history which has been overlooked to the extent that it hasn't been looked after properly."

According to the fund, the list helps to give monuments the recognition they need to survive.

Some 630 sites in 125 countries have been included on the eight biannual watch lists since the scheme started in 1996.

The five other UK heritage sites under threat are the Tecton Buildings, Dudley Zoo, in the West Midlands; St John the Evangelist Parish Church, Shodon, Herefordshire; five historic graveyards in Edinburgh; and Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, Belfast.

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