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Readers launch Facebook campaign to save former newspaper offices

Readers of a regional daily have launched a social media campaign to save its “iconic” former offices from being knocked down.

As reported on HTFP on Monday, so-called ‘Big Glass Ship’ building in Plymouth has been earmarked for demolition by owner Daily Mail and General Trust.

But now almost 3,000 people have joined a Facebook page demanding that the building, which housed the city’s Herald title and the Western Morning News from 1993 to 2013, be saved and given listed status.

The award-winning glass and steel landmark, pictured below, was designed by architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, who was also responsible for Cornwall’s Eden Project and London’s Waterloo Station.


Under English Heritage rules on structures being given listed status, buildings built within the last 30 years have to be exceptionally important to be listed, and under threat.

Paul Lynch, who started the campaign, told The Herald he believed it was “an iconic building”.

He said: “When I read in The Herald that it could be knocked down I thought it was sad. It seems a bit of a waste. I am sure there are businesses in Plymouth that could take it on and use it.

“It doesn’t make sense. It’s on an industrial site. They wouldn’t get permission for housing, so the site is not worth more than the building.

The 46-year-old baker added: “I think it should be listed. The response (to the Facebook page) is quite impressive. A lot of people think the same.”

“Hopefully somebody a lot more knowledgeable than I am will take this on. I think The Ship fits with the maritime history of Plymouth that’s familiar all around the world.”

Barrie Williams, who served as Western Morning News editor between 1995 and 2005, said Plymouth City Council should have made more effort to save the building.

He wrote on HTFP: “If nobody wants to buy a building that is no longer of any use to DMGT it cannot just be left to rot away?

“It is indeed a beautiful, breathtaking structure which was my professional ‘home’ for ten very happy and rewarding years but if no other business in Plymouth ( the community to which it was dedicated ) is interested in acquiring it, which is hard to understand,what is DMGT to do?

“The city council should have used its very considerable power and influence to find a suitable, imaginative use for ‘The Ship’ – thus saving it for Plymouth – long before now.”

Professor Robert Brown, head of Plymouth University’s architecture school, has also expressed his “sadness” at the proposed demolition.

He told the Herald:  “It is useful to have a building of that nature. Plymouth is known as a place of innovation. To lose a distinctive building would feel like a step back.”

The building has been left vacant since the two newspapers relocated to a more central base.

DMGT, which retained the ownership of the building after the papers were sold to Local World, has yet to respond to requests for a comment on the issue.