05:40PM, Thursday 17 May 2018
Calls for the iconic Horlicks factory to become a listed building have been rejected, following an announcement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
A petition with more than 1,300 signatures asking for the building in Stoke Poges Lane to be listed was started shortly after GlaxoSmithKline’s announcement in July last year to close the factory.
However, based on the recommendations of Historic England, the DCMS announced on Wednesday, May 16 that the factory would not be listed, following an inspection in February this year.
The Government department did decide to give the nearby war memorial a Grade II listing.
Matthew Taylor, an architect who started the petition and the Facebook page ‘Preserve Slough’s Horlicks Building’ said he was ‘surprised’ at the news.
He told the Express: “Although it’s significant locally and it’s a landmark, it seems that in their mind it’s down to the fact that it wasn’t innovative at its time.
“Even though it’s unique and there are not many other factories remaining like that in the UK, from their point of view it’s not that historically significant because it wasn’t the first of its kind.”
Historic England’s report says the factory, which dates back to 1908, is the only Edwardian Factory left in Slough, and predates the Slough Trading Estate’s factories, dating from 1919.
It notes that despite the Horlicks brand’s fame, the factory was not unique in terms of UK factories making powdered drinks, and that others have been demolished or denied historic listing.
Historic England also says much of the factory was altered and expanded from its original form over the decades.
Mr Taylor, who lives near the site in Queens Road, says the building helps encapsulate Slough’s proud industrial history and is iconic even to those passing through by train.
In February, Slough Borough Council (SBC) published a pre-planning application proposal for 766 homes on the site, which said it would preserve the factory’s exterior.
But 42-year-old Mr Taylor says pre-application plans can easily be changed and will continue campaigning, seeking further reassurances from SBC.
He mentioned the demolition of the old Thames Valley University site’s library, designed by architect Richard Rogers.
“There’s been very little effort to preserve the great historic stuff from the town in my experience,” he added.
An SBC spokeswoman said: “Certainly the mood of the council was to protect Horlicks when the sale was announced and I don’t think that has changed.”
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