‘The building is safe’ - hairdresser’s message after ‘at risk’ register worries customers

PUBLISHED: 07:11 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:23 24 October 2019

Philip Bushnell, owner of John Olivers. Photo: Lauren Cope

Philip Bushnell, owner of John Olivers. Photo: Lauren Cope


The owner of a hairdressers housed in a building declared ‘at risk of being lost’ has moved to reassure customers they are open, safe and trading as usual.

26 to 30 Elm Hill, which have been added to Historic England's At Risk register. Photo: Historic England26 to 30 Elm Hill, which have been added to Historic England's At Risk register. Photo: Historic England

Last week, Historic England released its latest Heritage At Risk Register, which is updated each year and details sites that are "most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development".

This year's register included two new additions in Norwich - Bishop Salmon's Porch and 26 to 30 Elm Hill.

The latter is home to offices, a bridal shop and hairdressers John Olivers, which has been based in the 17th century building since 1971.

Its owner Philip Bushnell, who has been at the business since 1974, said the news had prompted a flurry of calls to its salon from concerned customers asking if they were still open - and the building safe to enter.

26 to 30 Elm Hill, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood26 to 30 Elm Hill, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

"We are open and we are trading as normal and the building is extremely safe the best of my knowledge," he said. "If it was dangerous I would not have staff here."

MORE: The two new Norwich buildings declared 'at risk' of being lost

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Mr Bushnell said works had already been undertaken in parts of the building, including its roof, which was rebuilt after a fire 10 years ago.

He said he was pleased to see the building - which is owned by Norwich City Council - added to the register, but says he was not told beforehand.

"If by registering it [the city council] can receive grants and benefits to keep maintaining these buildings that's fantastic," he said.

"If they don't do something they will lose a historic part of the city. Registering them in my mind is a great idea because we can make Elm Hill an area where people want to come."

He said the area, popular with tourists, risked becoming forgotten by locals.

Historic England said the building had "one of the most extensive medieval vaulted undercrofts in Norwich", with part of the building - away from the hairdressers - suffering from problems in its floor structure.

They said all owners were notified if their properties were added to the register.

Work is ongoing between Norwich City Council and the Norwich Preservation Trust to bring the whole building back up to scratch.

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