A prehistoric settlement, hangar buildings and a series of Robin Hood sculptures were among the more unusual heritage places gaining listed status during 2018. Government heritage agency Historic England said there were 924 new listed buildings and structures, including 638 war memorials to mark the centenary of the end of the first world war.

Joining the list was the Tidal Observatory at Newlyn, Cornwall. The observatory was one of three constructed at the request of Ordnance Survey between 1915 ans 1921 to establish mean sea level, and was listed “for the contribution of more than 100 years of tidal data to studies in oceanography, geology and climate change.”

Architectural interest was significant “for the use of local materials and contractors, including Harvey & Co of Hayle, in the construction of the pier and observatory, and for the survival of the tidal observatory and the stilling well within the south pier extension, as specified by the Ordnance Survey in 1914.”

The fishing industry in Newlyn on the south coast of Cornwall expanded in the 1880s, resulting in the construction of a new harbour and two piers. In the early 20th century, the south pier was extended to give better protection to the harbour and a tidal observatory was built at its north end. The observatory was one of three constructed at the request of Ordnance Survey to establish Mean Sea Level.

With the observatory being completed in 1914, hourly measurements were taken of the height of the tide between 1915 and 1921, determining that Newlyn was the most stable and therefore the principal place to establish Mean Sea Level for the entire country. Over the next 100 years, the observatory contributed key tidal data to studies in oceanography, geology and climate change.

Today, all heights on Ordnance Survey maps are referenced to a brass bolt within the observatory, 4.75m above Mean Sea Level – also known as Ordnance Datum Newlyn. The Ordnance Survey gave up responsibility for the tidal observatory in 1983, but it continues to be used for scientific tidal measurements, particularly for guiding climate change and coastal management studies.

“Our historic buildings and places help us to make sense of our past and to understand the world we live in today,” said Heritage Minister Michael Ellis.

“Protecting our heritage ensures that future generations can enjoy, and learn about, our rich history and I am pleased to see that a large number of important places have been added to the National Heritage List in 2018.”

2018 Listing – 924, including 638 war memorials
Scheduled Monuments – 19 
Parks and Gardens – 8
Battlefield – 1
TOTAL – 952