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3rd March 2009
The historic cabmen’s shelter in the Market Square in Ripon has been listed as a building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), following a request from Ripon Civic Society.

The listing, at Grade II, has been made on the recommendation of English Heritage. In November 2007 David Winpenny, chairman of Ripon Civic Society, compiled a dossier about the shelter for English Heritage, urging that the shelter be listed.

English Heritage’s letter to him, announcing the listing, says that the decision was made because ‘It has a highly-decorative Edwardian design, dating from 191I’ and that ‘It is a nationally rare and well-preserved example of a cabmen’s shelter, an important reminder of the importance of horse-drawn transport in the early C20, supplied by the well-known firm of Boulton and Paul.’

The shelter was bought in 1911 with a £200 legacy from Sarah Carter. Boulton and Paul of Norwich, were iron founders and constructors of prefabricated wooden buildings – they produced the huts for Scott's Antarctic expedition. When modern motor taxis did away with the need for a shelter it fell into disrepair. Local councillor Rowland Simpson bought it in 1980 and donated it to Ripon Civic Society. The Royal Engineers restored it, but ten years later it was damaged by a lorry and members of the Civic Society spent more than £2,000 repairing the damage and repainting the shelter before presenting it to the City Council New Year’s Day 1999.

There has been recent concern that the shelter has been suffering from neglect and in need of a complete overhaul. Ripon City Council voted last year against the possibility of its being listed, but the listing is determined in the merit of the structure and does not take into account the wishes of the owner.

David Winpenny says, ‘The cabmen’s shelter is one of Ripon’s most distinctive small buildings and an important link with the city’s past. We are very pleased that English Heritage has agreed to recommend its listing, and that DCMS has confirmed the designation. Because it is now a listed building it has more protection and the council is legally obliged to take care of it properly. We look forward to seeing it returned as soon as possible to its original state.’

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