Infrastructure: Utilities and Communication

Listing Selection Guide

A guide to outline the selection criteria used when listing utilities and communication structures.

The provision of public water, gas and electricity supplies and the removal of waste and sewage are known collectively as the ‘public utilities’. By the mid nineteenth century these were coming to be seen as the responsibility of central and local government, and some municipalities and corporations saw such improvements as being one of the principal justifications for their existence. Consequently many of the buildings were monumental in scale, and set in carefully designed landscapes. Buildings housing technical services to send and receive messages (postal and telephone networks), comprises a small but significant category of historic structures. They are dealt with here alongside utilities structures as both are functional in purpose and they developed alongside each other.

For the purposes of designation, items such as post boxes, telephone kiosks, drinking fountains, water troughs, items of traffic control, and electrical distribution kiosks are assessed primarily as items of street furniture, and are accordingly dealt with in the Street Furniture selection guide. Well-heads, well-houses and conduits are treated as utilities. Buildings such as the showrooms and offices of gas and electricity boards are dealt with in the selection guide on Commercial and Exchange Buildings. It is also advisable to consult the Industrial Buildings selection guide as there is necessarily some overlap with Utilities and Communications Buildings in areas such as power generation.

This is one of a series of guides which set out some of our approaches to listing buildings. Covering twenty broad categories of building types, they including historical overviews and special considerations for listing, plus select bibliographies. They are primarily intended to develop understanding of listed buildings and structures, and to offer insight into listing decision making.


  • Introduction
  • Historical summary
  • Specific considerations
  • Select bibliography
  • Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 24
  • Product Code: HEAG117


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