Swindon's James Bond warehouse now a listed building
A yellow-roofed warehouse in Swindon that featured in a James Bond film has been given listed status.
It was singled out by Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey, on the advice of government agency English Heritage, in the latest move to protect post-war architecture.
The Spectrum building, formally the Renault Distribution Centre, in Swindon, was designed by Sir Norman Foster and features yellow steel "umbrella masts" and a yellow roof around the single-storey glass-walled ware house. Built in 1980, the building featured as the backdrop to scenes in the 1984 James Bond film, A View to a Kill. It has been given Grade II* listing.
It was listed along with several others, including a Cold War bunker in Kent and a concrete electricity sub-station in Sheffield.
Mr Vaizey said: "Everyone knows that England has a fine and wonderful built heritage. But it's sometimes forgotten that we have many outstanding modern buildings too.
"Our architects are among the best in the world and it's absolutely right that their finest work is afforded the same protection as their historic forebears.
"The buildings and structures I am listing today demonstrate this well. Innovative, exciting and eye-catching, they each in different ways show that architecture in this country is very much alive and well in the modern world."
Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, admitted that listing modern buildings, which some people saw as "concrete monstrosities", could be controversial.
"Few areas of English Heritage's work are as disputed or as intriguing as the listing of modern heritage and these striking buildings listed today exemplify our rigorous and highly selective approach.
"Some still view the buildings of the era as concrete monstrosities, others as fine landmarks in the history of building design," he said.
The listings coincide with the opening of an English Heritage exhibition, Brutal and Beautiful, looking at the UK's love/hate relationship with recent architectural history.
Oddly, the Spectrum building is not 007's only link to the West Country, or even Swindon.
In fact, Bond's creator Ian Fleming was schooled in the region and is buried in rural Wiltshire. Fleming grew up hating his first school, Durnford, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset.
He arrived at the age of six in the autumn of 1914. His father was an MP who, three years later, lost his life on the Western Front.
The former RAF Little Rissington airfield in Gloucestershire was covered in fake ice and snow for Pierce Brosnan to career through in a car chase in Die Another Day.
Swindon features twice in the Bond film story – The World Is Not Enough was also filmed at the Motorola building on the other side of town.
It seems fitting that a couple of miles outside Swindon, in the Wiltshire countryside, is the village of Sevenhampton, where in the churchyard lies Fleming's grave.
While none of the actors who have played 007 have hailed from the West, Weston-super-Mare-born John Cleese, who now lives in Bath, played Q – the technician who armed them with their bewildering array of gadgets – in two movies.