Britain is littered with blue plaques commemorating where famous authors and politicians lived. Yet we happily demolish our most important industrial landmarks without marking them for posterity.
What many these places represent in the inventive nature of our forefathers but seems to be sadly lacking today in the fact that despite the efforts of many in engineering and scientific institutions we still can't get young people seriously interested into entering these professions.
As an aside we are just over a year away from the closure of the last big coal station in the UK at Ratcliffe. The design here had progressed the generator size from Holborn by 5000 times and massively reduced the amount of coal that was burnt to achieve that output. Ratcliffe isn't particularly special there were dozens like it but like Billingham it becomes the last. It can't be saved as a museum unfortunately but will it be acknowledged for how it whirred away in the background since 1968 providing electricity to the UK grid,
Yes, history is important, including the notorious downsides sometimes still lurking in our soils and the silts of our rivers and estuaries. Will we increasingly rely on some of our legacy structures for a perforce less material and energy consuming world? The railway bridge over the Tweed at Berwick upon Tweed is still working, standing on the great imported pine piles that were hammered in by some of the first steam hammers. There is a small museum presentation in the station. And there are still 2000 miles of canals. 'Money' is a poor signal for perceiving wider utility or future value?
Growing up in São Paulo, Brazil, the biggest building downtown was the ‘predio da Light’, meaning the once British owned Electric Light & Power company. Now a shopping centre. https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edif%C3%ADcio_Alexandre_Mackenzie
What about industrial places that get renovated into other spaces, such as condos? Should that be happening more often? I think some keep a marker of what the building used to be.