Keeping the National Heritage List for England
Ordinary Meeting of Fellows (Fellows and Guests Only)
70 Not Out: Keeping the National Heritage List for England
Lecture by Dr Roger H Bowdler, FSA.
The talk would look at the challenges we face keeping a huge inventory of significant buildings and sites up to date. Scheduling has been in existence since 1882; Listing since 1944/47; and shortly we will pass the 400,000 entry mark. Since 2011 it has been accessible on-line, and is by far the most visited area of Historic England's web-site. With ever greater levels of investigation under way (private, professional and academic), and modern expectations about transparency and the need for improved regulation, there are new pressures on, and opportunities for, the List.
The talk would look at how we get the public more involved: last year we launched a new initiative: "Enriching the List", which enables the public to upload information and images relating to assets on the List. The talk would also address how we choose our priority areas of work (railways, disposal of publicly owned buildings, post-war sites). The range of assets considered is wide: from prehistoric sites to 1980s sculpture, from battlefields to submerged wrecks, war memorials to Capability Brown landscapes.
We would welcome the opportunity to engage with the Fellowship on this sometimes-controversial area of work.
This summer sees the 70th anniversary of the 1947 Town & Country Planning Act which ushered in listing as we recognise it today. Historic England is also planning to mount an exhibition on "Heritage Destruction" next year, which would have some relevance. This is a high profile area of Historic England activity and a controversial one too - but one of relevance to everybody.