Salon Archive

Issue: 69

Weekly meeting report

Speaking at this week�s meeting on the subject of �Artistic Propaganda in the Wars of the Roses�, Elizabeth Danbury told Fellows that the use of symbols and mottoes by the Tudor monarchs was ubiquitous, as illustrated by some of the splendid items on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum�s current Gothic exhibition. Very few badges, caps, tapestries, bedclothes, hearse cloths and robes of the era have survived, but we can find rich evidence for their ubiquity in the illuminated manuscripts and charters of the era. Various themes and symbols can be traced from their earliest use as a way of demonstrating political allegiance, culminating in the forceful use of symbols under Henry VII, who was a propagandist to match any modern master of spin.

A full report of the meeting held on 6 November is now available on the Fellows� side of the Society�s website.

Forthcoming meetings

14 November: Meeting to be held in the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, when a paper entitled �1776: meanwhile, back in Chancery Lane� will be given by the General Secretary.
20 November: Sculptural Traditions in Roman Britain, by Dr Martin Henig, FSA
27 November: The Berkeley Castle Muniments, by David Smith, FSA

Fellows� news

Fellows living in America are reminded that next week�s meeting is to be held in Boston, when both the General Secretary and the President will speak. The meeting is to be held on Friday 14 November, and not on the usual Thursday.

Back in London, the Society�s Administrator, Jayne Phenton, has suffered an accident in which her Achilles tendon was damaged. Although she has now been discharged from hospital, Jayne is on crutches and will not be able to spend much time in the office over the next few weeks, which will put a strain on the Society�s administration at a busy time of year. Fellows are asked to bear with the situation until normal service is resumed.


The achievements of two late Fellows were celebrated in obituaries that appeared during the week. Harold Yexley, FSA, was described in The Independent as an �incorruptible ancient monuments architect�, that epithet relating to an occasion when he was charged with �clearing up after a serious case of bribery at Audley End, which resulted in dismissal and imprisonment for some staff�. Happily this was an atypical incident in a life devoted to looking after a number of royal palaces: for example, at Hampton Court, he was responsible for converting former grace-and-favour apartments into premises for organisations connected with conservation work, such as the Royal School of Needlework. Harold Yexley died on 29 October 2003, at the age of 83.

In The Times, Canon Derek Ingram Hill, FSA, was described as having had a lifelong love affair with Canterbury Cathedral that would shape the course of his life. �His enthusiasm and energy� said the obituary, �was coupled with a passionate devotion to Canterbury and its cathedral, and made him a popular figure not only in the city and the parishes he served, but also with the thousands of visitors who were lucky enough to be taken by him on a tour of what he was later, in a book on the subject, to call �Christ�s Glorious Church�.�

�His enthusiasm for the cathedral issued in a popular cathedral history Christ�s Glorious Church (1976), the New Bell�s Guide to Canterbury Cathedral (1986), and The Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral (1982), an account of the diocesan order of priests founded by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1541. But his Canterbury interests were not confined to the cathedral, and he wrote copiously about the parish churches of Kent, the King�s School, and the ancient hospitals and almshouses of the city. He was in constant demand for lectures, broadcasts, addresses and reviews � some of which appeared in Archaeologia Cantiana and the Cathedral Chronicle which he edited from 1974 to 1992. He was president of the Kent Archaeological Society, and was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1974.�

Canon Derek Ingram Hill died on 20 October, 2003, aged 91.

English Heritage to refocus its designation work

As the deadline for responses to the DCMS consultation on the future of the listing and scheduling regime passed last Friday, 31 October, English Heritage announced that it was setting up 30 pilot schemes to flesh out the detailed implications of putting certain of the proposals into practice � for example, the use of management agreements in place of listed building consent. EH also said that �Ministers have now agreed our proposals to refocus our designation resources over the next two years to pilot the new ideas of a single national List, unified designation and more flexible management�. The implication of EH�s statement is that there is still a long way to go before any major changes are made to the existing regime � a two-year pilot period will, for example, take us to the other side of a general election.

In making this announcement, English Heritage, which has worked very closely with DCMS throughout the year-long review, published its own response to the consultation, saying that �The foundation of our response is the commitment, shared by the Secretary of State in announcing this review, that we need to maintain the present levels of statutory protection for the historic environment.�

Naturally enough, EH welcomed the proposal that it should take over statutory responsibility for compiling the national List, saying that it would �remove some of the misconceptions about the distinction between Government as policy maker and English Heritage as case-by-case decision maker�. EH is also very much in favour of �owners being better informed about why their property or ancient monument has been protected, what is considered important about it and how they can best look after it; local authorities having clearer guidance about how to enable change and apply controls; developers enjoying greater certainty; and amenity societies and others concerned locally or nationally with conserving the historic environment being better able to obtain information and participate�.

EH does, however, share the concern of the sector as a whole with the proposals to move existing Grade II buildings to local lists or of delegating Grade II listing to local authorities, saying that �these buildings are listed according to strict national criteria and we believe a plethora of local interpretations would have the potential to create the sort of confusion that owners and developers fear�.

Finally EH raised the thorny issue of resources, saying that �the time is right for a wide-ranging debate around the issue of resources and how the management of the historic environment should work. Ensuring the new system can be implemented successfully requires a considerable increase in capacity building and education in local authorities and across the sector and a commitment to improving the quality of decision making at all levels. It should be made a priority in the Government�s 2004 spending review because it would be an investment for the nation."

For a full copy of the English Heritage response to the DCMS consultation paper Protecting the Historic Environment � Making the System Work Better, see the English Heritage website under �News�.

Report on human remains

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will shortly publish a report by the working group on human remains � established in 2001 to investigate the holding of museum collections of human remains. The report is expected to recommend the establishment of an independent licensing authority, charged with licensing collections of remains, and the establishment of an independent tribunal to ensure �fair and transparent procedures� when considering requests for repatriation from traditional owners or tribal leaders who can prove a link to remains removed without consent. Australian Aborigines and native Americans are among those groups who have long campaigned for the return of human remains held in historic collections in the UK.

The report is likely to prove controversial. Sir Neil Chalmers, director of the Natural History Museum, which has 19,500 human remains dating back to prehistoric times, said last week that: �The museum is concerned that some of the detailed recommendations of the report, including an elaborate regulatory system, are unnecessarily bureaucratic and in practice unworkable�.

He added that �these are very complex and difficult questions. A change to the law, together with a clear ethical framework for decision-making, would enable us to conduct more open discussions with claimants, which we welcome. We recognise the concerns of indigenous communities around the world, and need to weigh this up against the great value to humanity of holding our collections and the important research they support. The museum is concerned that the report does not fully recognise the undoubted public benefits deriving from medical, scientific and other research.�

DCMS is expected to respond to the working group�s recommendations early next year.

National Council on Archives wins funding for online archives

The National Council on Archives (NCA) has been awarded an additional �25,000 by Resource to support the third phase of the Access to Archives (A2A) online programme, which enables people to search and browse for information about archives across England.

This funding will be channelled through the Regional Archive Councils. It will be used by institutions holding archives to develop funding bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable their catalogues to go online, thus ensuring the widest possible access to England's archive resources.

Sarah Tyacke, FSA, Chief Executive of The National Archives, which hosts and funds the A2A central team commented: �This grant will add further impetus to the development of The National Archives Network. It will help A2A to increase the number of archival catalogues that can be searched online by helping to lever out more funding, which will make using A2A more rewarding and research easier.�

Nicholas Kingsley, FSA, Chairman of the NCA, said: �The NCA is most grateful to Resource for supporting the A2A project in this way. A2A is already one of the major building blocks of the long-planned National Archives Network, and this grant will allow archive services across the country to come a major step nearer to having all their finding aids available online.�

The legalities of the village green

Last week�s Times Law Report published an article by Paul Clayden, of the Open Spaces Society, setting out the position on law of the village green. �By tradition�, he wrote, �the village green is a small area, often historically part of the uncultivated land of a manor, where local people have a customary right to indulge in �lawful sports and pastimes�. Originally, this phrase was interpreted as something definite and organised, such as cricket or maypole dancing. But today, as the House of Lords recently confirmed, informal activities such as walking the dog or kite-flying can qualify land for registration as a green.�

�Registration�, he points out, �is now the only way to protect greens. All traditional greens should have been registered between 1967 and 1970 under the Commons Registration Act 1965, and any that were not then ceased to be greens. New greens are added to the register when a successful application is made to the appropriate registration authority � the county, unitary or London Borough council in England and the county or county borough council in Wales.�

Making such an application is not onerous. In 1999, law lords ruled that, under the Commons Registration Act 1965 (as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000), land could be registered as a green where there had been open, unchallenged use for at least 20 years for recreational purposes by a significant number of local inhabitants.

Many greens have since been registered, sometimes for heritage reasons, but more often to prevent development. Once registered, the land cannot be removed unless it ceases to qualify as a green. This can happen only if the green is acquired by compulsory purchase for some other purpose or is exchanged for other land. A green cannot lose its status merely by a decline in use for recreation. So registration is a very effective way of protecting open spaces for public benefit.

Further details are to be found in Our Common Land by Paul Clayden (�25; Open Spaces Society, 25a Bell Street, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2BA; 01491 573535).

DEFRA grants licence to bring Great Bustards back to Salisbury Plain

A group of Great Bustard enthusiasts has joined forces with the University of Stirling to win approval for the release up to forty Great Bustard chicks per year for up to ten years on to Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire. The chicks will be raised from eggs that would be otherwise be destroyed or abandoned on cultivated farmland in Saratov in Russia.

Europe's heaviest bird has been extinct as a breeding bird in Britain since the early nineteenth century and although there have been some attempts to re-establish the species none have been successful. Only 15,000 individuals survive in Europe and central Asia, mainly in Spain, eastern Germany and Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, south Romania, Turkey, Moldova, the Ukraine and in parts of southern Russia and Kazakstan. Conservationsists are hopeful that Salisbury Plain will prove a sympathetic habitat: Great Bustards like treeless plains with a predominance of cereal crops, preferably far away from settlements and roads.

South Downs National Park enquiry

A planning inquiry to decide if the South Downs should become a national park opens today, 10 November, in Worthing, West Sussex, and is expected to last for twelve to eighteen months. This could be the last such planning inquiry, as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has announced plans for a fast-track system of decision-making for future inquiries.

The proposal to create a new National Park stretching for 100 miles � from St Catherine�s Hill, near Winchester, to Eastbourne in East Sussex � is being put by the Countryside Agency, with support from English Nature, the National Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and other leading environmental groups. They are also supported by nine of the fifteen local councils concerned. They will argue that the South Downs needs a single authority to co-ordinate land management across the whole area, and that the Downs need protecting from inappropriate developments and insensitive farming.

Those opposed to National Park status for the South Downs are being led by the Country Land and Business Association, and include prominent landowners, such as Viscount Hampden, owner of the Glynde Estate, Lord Gage, who owns the Firle Estate, and Viscount Cowdray, who owns 16,000 acres at Midhurst. They are supported by the National Farmers� Union (NFU) and six Conservative-controlled councils. They say that the scheme would create an expensive and unwieldy bureaucracy when cash could be spent instead on greener farming schemes. They claim that planning decisions will be removed from local councils and that park authority officials will interfere in land management and impose constraints on farms and rural businesses.

Supporters of the South Downs Campaign (a network of some eighty organisations) say that most local people want to live in a national park and that every survey has shown at least 60 to 80 per cent in favour. Chris Todd, the campaign officer, said: �The present arrangements just don�t work. Each council does its own thing and they are not doing the job properly�.

The South Downs was first proposed as an area worthy of national park status in 1947 by Sir Arthur Hobson, chairman of the National Parks Committee. Some sixty years on, the decision to create a South Downs park was announced by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, in 1999, saying that it (along with the proposed New Forest National Park) was �Labour�s hundredth birthday present to the nation�. Six thousand representations have since been made to the Government, of which 72 per cent are in favour of the national park.

Restoring William Morris�s Red House

Last Sunday�s Observer contained an article on the dilemmas facing the National Trust as it tries to decide how far to go with the restoration of Red House. Should they try to return Red House to its original state, or should it �embrace and conserve its interior's current charming hybrid of two styles: on the one hand, Morris's homespun arts and crafts aesthetic; on the other, the stark twentieth-century modernist taste of architect Ted Hollamby and his wife, Doris, who bought Red House in 1952 and lived here until they died recently?�

Red House opened to the public in July, even though the National Trust is still trying to reach a final decision on how to present it. According to the article, �The last thing [the Trust] wants to do is create a twee Morris theme park. �We don't want to create a shrine to Morris� , says Julia Simpson, who is overseeing a research programme on Red House, involving studying photos of its interiors over the years and syringeing walls to �unpeel� different layers of colour. �Once that's completed, we'll decide on the appropriate decor�.� To give an idea of some of the decisions facing the Trust, the article points to the �predominantly white walls � which run counter to the arts and crafts tradition of walls in sage green or ochre�. Are they original, or a Hollamby touch? And what should be done about another layer of history: �in the Second World War, the Ministry of Works used the house as a ration-book depot and unceremoniously sloshed murky brown paint all over furniture designed by Webb and decorated by Morris and his coterie, including the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones�.

Red House is open to the public (by pre-booked guided tour) from Wednesday to Sunday all year round (tel: 01494 755 588). The Trust has said that it is interested in hearing views on the restoration project (these can be expressed on the Trust�s website; go to Places to visit, then do a search for Red House).

Webb designs on display in Cumbria

Another of Philip Webb�s designs � St Martin's Church, in Brampton, Cumbria � is celebrating its 125th anniversary next weekend with an exhibition about the design and history of the church, including some of Webb's original plans. This was Webb�s only church, and Pevsner describes it as the work of �a man inventive in the extreme, sometimes on the verge of what we now call gimmicky, a man of character and imagination, and one who, in order to free himself from the fetters of historicism, fiercely mixed his styles�. The result, Pevsner judged, was �a very remarkable building�, but one that lacks the �blissful beauties of a church of the same date by Pearson or Bodley�. Little altered since it opened in November 1878, the church has a set of fourteen Morris and Company windows, mostly designed by Burne-Jones, which Pevsner describes as �glowing with gemstone colours�. The exhibition will be open on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 November from 10am to 4pm, and on Sunday 16 November from 12pm to 4pm. Admission is free.

Stansted likley to be the site of new runway

Despite evidence from the National Trust, SPAB and other campaigning bodies suggesting that new airports would not be necessary if aviation fuel was to be properly taxed and VAT imposed on flights, the Government appears determined to go ahead with plans to expand London�s airport capacity. If this week�s newspapers are to be believed, Heathrow has been ruled out as the site because the British Airports Authority is unlikely to get planning permission until it has dealt with the high level of pollutants around the airport, a problem that can be solved only with the introduction of cleaner aircraft engines. Heathrow could still be in contention for a new runway that is predicted to be needed in the South East by 2018. By then, BAA believes that it will have solved the problem of excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which causes lung diseases and breathing problems. The EU has set mandatory limits on NO2 which come into force in 2010.

By contrast, the much lower population around Stansted airport means that fewer people would be exposed to nitrogen dioxide, and this makes it more likely that new airport facilities will be built there. The news is likely to worry heritage campaigners who believe the infrastructure needed to support the expansion of Stansted will destroy large parts of unspoiled north Essex around Great Dunmow, Thaxted and Saffron Walden. Carol Barbone, director of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: �We don�t have the density of population at Heathrow, but thirty listed buildings would be destroyed by a new runway at Stansted�.

The Government is expected to issue a White Paper on airport expansion in December.

Sir Hans Sloane (1660�1753) and his library

The British Library will host a study day and commemoration of the life and work of Sir Hans Sloane on 24 November 2003. The study day will focus on aspects of Sloane�s vast and encyclopaedic library of some 4,000 manuscripts and 45,000 printed books, (now mostly in the British Library). Speakers include Janet Backhouse, FSA, on European illuminated manuscripts in the Sloane collection; Antony Griffiths, FSA, on the prints and drawings in Hans Sloane�s library; Arthur MacGregor, FSA, on Sloane and the Republic of Letters: correspondence networks at the turn of the seventeenth century; and Giles Mandelbrote, FSA, on Sloane�s printed ephemera. Attendance is free, but participants are requested to register their name and address in advance with Teresa Harrington at the British Library.

The great house from the Roman villa to the stately home

A three-day conference on the great house will take place in the Beveridge Hall, Senate House, London on 26 to 28 January 2004, with a line-up of speakers that includes a stellar cast of Fellows, including Susan Walker, Barry Cunliffe, David Rudkin and David Tomalin talking about Roman villas, Giles Waterfield on education and the country house, Maurice Howard on the transition from monastery to country house, Anthony Emery on social status and medieval houses, Alan Thacker, Elizabeth Williamson and John Newman on various aspects of the meaning and interpretation of great houses, Edward Impey and Clive Aslet on transatlantic perspectives and Michael Thompson and Julius Bryant on historic interiors.

Linking all these, and many other contributions, is a desire to explore opportunities for the re-thinking and re-presentation of the great house in a twenty-first-century world, which no longer shares the unspoken assumptions of earlier eras. How should great houses be interpreted and displayed in a multi-cultural nation where access and outreach are the imperatives of our time? Why and by whom should they be studied and for whom should they be preserved? In what senses are these extraordinary elite creations part of a genuinely national heritage and how do they relate to current ideas about the historic environment?

Further details from the Conference Secretary at the Institute of Historical Research.

Records, Bureaucracy and Power in the Anglo-Norman Realm, 1066-1204

The National Archives, Kew, is hosting this conference on Saturday 27 March, 2004, to mark the 800th anniversary of the loss of Normandy to the Capetian King of France, Philip II, by King John in 1204. Speakers include Dr Elizabeth Hallam-Smith, FSA, Professor David Bates, FSA, and Professor Nicolas Vincent, FSA. They will consider the political framework provided by the rulers who were both kings of England and dukes of Normandy, beginning with William the Conqueror himself; the administrators who carried out the will of the Anglo-Norman rulers; and, in particular, the records which resulted from their work.

Booking forms and further details are on the National Archives website.

AHRB Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior call for papers

The AHRB�s next postgraduate research day will be held on 9 February 2004 at the Royal College of Art, London, and will be concerned with the theme of Domestic Designs: 1400 to the present. The event aims to facilitate encouraging a dialogue between designers, anthropologists and historians. Researchers and students are invited to submit proposals for papers that might address one or more of the following themes: designing and organising the home; using and experiencing the domestic interior; regulating behaviour in the home; limitations and possibilities in the design and study of the interior. Proposals (200 words) should be sent by 1 December 2003 to Hannah Greig. For further information see the RCA website.


Scottish Museums Council, Director
Salary �47,000 to �49,000, closing date 28 November

The Scottish Museums Council is looking for someone to give strong and knowledgeable leadership at a time of strategic change within the Scottish museums sector and in the context of the current review of governance and funding in the Scottish cultural sector as a whole. Further details from Ali Renfrew quoting ref G239 or from the SMC website.

National Army Museum, Director
Closing date 25 November

The post requires a combination of managerial, scholarly and presentational skills and an ability to identify with the history, traditions and ethos of the British Army. For further information, see the Saxton Bampfylde Hever website using job reference AAOA.