English Heritage

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English Heritage (officially the English Heritage Trust) is a charity that manages over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places. These include prehistoric sites, medieval castles, Roman forts and country houses. The charity states that it uses these properties to ‘bring the story of England to life for over 10 million people each year’.

Contents

English Heritage
EnglishHeritageLogo.svg
English Heritage's logo
MottoStep into England’s story
PredecessorThe Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, also known as English Heritage
Formation1 April 2015 (2015-04-01);
Preceding English Heritage government agency, formed 1983
TypeCharity
Registration no.1140351
HeadquartersThe Engine House, Swindon
Region
England
FieldsHeritage
Membership (2014/15 [1] [2] )
1.34 million
Chief Executive
Kate Mavor (From 5 May 2015)
Chairman
Sir Tim Laurence
Revenue (2014/15)
£74.5 million [1]
Expenses (2014/15)£176.2 million [1]
Staff (2015)
2,699 [1]
Volunteers (2014/15)
1,872 [1]
Website www.english-heritage.org.uk

Within its portfolio are Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Tintagel Castle and the best preserved parts of Hadrian's Wall. English Heritage also manages the London Blue Plaque scheme, which links influential historical figures to particular buildings.

Stonehenge Neolithic henge monument in Wiltshire, England

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Dover Castle medieval castle in Dover, Kent, England

Dover Castle is a medieval castle in Dover, Kent, England. It was founded in the 11th century and has been described as the "Key to England" due to its defensive significance throughout history. It is the largest castle in England.

Tintagel Castle

Tintagel Castle is a medieval fortification located on the peninsula of Tintagel Island adjacent to the village of Tintagel, North Cornwall in the United Kingdom. The site was possibly occupied in the Romano-British period, as an array of artefacts dating to this period have been found on the peninsula, but as yet no Roman era structure has been proven to have existed there. It was settled during the early medieval period, when it was probably one of the seasonal residences of the regional king of Dumnonia. A castle was built on the site by Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall in the 13th century, during the later medieval period. It later fell into disrepair and ruin.

When originally formed in 1983, English Heritage was the operating name of an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government, officially titled the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, that ran the national system of heritage protection and managed a range of historic properties. [3] It was created to combine the roles of existing bodies that had emerged from a long period of state involvement in heritage protection. In 1999 the organisation merged with the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and the National Monuments Record, bringing together resources for the identification and survey of England's historic environment.

In the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, Treasury, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to quangos. NDPBs are not an integral part of any government department and carry out their work at arm's length from ministers, although ministers are ultimately responsible to Parliament for the activities of bodies sponsored by their department.

The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) was a government advisory body responsible for documenting buildings and monuments of archaeological, architectural and historical importance in England. It was established in 1908 ; and was merged with English Heritage in 1999.

Historic England Archive organization

The Historic England Archive is the public archive of Historic England, located in The Engine House on Fire Fly Avenue in Swindon, formerly part of the Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway.

On 1 April 2015, English Heritage was divided into two parts: Historic England, which inherited the statutory and protection functions of the old organisation, and the new English Heritage Trust, a charity that would operate the historic properties, and which took on the English Heritage operating name and logo. [4] [3] [5] The British government gave the new charity an £80 million grant to help establish it as an independent trust, although the historic properties remained in the ownership of the state.

History

Non-departmental public body

Over the centuries, what is now called 'Heritage' has been the responsibility of a series of state departments. There was the 'Kings Works' after the Norman Conquest; the Office of Works (1378–1832); the Office of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues and Works (1832–1851); and the Ministry of Works (1851–1962). Responsibility subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Public Building and Works (1962–1970) then to the Department of the Environment (1970–1997) and now the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). [6] The state's legal responsibility for the historic environment goes back to the Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882. [7] Central government subsequently developed several systems of heritage protection for different types of 'assets', introducing listing for buildings after WW2 and conservation areas in the 1960s.

The Office of Works was established in the English Royal household in 1378 to oversee the building of the royal castles and residences. In 1832 it became the Works Department forces within the Office of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works and Buildings. It was reconstituted as a government department in 1851 and became part of the Ministry of Works in 1940.

Commissioners of Woods and Forests

The Commissioners of Woods, Forests and Land Revenues were established in the United Kingdom in 1810 by merging the former offices of Surveyor General of Woods, Forests, Parks, and Chases and Surveyor General of the Land Revenues of the Crown into a three-man commission. The name of the commission was changed in 1832 to the Commissioners of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works and Buildings. The Crown Lands Act 1851 replaced the Commissioners with two separate commissions, the Commissioners of Works and Public Buildings and the Commissioners of Woods, Forests and Land Revenues dividing between them the public and the commercial functions of the Crown lands.

Ministry of Works (United Kingdom) former department of the UK government

The Ministry of Works was a department of the UK Government formed in 1940, during World War II, to organise the requisitioning of property for wartime use. After the war, the Ministry retained responsibility for Government building projects.

In 1983 Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Heseltine gave national responsibility for the historic environment to a semi‑autonomous agency (or 'quango') to operate under ministerial guidelines and to government policy. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission was formed under the terms of the National Heritage Act 1983 on 1 April 1984. [2] [8] The 1983 Act also dissolved the bodies that had previously provided independent advice – the Ancient Monuments Board for England and the Historic Buildings Council for England and incorporated these functions in the new body. Soon after, the commission gained the operating name of English Heritage by its first Chairman, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. [3]

Michael Heseltine British politician

Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine,, is a British politician and businessman. Having begun his career as a property developer, he became one of the founders of the publishing house Haymarket. Heseltine served as a Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001, and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including serving as Deputy Prime Minister under the latter.

A quango or QUANGO is a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation. It is typically an organisation to which a government has devolved power, but which is still partly controlled and/or financed by government bodies. As its name suggests, a quango is a hybrid form of organization, with elements of both non-government organizations (NGOs) and public sector bodies. The concept is most often applied in the United Kingdom and, to a lesser degree, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United States, and other English-speaking countries.

Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu British politician

Edward John Barrington Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, was an English Conservative politician well known in Great Britain for founding the National Motor Museum, as well as for a pivotal cause célèbre in British gay history following his 1954 conviction and imprisonment for homosexual sex, a charge he denied.

English Heritage commemorative plaques conference, 2010. English Heritage began administering the London Blue Plaques in 1986. English Heritage Commemorative Plaques Conference (4368209823).jpg
English Heritage commemorative plaques conference, 2010. English Heritage began administering the London Blue Plaques in 1986.

A national register of historic parks and gardens, (e.g. Rangers House, Greenwich) was set up in 1984, [9] and a register for historic battlefields (e.g. the Battle of Tewkesbury) was created in March 1995. [10] 'Registration' is a material consideration in the planning process. In April 1999 English Heritage merged with the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) [11] and the National Monuments Record (NMR), bringing together resources for the identification and survey of England's historic environment. By adoption this included responsibility for the national record of archaeological sites from the Ordnance Survey; the National Library of Aerial Photographs, and two million RAF and Ordnance Survey aerial photographs. These, together with other nationally important external acquisitions, meant that English Heritage was one of the largest publicly accessible archives in the UK: 2.53 million records are available online, including more than 426,000 images. In 2010–2011 it recorded 4.3 million unique online user sessions [12] and over 110,000 people visited NMR exhibitions held around the country in 2009/10. [13] In 2012 the section responsible for archive collections was renamed the English Heritage Archive.

Battle of Tewkesbury 1471 battle in the English Wars of the Roses

The Battle of Tewkesbury, which took place on 4 May 1471, was one of the decisive battles of the Wars of the Roses. The forces loyal to the House of Lancaster were completely defeated by those of the rival House of York under their monarch, King Edward IV. The Lancashire heir to the throne, Edward, Prince of Wales, and many prominent Lancastrian nobles were killed during the battle or were dragged from sanctuary two days later and immediately executed. The Lancastrian king, Henry VI, who was a prisoner in the Tower of London, died or was murdered shortly after the battle. Tewkesbury restored political stability to England until the death of Edward IV in 1483.

Ordnance Survey National mapping agency of the UK for Great Britain

Ordnance Survey (OS) is the national mapping agency for Great Britain. Since 1 April 2015 Ordnance Survey has operated as Ordnance Survey Ltd, a government-owned company, 100% in public ownership. The Ordnance Survey Board remains accountable to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It is also a member of the Public Data Group.

As a result of the National Heritage Act 2002, English Heritage acquired administrative responsibility for historic wrecks and submerged landscapes within 12 miles of the English coast. [14] The administration of the listed building system was transferred from DCMS to English Heritage in 2006. However, actual listing decisions still remained the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who is required by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to approve a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

Following the Public Bodies Reform [15] in 2010, English Heritage was confirmed as the government's statutory adviser on the historic environment, and the largest source of non-lottery grant funding for heritage assets. [16] It was retained on grounds of "performing a technical function which should remain independent from Government". However the department also suffered from budget cuts during the recession of the 2010s resulting in a repairs deficit of £100 million. [5]

Charitable Trust

In June 2013 the British Government announced plans to provide an £80 million grant to enable English Heritage to become a self-financing charity (roughly following the precedent set by the transformation of the nationally owned British Waterways into the Canal & River Trust). The national portfolio of historic properties remain in public ownership, but the new English Heritage will be licensed to manage them. [17] [18] [19]

The change occurred on 1 April 2015 with the statutory planning and heritage protection functions remaining an independent, non-departmental public body, rebranded as Historic England. The care of the properties in the National Collection and the visitor experience attached to them were transferred to the new English Heritage Trust, although the English Heritage name and logo remains. [4] [3] The new trust has a licence to operate the properties until 2023. [20]

National Collection

Stonehenge, one of English Heritage's most famous sites. Stonehenge2007 07 30.jpg
Stonehenge, one of English Heritage's most famous sites.
Stonehenge visitor centre. Opened in December 2013, over 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the monument, just off the A360 road in Wiltshire. Visitors' centre Stonehenge.JPG
Stonehenge visitor centre. Opened in December 2013, over 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the monument, just off the A360 road in Wiltshire.

English Heritage is the guardian of over 400 sites and monuments, the most famous of which include Stonehenge, Iron Bridge and Dover Castle. Whilst many have an entry charge, more than 250 properties are free to enter [21] including Maiden Castle, Dorset and St Catherine's Oratory.

The sites are part of the portfolio of over 880 historical places across the UK amassed by the British Government between the 1880s and the 1970s to form the National Collection of built and archaeological heritage. (The balance is in the care of Historic Scotland and Cadw.) These sites represent a deliberate attempt by the state in the 19th and early 20th century to take the nation's most significant prehistoric sites and medieval sites, which were no longer in active use, into public ownership. [22] This national property collection performs the same function as pictures in the National Gallery and the archaeological material in the British Museum.

Unlike the National Trust, English Heritage holds few furnished properties. New sites are rarely added to the collection as other charities and institutions are now encouraged to care for them and open them to the public. [22] One recent acquisition, in late 2011, was the Harmondsworth Barn in west London, close to Heathrow airport.

The properties are held by English Heritage under various arrangements. The majority are in the guardianship of the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with the freehold being retained by the owner. The remaining properties are either owned by English Heritage, other government departments or the Crown Estate. [13]

In 2013–14 there were 5.73 million visits to staffed sites, with 713,000 free educational visits to sites, collections and tailored learning activities and resources. [2]

Funding

As a charitable trust, English Heritage relies on the income generated from admission fees to its properties, membership fees and trading income from (e.g.) catering, holiday cottages and shops. It also has income from fundraising and grants. To ease the transition, the government has supplied £80 million a year until 2023 to cover the backlog of maintenance to the sites in English Heritage's care. [23]

Previously, when English Heritage was a non-departmental public body and included the functions of planning, listing, awarding grants, heritage research and advice, most of its funding came from government. In 2013–2014, English Heritage had a total income of £186.55 million of which £99.85 million came from grant-in-aid, with the remaining £86.7 million from earned sources. This included £17.47 million from property admissions, £14.96 million from catering and retail, £22.91 million from membership and £26.39 million from donations and grants. [2]

The trust's financial plan sees the annual requirement for subsidy being cut from £15.6 million in 2015/16 to £10.1 million in 2020/21 and zero in 2022/23. [23]

Membership

Members of the public are encouraged to join English Heritage as "members". Membership provides benefits such as free admission to its properties and member-only events as well as reduced-cost admission to associated properties. [24] Members also get access for free or reduced cost to properties managed by Cadw in Wales, Historic Scotland, the Office of Public Works in the Republic of Ireland, Manx National Heritage on the Isle of Man and Heritage New Zealand. [25] In 2014/15 there were 1.34 million members. [1] However membership does not convey voting rights or influence over the way English Heritage is run.

Participation in consultations and web-based surveys by English Heritage is not restricted to its membership. [26] It invites various groups and members of the public to give views on specific issues, most notably in recent years about the Stonehenge road tunnel project proposals.

Volunteering

The organisation welcomes volunteers. Roles range from room stewarding, running education workshops and gardening, to curatorial cleaning and research. [27]

In 2014/15 the number of regular volunteers reached 1,872 up from 1,473 in 2013/14. [2] [1]

Management and governance

English Heritage's London office at Holborn Bars. 142 Holborn Bars, London.jpg
English Heritage's London office at Holborn Bars.

English Heritage is governed by a Trustee Board who set the strategic direction of the organisation and ensure that the organisation delivers its goals and objectives. It is led by the Chairman, currently Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence. Other trustees are Alex Balfour, Vicky Barnsley OBE, Sukie Hemming, Ronald Hutton, Kate James-Weed, Sir Laurie Magnus, Ian McCaig, Malcolm Reading, Sarah Staniforth, James Twining and Charles Gurassa. [28]

Operational management is delegated to the chief executive, Kate Mavor who began on 5 May 2015 after moving from the National Trust for Scotland. [28] The chief executive is supported by an Executive Board of eight directors. [28]

In 2013/14, prior to becoming a charity, English Heritage employed 2,578 staff. [2]

Blue plaque

A typical English Heritage "blue plaque", here marking the former London residence of guitarist Jimi Hendrix at 23 Brook Street. Blue plaque Hendrix.jpg
A typical English Heritage "blue plaque", here marking the former London residence of guitarist Jimi Hendrix at 23 Brook Street.

English Heritage has administered the blue plaque scheme in London since 1986. These recognise places important to people of significance in the capital and remain the responsibility of English Heritage following the transfer to the voluntary sector in 2015. [29] [30]

For a short period English Heritage trialled plaques outside of London. Plaques have been placed in Liverpool, Birmingham and elsewhere. The scheme was discontinued.

Many other plaques have been created throughout the UK (including London) by town councils, district councils, civic societies, historical societies, fan clubs, companies, and individuals. These are not managed or require approval from English Heritage. An open register is available at Open Plaques. [31]

Controversies

English Heritage sites in Cornwall

In 1999 a pressure group, the Revived Cornish Stannary Parliament, wrote to English Heritage asking them to remove all signs bearing their name from Cornish sites by July 1999 as they regarded the ancient sites as Cornish heritage, not English. Over a period of eleven months members of the Cornish Stannary removed 18 signs and a letter was sent to English Heritage saying "The signs have been confiscated and held as evidence of English cultural aggression in Cornwall. Such racially motivated signs are deeply offensive and cause distress to many Cornish people". On 18 January 2002, at Truro Crown Court, after the prosecution successfully applied for a Public Immunity Certificate to suppress defence evidence (these are normally issued in cases involving national security), three members of the group agreed to return the signs and pay £4,500 in compensation to English Heritage and to be bound over to keep the peace. In return, the prosecution dropped charges of conspiracy to cause criminal damage. [32]

In 2011, Conservative MP George Eustice stated that Cornish heritage "is not English" and that there is "a growing feeling that Cornwall should have its own heritage organisation, taking over from English Heritage." [33] He suggested that English heritage be replaced "with a Cornish Heritage group, just like they have for instance in Wales and Scotland." [34] The then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was called upon to give cash to a new autonomous body in Cornwall by "top slicing" English Heritage's budget. [35]

Fortress House

Fortress House: the former London headquarters of English Heritage at 23 Savile Row, now demolished Englishheritagehq1.jpg
Fortress House: the former London headquarters of English Heritage at 23 Savile Row, now demolished

In 2006, The Secretary of State at the DCMS issued a certificate of exemption from listing for Fortress House, the then English Heritage headquarters. [36] In 2009, it was demolished and the site redeveloped for a commercial office building. [37]

Photography

In 2010 the organisation sent an email to open access photograph agency fotoLibra, attempting to ban the unauthorised commercial use of photographs of Stonehenge. A subsequent statement of regret was issued, clarifying that "We do not control the copyright of all images of Stonehenge and have never tried to do so." The organisation added that they request that commercial photographers pay fees and abide by certain conditions. [38]

See also

Similar organisations

Related Research Articles

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References

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  38. Cheesman, Chris (22 October 2010). "Stonehenge bosses 'regret' photography ban (update)". Amateur Photographer . Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2011. The storm centred on a message sent to picture agency fotoLibra which read: 'We are sending you an email regarding images of Stonehenge on your fotoLibra website. [...] The statement, published on the English Heritage website, adds: 'We do not control the copyright of all images of Stonehenge and have never tried to do so. [...] 'If a commercial photographer enters the land within our care with the intention of taking a photograph of the monument for financial gain, we ask that they pay a fee and abide by certain conditions.

Further reading