English Heritage has launched The National Heritage List for England, a significant milestone towards achieving better understanding and protection for heritage in this country by opening up information which until now has not been easily accessible to the public.
The National Heritage List for England is a new online database of the country's 400,000 listed buildings, registered parks, gardens and battlefields, protected shipwrecks and scheduled monuments. For the first time ever, separate registers and lists for different types of heritage are combined in one and the public can now go online to search for heritage by postcode, by date, by grade or by any category from listed building to listed lamp-post, from scheduled coal mines to castles.
The List was launched as English Heritage unveiled its programme for 2011 - 12 to 2014 - 15 which will make a significant contribution to the cultural life of the nation in a time of massive social, environmental and economic change.
The programme includes major projects in the National Heritage Collection under its care, and grants, conservation and research projects focusing on the most significant or most threatened heritage in the country.
England's heritage: the next four years
The priorities of English Heritage's work have been guided, for the first time, by The National Heritage Protection Plan, a roadmap that sets out why, what and how England's vulnerable historic environment is to be safeguarded in the next four years.
Developed in consultation with a wide range of partners, it shows where the threats are the greatest and will help English Heritage to prioritise its work. It will also help other heritage professionals and volunteers to contribute to the business of managing England's heritage.
Some of the priorities are:
- Marine and coastal heritage;
- 20th century heritage;
- Historic towns and suburbs;
- Rescuing heritage at risk;
- Supporting local authorities and building local capacity;
- Ensuring heritage protection continues under changes to planning system;
- Supporting the sale of public assets and encouraging their sympathetic re-use;
- Safeguarding heritage amid increasing development pressures;
- Tackling heritage crime; and
- Understanding the energy performance of historic buildings and help homeowners adapt and "green up" their properties in the most effective way
"It is imperative that we concentrate on what only we can do"
Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, said: "Our main task is to identify and protect the most significant physical remains of our nation's history and to make them even more accessible and even more widely appreciated. This is a huge challenge. For our part, we will be making considerable investment in our major properties which will hugely enhance people's appreciation of these places and their part in our nation's story.
"But overall, despite our best efforts, the state of the nation's heritage is fragile, and we cannot do everything. Nor should we. As public funding diminishes, it is imperative that we concentrate on what only we can do. Ours is a national responsibility to create and apply national standards. It is important that we support and collaborate with others to promote the great cultural legacy we all share. We need to provide support for local communities and private citizens to champion their local heritage. The new National Heritage List will make a huge difference here."
Heritage at your fingertips
The National Heritage List for England is the statutory list of all designated historic places such as listed buildings and scheduled monuments and this is the first time that all have been available to search in one website. Anyone interested in what's special in their local area, keen to know more about a period in history, or research a particular architectural style will find the list a useful resource.
Those involved in the planning process, such as local authorities, developers or owners can use this resource to research information on heritage assets for planning applications. Anyone can nominate a place to be considered for designation using the online form.
English Heritage's Corporate Plan contains information on the new projects and initiatives that will be implemented between 2011 and 2015.