Conservation

Conservation at English Heritage

Conservation is a cornerstone of everything we do at English Heritage. Our experts conserve and maintain over 400 historic buildings and monuments, their associated gardens and landscapes, and half a million artefacts.

In this section we share the practical guidance we have developed for the care of collections, gardens and landscapes, and describe some of our current research projects.

Conserving our Collections

English Heritage staff at work at Walmer Castle, Kent

Wrapping artefacts at Walmer Castle, Kent

There are half a million artefacts in the English Heritage collections, ranging from Roman coins to paintings by Turner and Rembrandt. They are spread across England in over 100 historic houses, churches, museums and stores.

The work of our conservators, conservation scientists and collections care assistants focuses on identifying, understanding and combatting the risks to these collections and interiors.

Find out how we care for our collections

Conservation in Action Eltham Palace Map Room

In the 1930s the owners of Eltham Palace, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, used a room at the palace to plan their worldwide travels. Take a look behind the scenes at how conservators have uncovered maps and beautiful paintings on the Map Room walls.

In the 1930s the owners of Eltham Palace, Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, used a room at the palace to plan their worldwide travels. Take a look behind the scenes at how conservators have uncovered maps and beautiful paintings on the Map Room walls.

Conservation in Action Rievaulx Abbey: Behind the Scenes

Take a look at the conservation work being carried out on historic objects from the collection, including stonework from the abbey buildings, before they went on display in the new museum at Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire.

Take a look at the conservation work being carried out on historic objects from the collection, including stonework from the abbey buildings, before they went on display in the new museum at Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire.

Conservation in Action Dover: A Recharged Battery

Restoring a First World War anti-aircraft gun

English Heritage has restored an anti-aircraft gun used in the First World War and placed it at Dover Castle, where identical gun batteries were used to see off German Zeppelins. Paul Pattison, Senior Historian, explains its transformation.

English Heritage has restored an anti-aircraft gun used in the First World War and placed it at Dover Castle, where identical gun batteries were used to see off German Zeppelins. Paul Pattison, Senior Historian, explains its transformation.

Conservation in Action Richmond Castle: Conserving the Cell Block Graffiti

The thousands of graffiti inscribed by prisoners and others from the First World War onwards on the walls of the Richmond Castle cell block form a unique record. Find out how English Heritage plans to preserve them.

The thousands of graffiti inscribed by prisoners and others from the First World War onwards on the walls of the Richmond Castle cell block form a unique record. Find out how English Heritage plans to preserve them.

Conservation work in progress in the map room at Eltham Palace Eltham Palace Map Room
Stonework being cleaned before it goes on display at Rievaulx Abbey Museum Rievaulx Abbey: Behind the Scenes
Restoration of the anti-aircraft gun before it went on display at Dover Castle Dover: A Recharged Battery Restoring a First World War anti-aircraft gun
First World War graffiti in the cell block at Richmond Castle Richmond Castle: Conserving the Cell Block Graffiti

Gardens and landscapes

Tulip ‘Duc van Tol’, a historic cultivar from 1700 which is similar to tulips that might have been used in 1630, the date of the newly restored garden at Bolsover Castle

Tulip ‘Duc van Tol’, a historic cultivar from 1700 which is similar to tulips that might have been used in 1630, the date of the newly restored garden at Bolsover Castle

English Heritage looks after many nationally important historic gardens and landscapes, such as Wrest Park and Osborne House.

Find out more about our work with these gardens and landscapes, and read our guidance on managing and maintaining them.

More about gardens and landscapes conservation

Collections Advice and Guidance

Dee Lauder, Collections Pest Control Manager, examining insect pest traps at Ranger’s House, London

Dee Lauder, Collections Pest Control Manager, examining insect pest traps at Ranger’s House, London

As well as using our research to guide our own work, we share this expertise with a wider audience.

Our experience and findings are published through technical papers, conference presentations, workshops and guidance notes, and are available to download.

See our collections conservation advice
Conservation at English Heritage

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Caring for over 400 historic places means everything from restoring Old Master paintings, to carrying out essential repair works on buildings, to planting historic gardens and keeping them blooming throughout the year.


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