Characterisation helps to manage change in the historic environment by tracing the imprint of history. Piecing together information from maps new and historic, from aerial photos, and from the wealth of data that we already have about archaeology and buildings, it builds up area-based pictures of how places in town and country have developed over time. It shows how the past exists within today's world.
These fascinating insights into the historic environment, however, are about the future, not the past. Characterisation is not an academic exercise but a vital tool for developers and planners to make sure that a place's historical identity contributes properly to everyone's quality of life.
English Heritage's Characterisation Team, headed by Graham Fairclough, is based at 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2ST. The team works with many partners across the historic environment sector, in local government (www.algao.org.uk ) and beyond, mainly on characterisation work that tests new methods or reaches into new areas. Many other parts of English Heritage, notably our Regional Teams, run their own characterisation projects. The team's work covers:
Conservation Bulletin Issue 47: Characterisation
The Conservation Bulletin is a free, full-colour illustrated periodical on conservation issues. Issue 47 of the bulletin was dedicated to exploring the subject of characterisation.
Download Conservation Bulletin Issue 47 from our Conservation Bulletin section.