In recent times we have seen a lot of properties built to quite simply house us. High rises and housing estates that offer no individuality, but simply seek to place us all in concrete boxes – concentric circles of red brick buildings with the same concrete tiles that buzz around new towns, distinctly lacking in personality or beauty. Developers are always looking to capitalise upon any shred of land they can find, and if it wasn’t for institutions to protect areas of historical interest, we would lose some truly fascinating sites in lieu of a cheap housing fix.
So let’s be thankful for the English Heritage. It is their prerogative to preserve sites of natural beauty, outstanding architecture and historic sites, so that we can still understand, care for and enjoy the wonderfully woven tapestry of England’s unique history.
But it’s not just England’s history – it’s our history. The past with its architecture; its battlefields; its parks, is the platform we stand upon as we look to the future. Without knowing and understanding the past we are, as the saying goes, ‘doomed to repeat it’.
It’s what gives our simple streets such meaning and if that’s not important then I don’t know what is.
This isn’t, however, an exclusive club that is run for your amusement, and they are always looking for people to get involved and work towards protecting English heritage sites! This can be done in a variety of ways:
You can volunteer to help out the organisation, with a whole load of things that you can get involved with. From stewarding properties to the curatorial cleaning of historical artefacts and even gardening, it’s a great way to learn new skills through their training programmes, meet new people and get up close and personal with your history!
If you think that there is a significant site near you that hasn’t been recognised, or a building that ought to be listed, you can also submit places to their evaluation process! This is a great way to further preserve places of cultural, historical or architectural importance that have been overlooked!
You can even go one step further and take ownership of a heritage site! Throughout the UK there are communities of people who have taken it upon themselves to up-keep significant sites that the local authorities no longer bother with, or want to sell off from falling into disrepair or the hands of developers.
Image by David Dixon