Historic England

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Historic England is England's state conservation agency . It was constituted under this name on April 1, 2015.

Profile and tasks

Historic England was founded in 1983 as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England and was part of English Heritage from 1984 to 2015 . Since then, English Heritage has only managed the state-owned publicly accessible monuments and sites (called the National Heritage Collection ), while Historic England owns these sites. The task of Historic England is the preservation of around 500,000 protected monuments and the scientific recording (inventory) of the protected monuments, for which the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England is responsible as part of Historic England . The monuments placed under protection are published in the National Heritage List for England . The legal process of placing under protection takes place upon application by the responsible minister following the recommendation of Historic England . A building permit for a listed building ( listed building consent ) is not issued by Historic England , but by the local planning authority . Historic England provides technical advice and grants through its employees, the Inspectors of Ancient Monuments , authorities and owners. It keeps a list of endangered monuments ( Heritage at Risk ). In the Government Historic Estates Unit , it looks after the monuments owned by the state. In addition to the headquarters in London and Swindon , where the archive and photo collection ( Historic England Archive , formerly the National Monuments Record ) is operated, Historic England has an archaeological research center in Portsmouth and nine regional offices. It commissions a large number of excavations that document archaeological sites in the context of construction work. It carries out research projects and publishes guidelines for the preservation of historical monuments and scientific articles, including in the online magazine Historic England Research .

Budget and staff

The budget, mainly borne by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport , was £ 103 million in the 2015–16 financial year. In 2015, Historic England (or its predecessor, English Heritage ) made a total of £ 19 million in grants for monuments, including £ 13 million for endangered monuments. Since English Heritage looks after the publicly accessible monuments in care of the state on behalf of Historic England , it is subsidized by Historic England if it cannot balance its budget from its own income. As of 2016, Historic England had 953 employees, spread across the equivalent of 790 full-time positions. Of which were 136 in the "science" ( research ), 78 in the "protected status" ( listing ), 291 in the "planning" ( planning ), 110 in the area of "communication, education, public relations" ( engagement ), 175 in the area " Administration and technical services ”( corporate and support services ).


The scientific recording of historical monuments in England began in the 19th century through the initiative of regional and national historical societies ( Archaeological Societies ) and individual scholars. Associations such as the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings are dedicated to protecting these monuments . They campaigned for state monument protection legislation, which resulted in the Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882, which only listed archaeological sites in small numbers and made their protection dependent on the consent of the owners. Be the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments was Augustus Pitt Rivers appointed. The officers in charge of protection were the state commissioners of works . They could also purchase monuments for the public purse to protect them. However, the recording of the monuments worthy of protection ( inventory ) was paralyzed, so that in 1908 the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England was founded for this purpose. She published from 1910 monument inventories for the counties of England, in which all monuments should be scientifically described. Other laws ( Ancient Monuments Protection Acts ) followed in 1900 and 1910 and culminated in the Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1913, which essentially remained in force until 1979. The law called the Ancient Monuments Board into being as the highest government body on monument protection issues, which for the first time received certain powers to intervene to protect the monuments. In this context, a monument protection authority ( Ancient Monuments Branch / Ancient Monuments Inspectorate ) was created in the State Building Office of Works in 1912 . However, the monuments in ecclesiastical use have remained exempt from this state surveillance ( ecclesiastical exemption ). The Ancient Monuments Inspectors were responsible for advice and inventory , while maintenance work was carried out by architects from the Office of Works (later: Ministry of Works ). For a long time, legislation focused on archaeological sites, while remaining cautious about placing inhabited buildings under protection. The Town and Country Planning Act of 1932 (updated: 1944 and 1947, and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act of 1990) and the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act (1953) were decisive for these architectural monuments . The newly created Ministry of Town & Country Planning , which was later renamed the Ministry of Housing , therefore also built a department for monument protection by Historic Building Investigators under a Chief Inspector in 1946 in view of the war damage to architectural monuments of Historic Buildings . From 1944, the new legislation established the procedure of formal listing and the resulting requirements for building permits. In 1970 the two ministries ( Housing and Works ) merged to form the Department of the Environment , in which monument preservation was organized in the Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings under the direction of the Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments . In 1979, the legislation was updated in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act .

After the demolition of an Art Deco building in London in 1980 revealed weaknesses in the preservation of historical monuments, Michael Heseltine reorganized the state preservation of monuments as Minister of the Environment in the National Heritage Act in 1983 . The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission now replaced the Ancient Monuments Board and, with the staff of the previous Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings , acted under the name English Heritage since 1984 . The Historic Buildings Council , which had advised the Minister and assessed funding measures since 1953 ( Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act ), was also incorporated into the new body. The transformation from a department of the ministry to an independent agency ( quasi-autonomous non-governmental body , abbreviation Quango ) corresponded to the Thatcher government's view that state authorities are inefficient and should be replaced by private-sector non-governmental organizations. This was also reflected in the replacement of the lengthy official title with the catchy English Heritage , with which the cultural-political term of heritage for the “national cultural heritage” began to displace older names such as ancient monuments . In 1997 responsibility was transferred to the Ministry of Culture. In 1999 the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England was also integrated into English Heritage . In the same year the research center in Portsmouth, established as the Central Archeology Service , was attached to the Ancient Monuments Laboratory established in London in 1950 . Since then it has acted as the Center for Archeology . In the English monument protection philosophy, one means of protecting important monuments has always been the acquisition by the state in order to create a National Collection (as of 2015: around 880 objects). The valorisation of these state monuments by making them accessible and public relations made it appear appropriate to decouple their management from ownership of them and from the other activities of the monument protection authorities. Hence, Historic England was established for the latter functions.


  • Keith Emerick: Conserving and Managing Ancient Monuments. Heritage, Democracy, and Inclusion. Woodbridge 2014.
  • Charles Mynors: Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and Monuments . 4th ed. London 2006.
  • Simon Thurley: Men from the Ministry. How Britain saved its Heritage . New Haven (Conn.), 2013.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Website , accessed August 10, 2016.
  2. ^ Website , accessed August 10, 2016.
  3. In the Annual Report 2015/16 ( Web link ( Memento of the original from August 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this note. ) Cited £ 90m grant from the Department and £ 13m own revenue. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / content.historicengland.org.uk
  4. ^ Website , accessed August 10, 2016.
  5. Annual Report 2015/2016 ( Memento of the original dated August 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , P. 32 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / content.historicengland.org.uk
  6. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C852
  7. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C16593 ; Understanding Historic Building Conservation, ed. Michael Forsyth. Blackwell 2007.
  8. Simon Thurley: Men from the Ministry. How Britain saved its Heritage . New Haven (Conn.), 2013.
  9. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2530
  10. http://www.culture24.org.uk/am23125 , accessed August 11, 2010