Can Imperial History Ride to Heritage’s Rescue?

Andrew Thompson_1000785_0Andrew Thompson
Director, Centre for Imperial and Global History

For the last century Britain has led the world in caring for its heritage. Yet with cuts in public spending and pressures to relax restrictions on development the future of our historic environment is looking ever more uncertain and insecure. Centre Director Professor Andrew Thompson asks whether imperial history can ride to Heritage’s rescue. It is something that struggling heritage groups across the globe might do well to consider.

Imagine a Britain without Stonehenge or Hadrian’s Wall. Imagine our historic landscape no longer embellished by great castles, cathedrals or country houses. This could have easily been a reality today had it not been for a very significant piece of legislation in the nation’s legal history — the 1913 Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act.

This long forgotten, yet landmark piece of legislation, paved the way for the creation of the historic environment that we know and enjoy today. Its premise was that there were monuments and buildings that belonged to our nation’s history: and that government had a duty to ensure their survival.

For the last century Britain has led the world in caring for its heritage. Yet with cuts in public spending and pressures to relax restrictions on development, the future of our historic environment is looking ever more uncertain and insecure. Continue reading “Can Imperial History Ride to Heritage’s Rescue?”