World Heritage UK 2016 Conference programme update – Initial speakers list revealed – and AGM notice

Conference Caernarfon October 2016, Events, News, World Heritage Sites

Image: Penrhyn Castle – evening venue reception. Image from


Dear World Heritage UK supporter,

Conference 2016

Please find attached here the latest draft programme for this year’s UK national conference ‘Why World Heritage Matters‘ to be held on the 10th and 11th October at the Galeri, Caernarfon – adjacent to the ‘Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd‘ World Heritage Site.

This promises to be an exceptional event, with speakers currently including a Welsh Government Minister, Sir Neil Cossons OBE (former chair of English Heritage) and Baroness Kay Andrews (Chair of HLF Wales) from national perspectives, alongside representatives of UK Sites from the grass-roots perspective. The event will also provide great opportunities to network, share good practice and explore exciting sites in North Wales.  The final programme will be issued mid-September, but booking is strong so you are advised to secure your place here.

Also attached is a list of hotels near the conference venue, some offering discounts to conference delegates.

We are a very inclusive community so please do pass this on to any other people that you think might be interested.

AGM 2016

The conference will also host the first AGM for WH:UK, an important moment for all members to have their say in the running of the organisation, and for voting members to determine board membership. If you are interested in becoming a board member, please have a look here.

Best wishes, and we look forward to seeing you in October.


Chris Mahon, Development Director, World Heritage UK, 01352 780774 / 07860 856952
Sam Rose, Chair of Trustees, World Heritage UK

DCMS line up

A new team at DCMS – and World Heritage UK have met the boss


DCMS Changes

Since the arrival of Teresa May as Prime Minister there has been a lot of change at  Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).  The Secretary of State is now the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, who was formerly at the Home Office.

Whilst most other members of the team have changed, the World Heritage community is lucky to have continuety in the form of Tracey Crouch MP, the junior Minister with the brief for Heritage and Tourism, and we look forward to continue working with her over the coming years.

Brexit Round table

Over the last two weeks Site Coordinators have been asked for their views on how they think the referendum result may impact on WH Sites and their management.  This was in order to put together a briefing paper in advance of round table discussion about this issue between the Secretary of State and the Heritage Sector.

We were lucky enough to be offered a place around the table for the meeting, as part of a group that included the National Trust, Historic England, English Heritage Trust, Historic Houses Assocation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Royal Palaces, Heritage Alliance and the Churches Conservation Trust.

So it was in that rather exulted company that I attended the session on Wednesday armed with the views of our membership.  The round table was a useful exercise – collectively we expressed our percieved challenges, notably around losing funding, concerns over European designations and movement of people with necessary skills. We also presented some opportunities, particularly around the potential for new collaborations and the heightened role that the Heritage Sector can play in presenting the UK and in ‘soft power’ diplomacy.

The Secretary of State was relaxed and interested, and sees the importance and value of Heritage. Along with her colleague Lord Ashton (two ministers for the price of one!) we hope that they are able to use our messages around the cabinet table, in committees and in both houses.  I also hope that this is just the start of an enhanced dialogue with government, and I will keep you up to date.

Our briefing paper is available to download from this page – go to the bottom under Brexit discussions.  Please do continue to send Chris or I your examples to collate – the Secretary of State offered us an opportunity to email further thoughts at the end of the meeting, so if we have useful evidence or constructive comments we can send it her way.

Sam Rose









Last lego

The Last Leg(o)! Durham Cathedral’s genius fundraising approach for their Open Treasure exhibition


Last week saw the final brick added to Durham Cathedral in LEGO, marking the end of a successful three-year fundraising campaign.

Pearl Richardson (7) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne was the lucky brick-layer, having won a competition organised by the Cathedral which gave people the opportunity to  be in with a chance of laying the final brick.

Pearl has been a frequent visitor to the Cathedral over the last few years, with her twin brother Murray, because their dad Scott is a stonemason with the Cathedral’s Works Yard Team.

Mum Anne said: “Both children have placed several bricks on the model before and wanted to enter the prize draw to be in with the chance of winning the luck last brick placer’s role.  We were delighted when we heard that Pearl’s name had been drawn out and it is particularly lovely because her daddy has put his mark in history in stone on the Cathedral tower works and now Pearl has placed her own mark in history on the LEGO model.”

Durham Cathedral in LEGO began on 11 July 2013 to raise funds for Open Treasure, the Cathedral’s new state-of-the-art exhibition experience which opened  in July, and was mentioned in our previous blog.

For the last three years, visitors to Durham Cathedral have been adding bricks at a cost of £1 each to Durham Cathedral in LEGO, generating an incredible £300,000 towards the £10.9 million Open Treasure project.

With 300,000 bricks and 1,450 individual modules, Durham Cathedral in LEGO is the largest LEGO model ever built by the general public measuring 3.84 metres long, 1.53 metres wide and 1.7 metres high.

The model has been designed by Bright Bricks, a UK-based company licensed by LEGO to design large-scale LEGO models, who have also worked with museums on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Durham Cathedral’s Head of Development, Gaye Kirby, said: “Durham Cathedral in LEGO has been a brilliant fundraising project, which has attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world to the Cathedral over the last three years. We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of our visitors and it has been wonderful to watch the model taking shape.

Durham Cathedral in LEGO has been such an important part of Cathedral life for the last three years, and we hope people continue to visit the model, which will remain on public display now it is finished.

For more information about Open Treasure, or to book tickets, please visit

Open Treasure - Durham Cathedral

Discover Open Treasure at Durham Cathedral World Heritage Site

News, World Heritage Sites

Open Treasure is a new world-class exhibition experience now open at the heart of Durham Cathedral.
Durham Cathedral has invested over £10 million in Open Treasure, part of a major development project which has transformed how visitors enjoy the Cathedral and gain inspiration from it.

Open Treasure gives visitors access to previously hidden spaces within the Cathedral’s magnificent Claustral buildings, showcasing the Cathedral’s collections so that they can be discovered and enjoyed by many more people of all ages.

The journey begins in the Monks’ Dormitory and continues through a new state-of-the-art Collections Gallery into the Great Kitchen, before visitors return to the Cloister via the Pilgrimage and Community Galleries in the Covey. These new exhibition spaces allow the Cathedral to display treasures from its internationally important collection with a dynamic rolling exhibition programme.

A complementary programme of learning and outreach is providing a range of exciting learning opportunities and events for school children, families and community groups.

Tickets for Open Treasure are available online and from the Visitor Desk in the Cathedral. Click here to plan your visit.