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Charitable Status approved: World Heritage UK Aims to Wake the Sleeping Giants

September 17, 2015 Published by Beth Thomas


I am delighted to be able to announce that as of September 1st 2015, World Heritage UK has been granted Charitable status. This is great news and puts the organisation on a firm footing to start to make a real difference for our existing and Tentative List World Heritage Sites.

Below is the text of a press release sent out this afternoon – please do feel free to pass it on to your local media or other interested parties.

Many thanks for your patience, your involvement and your interest and I hope to see many of you at the conference in Saltaire.

Best Wishes

Sam Rose
Chair of Trustees



World Heritage UK Aims to Wake the Sleeping Giants

A new conservation and heritage charity, World Heritage UK, has just been created to help care for the UK’s 29 fantastic and unique World Heritage Sites; recognised by the United Nations as being of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’.

World Heritage UK has been set up by the UK’s World Heritage Sites themselves and will represent the interests of existing Sites and those on the Government’s ‘Tentative List’ for possible future World Heritage status. The new charity has three strategic aims based around:

  • networking – encouraging the sites to learn from each other;
  • advocacy – making the case for World Heritage Sites as a key resource in local and national policy, and;
  • promotion – raising the World Heritage Sites profile through education, interpretation and marketing

The charity aims to be the main voice for World Heritage in the UK and will be the only organisation that is exclusively focused on World Heritage issues. It will build partnerships and relationships across the sector, and with partners, such as national and home nation governments, UNESCO in the UK, Local Authorities and the National Trust, and it will disseminate information regarding the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention and related issues. Private organisations and individuals will also be encouraged to become members and get involved with their World Heritage Sites locally and nationally.

Dr Sam Rose, Chair of the new board of trustees said: “The UK’s World Heritage Sites are a fantastic national resource for education, tourism and for our international image. They include some of our greatest cultural and natural assets such as Stonehenge, The Giant’s Causeway, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and the Castles of North Wales. They are also great fun to visit! Other countries make far more of their World Heritage Sites and the UNESCO World Heritage ‘kite-mark’ as positive tools for conservation and regeneration – we are keen to take a leaf from their book”.

Sir Neil Cossons, a former Chairman of English Heritage and Director of the Science Museum, said:

‘”hope that World Heritage UK will help to galvanise practical action and support for World Heritage Sites in the UK, and raise their mysteriously low profile. Collectively they are the sleeping giants of heritage”

Professor Ian Wray, a new trustee said: “Almost by definition many of the UK’s greatest cultural and collective assets are found in World Heritage Sites. They are a link with our past and our future. At a time when some political developments are changing the UK’s national identity, a strong focus on our common World Heritage can help bring us together”.

Inaugural conference: World Heritage Tourism – unlocking the potential

The new charity will host an annual conference at one of the UK’s World Heritage Sites. The inaugural conference is this year at the Saltaire World Heritage Site in Bradford, October 14th and 15th, showcasing Titus Salt’s Mill and model village. The theme is “World Heritage Tourism – unlocking the potential”, and it features presentations from a fantastic range of speakers including Peter DeBrine from UNESCO, James Berresford CEO of Visit England, and pending confirmation, Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage. There are still a few places available, so for information please go to

Notes for editors

1. Full details about the World Heritage UK are available at

2. There are 29 World Heritage Sites in the UK, including sites of world significance for history, culture, architecture, economic development and the natural environment. The UKs first sites were designated in 1986. The full list of sites is available at

3. World Heritage UK is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, no 1163364 and has evolved out of LAWHF – the Local Authority World Heritage Forum.

4. Contact World Heritage UK in the first instance though its Development Director, Chris Mahon on or its Chair, Sam Rose on

5. The Saltaire conference is gratefully receiving some support from Historic England.