Blenheim Palace wins VisitEngland award

Awards, Blenheim Palace, Business, Celebration, Culture, News, Tourism, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Blenheim Palace 2017Blenheim Palace has been awarded the highly regarded VisitEngland Quality Assured Visitor Attraction. The accreditation offers prospective visitors from all over the world the reassurance of an official endorsement of high quality and showcases the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s tireless commitment to excellence.

With scores of more than 80% in each category, judges found Blenheim Palace to have a 100% score in its Retail Category and an impressive 93% score in the Attraction Category.

Judges from VisitEngland commented “Blenheim Palace achieved an overall score of 89% under the VisitEngland Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme. The broad range of well-publicised tours and experiences particularly impressed this year.

They continued: “Excellent customer service was the overriding quality delivered throughout the day with some outstanding individuals at the visitor information desk, two of the retail facilities and the buggy tour driver.”

Heather Carter, Operations Manager at Blenheim Palace says: “This represents another great audit by an internationally recognised body of quality for our visitors. VisitEngland have given us a very positive score which we are all thrilled with. She continues: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff who work so hard to maintain this standard of excellence.”

Built in the early 18th century to celebrate Britain’s victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession, Blenheim Palace is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

For more information please contact: Melodie Manners | melodie@flamingo-marketing.co.uk | 07815 709548 or 01637 873379

Jurassic Coast Trust becomes guardian of World Heritage Site

Business, Celebration, communications, News, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

Dorset and East Devon CoastThe Jurassic Coast Trust has just started on a new and exciting stage in its development having recently taken on the responsibility for looking after the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site.

Known to one and all as the Jurassic Coast, the Site stretches from Studland Bay in Dorset to Orcombe Point in Exmouth, East Devon and is England’s only natural World Heritage Site.  Since being given this accolade by the UN’s Scientific, Cultural and Educational body UNESCO in 2001, leadership and management of the Site has been by Dorset and Devon County Councils, coordinated through a small team hosted in County Hall in Dorchester.

This 16-year period has seen the World Heritage Site maintained in great condition, the growth of a national and international brand, the redevelopment of existing and creation of new visitor centres and museums, and the delivery of a huge range of educational activities, all relating to the Jurassic Coast.

The Trust is an independent charity that aims to make the Jurassic Coast an even more meaningful and inspiring part of people’s lives and it is already supported by a range of local businesses and local Ambassadors who get behind its passionate commitment to the Coast.

Alex O’Dwyer, Vice Chair of the Jurassic Coast Trust, says, “The Jurassic Coast Trust is thrilled to be taking on responsibility for the management of this extraordinary World Heritage Site. Our work over the last few years, alongside the County Councils, has been to build understanding of the coast and engage people in it, so that they will care for it and cherish it. “

Hilary Cox, Chairman of Dorset County Council, said “The Jurassic Coast has done great things for the communities, and visitors, of Dorset and East Devon for many years and we look forward to supporting the Trust to grow and expand on our achievements.”

Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highway Management at Devon County Council, added “We value the benefits that cross-border working has brought to both Devon and Dorset, and we are excited about taking the Jurassic Coast to the next stage under the Trust’s leadership.”

The Trust will be working coast-wide from its new base in Bridport. One of its early highlights is the collaboration with the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester to bring ‘Dippy’, the Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus skeleton, to the Jurassic Coast.   You can find out more about this and the work of the Trust at www.jurassiccoast.org.

For more information: Sam Rose, Chief Executive, The Jurassic Coast Trust,       Mountfield, Rax Lane, Bridport, DT6 3JP  01308 800349    sam.rose@jurassiccoast.org     https://jurassiccoast.org/

Cornish ‘Man Engine’ wins HLF best arts award

Arts, Awards, Celebration, communications, Cornish Mining Landscape, Culture, News, Performance, Photograph, Technology, Tourism, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

MAN ENGINECongratulations to Golden Tree Productions, whose ‘Man Engine’ has won the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Best Arts Project’ Award. The Man Engine was such a great success when it toured the World Heritage Site areas of Cornwall and west Devon last year and we are all thrilled that this achievement has been recognised in this way.

Commissioned by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site as part of its  ‘Tinth’ Anniversary programme of events in 2016, the giant metal puppet, “MAN ENGINE”, which toured mining heritage sites across west Devon and Cornwall, has won the National Lottery Best UK Arts Project Award, beating more than 1,300 other entrants.

Created by arts company Golden Tree Productions, in response to the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site call for proposals from the region’s vibrant culture sector to celebrate World Heritage status, Man Engine attracted over 150,000 people to events at locations across the Site and generated 160 million views across traditional and digital media outlets worldwide.

Julian German, Chairman of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Partnership, said: “This is obviously wonderful news for everyone in Cornwall and west Devon, and beyond. The World Heritage Site Partnership, backed by Cornwall Council, were seeking a vision, an ambition and a tenacity that would come together in a fitting tribute to our ancestors’ ingenuity and entrepreneurialism. We certainly found this in the Man Engine. The Man Engine undoubtedly captured the world’s imagination, bringing the towns and villages along the route to the attention of an international audience, and stimulating enthusiasm for and awareness of the importance of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Today’s announcement of the National Lottery Arts award will yet again honour the stories, the dedication and the ingenuity of our ancestors, and I extended our thanks and congratulations to the Golden Tree team.”

Will Coleman, artistic director of Golden Tree, added that: “Last year, we collectively pulled off something truly spectacular, working together with people all over Cornwall and West Devon to make the Man Engine tour the length of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site a reality.  This year, we’ve done it again thanks to almost 8,000 people voting for the Man Engine to become the country’s favourite Arts project in the National Lottery Awards.  What a phenomenal response. I simply want to thank everyone who commissioned us, supported us, sponsored us, volunteered for us, sang for us, helped us along the way, or simply came to see us and took part. The personal and family stories of triumph and tragedy have been deeply moving. I am delighted to confirm that this win is a significant boost to our plans for the Man Engine to awaken again.  2018 will see him touring across Cornwall and Devon and heading to Wales and England on his travels. For now, I cannot say any more, but thank you again to everyone that voted, and watch this space for news very soon!”

For more information: Ainsley Cocks, Research and Information Officer, Cornish Mining World Heritage Site Office / Sodhva Lown Ertach an Bys Balweyth Kernewek

Tel: 01872 322585                                                                                         Email: acocks@cornwall.gov.uk                                                Web: www.cornishmining.org.uk

English Lake District World Heritage Site inscription announced

Awards, Celebration, Conservation, Events, News, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites
Wasdale-5-Andrew-LockingWasdale – copyright Andrew Locking

From the World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow, Poland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO announced yesterday:

T­­­he English Lake District, a cultural landscape in North West England that inspired Romantic poets and conservationists including William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter, has been inscribed onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The Lake District was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in Krakow, Poland, in July 2017.

World Heritage Sites are areas recognised for their ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ (OUV), meaning their cultural or natural heritage transcends national boundaries and is of importance to present and future generations of all humanity. Recognised for its landscape of mountains, valleys and lakes intertwined with over 1,000 years of human activity, the Lake District will now become the UK’s 31st World Heritage Site, and one of five World Heritage Sites in the UK recognised as a “cultural landscape.”[1]

The UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites form an important part of the diverse UNESCO family in the UK. This now includes over 160 UNESCO designations such as Creative Cities, Global Geoparks, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Chairs. All these designations are working toward the common aim of enhancing peace, security and sustainable development by fostering international collaboration through education, science, culture, communication and information.

[1] These are Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew (England), St Kilda (Scotland), Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (Wales), and the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (England).

 

Blenheim Palace wins Great China Welcome Award

Awards, Celebration, News, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

Blenheim Palace has won national recognition for its positive approach to welcoming visitors from China.

Blenheim_PalaceThe Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site was presented with the GREAT China Welcome award at VisitEngland’s prestigious Awards for Excellence event held at the Hilton Waldorf Hotel in London on Monday.

The GREAT China welcome programme aims to make Britain the destination of choice for the rapidly-growing Chinese market.

Blenheim Palace’s Operations Director, Heather Carter said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. Blenheim Palace is a living, changing experience with a wealth of events, themed tours and exhibitions throughout the year, and welcomes millions of visitors both from the UK and overseas. We were the first stately home to sign up for the GREAT China Charter and we are committed to developing our Chinese market.

“Blenheim is continually looking at innovative ways to improve and adapt the visitor experience to appeal to Chinese tourists and to underline the fact we are ‘China ready’,” she added.

Among the initiatives currently in place are Chinese guide books and guides, an audio guide and map on their website, a Mandarin speaking waitress in the Orangery and a menu in Mandarin. All staff also have the opportunity to enrol in Mandarin Chinese language classes free of charge.The team are about to produce audio recordings of some of the Palace and Gardens tours in a variety of languages; including Chinese.

Blenheim Palace was also among the first major UK heritage visitor attractions to accept UnionPay, the most widely used bank debit card throughout China and South East Asia.In addition to its on-site initiatives.  Blenheim Palace works with a number of Chinese travel groups, tour operators and trade missions in China.

At the centre of the programme is the GREAT China Welcome Charter which helps Chinese visitors to easily identify hotels, attractions, retailers and tour operators that are making themselves ‘China-ready’ by providing information in Mandarin or Cantonese and adapting their products for the Chinese market and culture.

Built in the early 18th century to celebrate Britain’s victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession, Blenheim Palace is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Waters and Wonder at City of Bath World Heritage Day!

30th Anniversary, Arts, Bath 2017, Celebration, Events, News, Performance, Uncategorized, UNESCO, world heritage day, World Heritage Sites

Drawing the windows on Pulteney BridgeBath’s annual celebration of International World Heritage Day took place on Sunday 23 April in the sunshine at a beautifully blooming Parade Gardens.

The ‘Waters of Bath’ was the theme for the day and free activities exploring the history and use of Bath’s hot springs, canal network and River Avon were enjoyed by over 1400 visitors of all ages.

View of standsThe gardens came alive with the sound of music courtesy of Bath Spa Band and Bath City Jubilee Waits, who also accompanied the Widcombe Mummers in their colourful ‘St George and the Dragon’ play to mark St George’s Day.

Special guided walks are an ever popular feature of the annual event.  Various routes and subjects were covered, from the history and features of Parade Gardens to waterside tours.  These were led by the Mayor’s Honorary Guides, Cleveland Pools Trust and the National Trust.

This year, for the first time, World Heritage Day featured a programme of mini talks.  These focused on the history of Bath’s waters as well as updates from projects and initiatives across the World Heritage City including Bath Abbey Footprint, the Bathscape landscape partnership, Bath Medical Museum and the restoration of Cleveland Pools.

A record-breaking number of heritage displays and activity stands were present on the day offering opportunities to find out more about local canals, river safety, Bath’s best green views, Lottery-funded projects and heritage initiatives.  Location knowledge was tested with the ‘Great Spas of Europe’ picture quiz and flags were added to a giant world map to show the far-flung World Heritage Sites people had visited.  Visitors were treated to the Bath Record Office Roadshow and the chance to see real objects associated with the spa from the Roman Baths collection.  They even got to meet Paralympic champion swimmer Stephanie Millward and try on her medals at the Cleveland Pools stall!  It was wonderful to bring together so many (27!) of the City’s key heritage organisations, who enjoyed catching up with each other as well as enthusing visitors.

World Heritage Sites world mapsThere were lots of family-friendly activities to keep younger visitors entertained including craft activities, World Heritage dominoes, historic maps, colouring competitions and a bookmark stamp trail.  Special mention must be made of the amazing Pulteney Bridge model-building activities offered by Bath Preservation Trust. Robert Adam, the original Georgian architect, was wandering round the site all day and was most impressed with the efforts of budding designers and engineers.  He also posed for many selfies with his physician in tow in front of his world-famous bridge.

Robert Adam and his PhysicianAll in all the day was a great way to kick off the 30th anniversary celebrations of Bath becoming a World Heritage Site.  Watch this space for a series of special talks in the Autumn as we continue to celebrate this milestone.

LIVERPOOL – UK’S FIRST “HERITAGE ROLE MODEL”

Awards, Celebration, News, Planning, Uncategorized

Liverpool- John Hickey-fryLIVERPOOL has become the UK’s first “Heritage Role Model” – after being chosen to help spearhead Europe’s biggest drive to develop historic city centres.

Liverpool is one of ten cities – and the only one in the UK – to successfully bid for 10 million euros of Horizon 2020 funding to examine how cities can use heritage as a powerful engine for economic growth.

Liverpool City Council is to receive just over 400,000 euros from the prestigious ROCK programme (Renewable Heritage in Creative and Knowledge Economies) which will be used to promote the city’s unique assets and develop community engagement around its Mercantile World Heritage Site (WHS) – the results from which will help create a new European strategy.

ROCK funded activities will include initiatives to increase participation such as a citizen/youth board, volunteer programmes and social and wellbeing projects hosted at the Grade I listed St George’s Hall, which will celebrate the 10 anniversary of its £23 refurbishment in April.

This will be coupled with new digital interpretation panels and ‘way finder’ signage to connect the historic waterfront (including the newly established RIBA Centre at Mann Island) to key historic and cultural assets such as the Town Hall, St George’s Hall and the wider St George’s Quarter.

The funding, which is to be to be approved by Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet in February, coincides with a five year review of Liverpool’s WHS which found that £427m has been invested in heritage buildings with a further £245m on site and in the pipeline.

The survey found that 18 listed buildings situated within Liverpool’s WHS have been refurbished/brought back into use since 2012 with council financial assistance, such as the Aloft Hotel, the award-winning Central Library and Stanley Dock. Similar schemes to a further 19 listed buildings within WHS are currently on site.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Receiving this European funding is a huge coup for Liverpool and demonstrates how highly the city is internationally regarded in the way it protects its heritage.

“This funding will allow us to invest in radically improving our marketing and interpretation of our key heritage assets to residents and visitors, which will help further fuel our global appeal and booming tourism economy. 

“The collaboration with such prestigious partners will also provide an invaluable opportunity to exchange best practice with other historic cities such as Athens, Bologna and Lisbon and will put us at Europe’s top table for heritage development.”

It is hoped ROCK heritage pilot activity will form the basis for more substantial initiatives to build on ‘best practice’ across partners, increase heritage participation in all age groups, and improve inclusion and wellbeing.

Knowledge exchange and mentoring will take place across all cities on best practice deployment of sensor technology to monitor and conserve Heritage assets.

The 32 partner project, overseen by the city of Bologna, includes expert representation from UNESCO, United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), European Universities Association (EUA), and URBACT and is the largest of its kind in the H2020 programme.

It is regarded as the pinnacle of international heritage research, the results of which will form the basis for a future European wide strategy linked to RSI3 smart specialisation.

Parliamentary Reception for World Heritage

30th Anniversary, Advocacy, Celebration, Events, News, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

Celebrating 30 years of World Heritage in the UK

Guest blog by Henry Owen-John, Head of International Advice, Historic England

On November 29th Historic England, in partnership with WHUK and others, organised a parliamentary reception to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UK’s first World Heritage Sites. At the event hosted by Historic England Commissioner Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey on the terrace of the House of Lords, the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, spoke of her own enthusiasm for some of the UK’s WHSs that she had visited with her family. She also drew attention to figures just published in Heritage Counts https://content.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/heritage-and-the-economy/heritage-and-the-economy-2016.pdf/ that show that 40 million people, participate in heritage – almost 75% of the population. The Secretary of State praised the work done by all those involved in the management and promotion of the UK’s WHSs.

Baroness Lola Young and Secretary of State Karen Bradley (all images copyright Historic England)

40 MPs and 20 members of the Upper House were present together with 150 people from across the heritage sector in the UK to hear Sir Laurie Magnus the Chair of Historic England and Duncan Wilson talk passionately about WHSs and what they mean to communities across the world. Duncan suggested that the words of Croatian writer, Slavenka Drakuliç, on what the destruction of the bridge at Mostar meant to her, epitomised everyone’s passion for outstanding heritage: ‘We expect people to die; we count on our own lives to end. The destruction of a monument to civilisation is something else. The bridge in all its beauty and grace, was built to outlive us; it was an attempt to grasp eternity. It transcended our individual destiny. A dead woman is one of us. But the bridge is all of us forever.’ The backdrop to these words was an image of a joyous celebration of the reconstructed bridge at Mostar.

Sir Laurie Magnus and Duncan Wilson, the Chair and CEO of Historic England

Historic England advises government on meeting the UK’s obligations under the terms of the World Heritage Convention and works closely with World Heritage UK in promoting good practice in the management and presentation of our WHSs and championing their value, not only as places of outstanding universal value, but also as drivers for economic, environmental and social benefit. Duncan Wilson said that while in other parts of the world there were threats from armed conflict and natural disaster, in the UK we had our own challenges in protecting some of our WHSs from over development. However, he also made clear that in the 30 WHS in the UK and its overseas territories we have many examples of good practice which is widely respected on the world stage.

During the event a short video was shown which captured the essence of many of the UK’s WHSs and put over some key messages about the value of world heritage. The video can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhidUvtRR-M&t=15s

Gorham’s Cave Complex is UK’s 30th World Heritage Site

30th Anniversary, Awards, Celebration, Events, Gorham's Cave Complex, News, UK Overseas Territories, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

Amidst the current turbulence of Turkey’s political crisis, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has agreed to the inscription of the Gorham’s Cave Complex at its meeting in Istanbul yesterday. In the year that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the first World Heritage Sites for the UK, we can now rejoice on achieving its 30th World Heritage Site in as many years. Congratulations to all concerned on this success and best wishes for a safe return home.

_77321675_gorham'scave(left)

The Gorham’s Cave Complex is the last known site of Neanderthal survival, around 28,000 years ago, in the world; it provides one of the most detailed sequences in southern Europe, combining evidence of climate, sea-level and ecological change, of the critical period leading to the Last Glacial Maximum;  It contains a rich archive of plant and animal fossil material allowing a detailed reconstruction of ecological change and the subsistence ecology of Neanderthals.  The material from the excavations includes the largest collection of fossil bird species from this period anywhere in Europe.  This Complex also provides an insight into the arrival of Modern Humans to their last European outpost. The presence of Solutrean parietal and mobile art adds to the site’s significance.

WH YOUTH AMBASSADORS ARE NATIONAL VOLUNTEER GROUP OF THE YEAR!

Awards, Celebration, News, UNESCO

‘World Heritage Youth Ambassadors’ have won the NATIONAL VOLUNTEER GROUP OF THE YEAR  award!

This is one of the top volunteering awards in Wales presented by Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).  Nominated by Blaenavon Town Council for the work undertaken within the World Heritage Site, and for the work done during the Youth Summit.

The World Heritage Youth Ambassadors is a fully funded HLF project run by the Blaenavon World Heritage Site and led by Torfaen County Borough Council. It is a project that empowers young people aged 13-25 to have a voice and an active role in the management of the World Heritage Site and this has proved highly successful.

This prestigious award is a real testimony not only to the fact the volunteer programme works, but recognizes the hard work and dedication of a small but active bunch of young people who are making a real difference in the World Heritage Site.

 The award will be received on Friday 10th June at a ceremony in Cardiff Castle.