UK World Heritage Sites Review announced

DCMS Minister, News, UNESCO, WHS Review, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

It’s all smiles at the Ministry this morning as World Heritage UK President, Chris Blandford, and Chair, Tony Crouch, meet with Michael Ellis, the Minister for Arts, Meeting the MinisterHeritage and Tourism at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

All good on the day World Heritage UK publicly announces that it will undertake the first review of all 31 of the UK’s World Heritage Sites.

This will be the first time that a comprehensive picture of how the UK’s World Heritage Sites are protected and managed has ever been undertaken. The review is being led by WHUK’s President, a leading international heritage expert. The review will focus on key management problems and issues at the sites, which range from Stonehenge and the Giants Causeway, to Edinburgh New Town and Liverpool’s city centre. It will investigate new options for sustainable management of sites, for public and private sector partnerships, and for improving benefits for local economies, stakeholders and investors.

The process has already started, with in-depth interviews with site managers and stakeholders across the country. Visits have been made to 19 of the 27 ‘onshore’ sites so far, with the other remaining sites scheduled over the next few months.

Sponsorship for the review has been secured from: Historic England; CADW, Wales; Historic Environment Scotland; Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in  Northern Ireland, and others.

It is anticipated that the final report will be completed in late autumn 2018, for sharing with the sites, government and other partners.

Chris Blandford, World Heritage UK President, said: ‘Collectively Britain’s World Heritage sites are the crown jewels of our national heritage and we need to look after them much better than we currently do.  Before we can start to advise government, UNESCO and others on future management we need to find out exactly where the problems are and what the solutions might be. This is what the review aims to do’

Tony Crouch, World Heritage UK Chairman, said: ’We are delighted that Chris is bringing his immense practical knowledge and skill to this task, which we see as central to our job in advising and encouraging government and site managers to take our World Heritage responsibilities seriously. We know that some sites are very well managed, but others are more problematic and may lack all the resources needed for quality management’

Professor Ian Wray, World Heritage UK Vice Chairman, said: ‘The UK’s World Heritage sites are central to Britain’s island story and, since Britain had such an important role in international events, to world history and heritage. They are the sleeping giants of our national heritage and of our national ‘soft power’ and cultural tourism’.

World Heritage UK responds to draft National Planning Framework

Advocacy, communications, Conservation, consultation, Culture, DCMS Minister, News, Planning, Publications, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

WORLD HERITAGE UK’S RESPONSE TO DRAFT REVISED NATIONAL PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR ENGLAND

 

cityscape St Pauls and The Shard

The Government’s planning policies for England are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The Government has recently announced its intention to revise the Framework and has consulted on a draft revision.  World Heritage UK (WH:UK) responded to the consultation.

As a State Party to the World Heritage Convention, the United Kingdom is required to protect, preserve, present and transmit to future generations its World Heritage Sites.  It does this primarily through its planning systems. In the last 18 months, WH:UK has been working to suggest how the UK’s planning systems could be improved further to meet these responsibilities.   It based its response to the Draft Revised National Planning Policy Framework largely on this work.

In its response, WH:UK pointed out that England’s World Heritage Sites include a wide range of historic monuments and past industry, landscapes, townscapes, and natural and ecological features.  Therefore they will be affected by many of the policies in the NPPF. They cannot be treated as a single homogenous entity.

The full text of WH:UK’s response can be found under Correspondence and Consultations on its website Response to draft NPPF May 18 – resubmission final.

The key points in WH:UK’s response are:

  • Recognition.  WH:UK welcomes the recognition given to the protection of World Heritage Sites in various places in the Draft Revised NPPF.  It urges that, in due course, such protection should be enshrined in primary legislation.
  • Development Plans. WHUK strongly disagrees with the proposed changes to the nature of the “development plan”.   The Draft Revised NPPF states that, while local planning authorities will be obliged to produce a plan that addresses the strategic priorities for their area, there would be no obligation on them to produce more detailed policies in a Local Plan.   However Local Plans contain the very policies that currently protect, preserve and help present World Heritage Sites. They cover issues such as good design, the type of development that is or is not acceptable at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites, the protection of Sites’ settings and/ro buffer zones and the promotion of conservation.   It cannot be assumed that local authorities will voluntarily produce local plans. If they do not, this would severely weaken the effectiveness of the planning system in helping to deliver the State Party’s obligations on World Heritage Sites.
  • Pre-application engagement. WH:UK welcomes the continuing support for pre-application engagement.  It has encouraged its members to be more actively involved in decision-making processes and recognises the value of early dialogue.
  • Economic value of World Heritage Sites. WH:UK suggested that the NPPF should recognise the economic value of World Heritage Sites both locally and nationally.
  • Good design. WH:UK strongly supports the encouragement of good design.  It does not agree that it would be acceptable for increased densities to overrule local character and history, including the surrounding built environment and landscape setting.  Such an approach could threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of a World Heritage Site or its setting and/or buffer zone, all as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.
  • Green Belt. Similarly, while WH:UK understands the need to make best use of urban land and to protect the Green Belt, it is important to appreciate that this policy approach can threaten the Outstanding Universal Value and/or setting/buffer zone of some World Heritage Sites by increasing development pressures within urban areas.    This is a question of priorities, which the Revised Draft NPPF does not resolve. Instead it states that development in Green Belts may be approved in “very special circumstances” while “Substantial harm or loss of …World Heritage Sites should be wholly exceptional.” WH:UK believes that, given their worldwide importance, World Heritage Sites should take precedence over Green Belts, and therefore there may be circumstances where it would be appropriate to review Green Belt boundaries to relieve development pressures at or adjacent to World Heritage Sites.
  • Natural World Heritage Sites.  WH:UK is seriously disappointed that the chapter on conserving and enhancing the natural environment does not recognise or set out policies for England’s natural World Heritage Site (the Dorset and East Devon Coast) or any such sites that may be inscribed in the future. The existence of such sites is recognised only in a footnote in the chapter on conserving and enhancing the historic environment, and then no indication is given as to whether the policies applicable to World Heritage Sites in that chapter apply to natural sites.  Nevertheless, WH:UK warmly welcomes the new reference in the first paragraph of that chapter to World Heritage Sites, which provides a clear signal in respect of the Sites’ importance.
  • Heritage Impact Assessments. WH:UK  strongly encourages the use of Heritage Impact Assessments to help local planning authorities determine development proposals, and considers these should be mentioned in the NPPF.
  • Development within World Heritage Sites. WH:UK supports of the proposed retention of the requirement on local authorities to “look for opportunities for new development within World Heritage Sites…to enhance or better reveal their significance;” while recognizing that not all elements of a World Heritage Site will necessarily contribute to its significance.
  • Minerals development. World Heritage UK welcomes the continued protection of World Heritage Sites through the provision of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside these areas as far as is practical.  However that protection should also be applied to areas that form part of the setting and /or the buffer zone of Sites, as interpreted by policies in the respective local plan or plans.  Also the text addressing the issues on oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction is very weak in relation to heritage issues. In this respect, WH:UK advocates a similar approach as for non-energy minerals.

Author credit: Donald Gobbett, World Heritage UK Board Member

Blenheim Palace UNESCO World Heritage Site to Host Jousting Tournament

Announcement, Arts, Blenheim Palace, Culture, Education, Events, Exhibition, Heritage, History, Military, News, Opportunities, Performance, Tourism, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Jousting

Blenheim Palace will be alive to the thunder of hooves and the clash of lances on shields as it hosts the Knights of Royal England’s Jousting Tournament from May 5th-7th. Visitors will be transported back in time to a medieval tournament; complete with authentic tilt yard, royal box, falconry, archery and hand to hand combat.

Recreating the glorious jousting matches of Britain’s past, knights in shining armour will take to the field on their noble steeds in a momentous display of bravery and skill beneath the spectacular backdrop of Blenheim Palace. Knights and horses will be costumed with chainmail and steel armour for the period 1200-1250. The knights will be using 14-foot-long lances and riding at full gallop. There will be approximately 15 participants all dressed to assume their part in this authentic and thrilling re-creation of the Tournament.

The weekend will be packed with historic action and family friendly entertainment, from thrilling falconry displays to ‘have-a-go’ archery. For the younger children there will be baby dragons to meet and the chance to join the Dragon Procession. Hatched from a small dragon sanctuary in the Welsh Marshes, these delightful creatures are very friendly and well mannered, although a dragon is never entirely predictable… Families can enjoy food, refreshments and tournament treats on the South Lawn along with a medieval stand with lots of historically themed goodies.

The Blenheim Estate is no stranger to genuine jousting tournaments. In 1389 John, Earl of Pembroke, was killed in a jousting accident while a Christmas guest at the old Woodstock royal palace.

WHAT: Spring Jousting Tournament at the Blenheim Palace UNESCO World Heritage Site

WHEN: May 5th-7th

WHY VISIT: Knights on horseback, battles, falconry displays, dragons, archery and much more!

ADMISSION: Park & Gardens ticket required: Adult £16.00, Child £7.40, Family (2 Adults & 2 Children) £43.00

WEBSITE: blenheimpalace.com

VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/264025969

Project coordinator sought for proposed Flow Country UNESCO World Heritage Site

Announcement, communications, Conservation, Flow Country, Jobs, News, Opportunities, scotland, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Job opportunity!

theflowcountry.org.uk

credit: theflowcountry.org.uk

The Peatlands Partnership and the Flow Country proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site Steering Group wish to appoint a Project Coordinator to take forward the Technical Evaluation for submission to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2019. The post has been advertised by Highland Council on My JobScotland where you can find more details at https://www.myjobscotland.gov.uk/councils/highland-council/jobs/world-heritage-project-co-ordinator-114206 .

The Romans are Coming! – Bath World Heritage Day, Sunday 22 April 2018

City of Bath, Events, News, Uncategorized, UNESCO, world heritage day, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

World Heritage Day Ermine Street Guard trebuchetEvery April the City of Bath World Heritage Site celebrates its unique heritage and the reasons for the city’s World Heritage Site status with a free community event. Bath World Heritage Day takes place on Sunday 22 April from 11am-3pm on the lawn in front of the iconic Royal Crescent.  The star attraction will be the expert Roman re-enactment group, The Ermine Street Guard, who will be setting up a Roman camp for visitors to explore and demonstrating Roman military tactics.  As well as watching the action, visitors can chat to the Roman soldiers and investigate how Romans lived through original objects from the city’s Roman Baths collection. 

Along with celebrating Bath’s Roman past there will be the opportunity to find out more about the city’s Georgian heritage.  The Mayor of Bath’s Honorary Guides will be leading free walks around the Upper Town and shorter guided strolls along the Royal Crescent.  The National Trust will be celebrating 25 years of looking after Ralph Allen’s landscape garden at Prior Park.  Volunteers from the Herschel Museum of Astronomy will have solar telescopes to allow visitors to safely view the sun.  There will also be the chance to do fun space-themed activities and dress up at the famous Georgian astronomers, William and Caroline Herschel.  No. 1 Royal Crescent is offering free admission to Bath and North East Somerset Discovery Card holders on the day, with the opportunity to meet costumed characters and handle 18th Century objects. To appreciate one of Bath’s Georgian gems, visitors are invited to view Bath’s Assembly Rooms, which opened in 1771 to offer entertainment for fashionable visitors to the spa city.  The rooms will be open free of charge from 10.30am-5pm. 

Bath World Heritage Day is a great opportunity to find out the latest news from major heritage projects in the city.  Teams from Bath Abbey Footprint, the Cleveland Pools Trust and Minerva’s Owls of Bath will be at the event to demonstrate their initiatives.  The exciting plans to open Bath’s first World Heritage Centre and extended learning facilities for the Roman Baths through the Lottery-funded Archway Project will be on display. 

Elsewhere in the city there will be an event at Sydney Gardens from 2-5pm to find out more about another of Bath’s Heritage Lottery Fund projects to improve and development the 18th Century Pleasure Gardens.  There will be lots for visitors of all ages to see and do. 

For further information visit www.bathworldheritage.org.uk/events where you can download the World Heritage Day leaflet and the Sydney Gardens Community Day flyer. 

Guided tours of Royal Crescent

World Heritage UK Welcomes Change of Mood on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site

Advocacy, Announcement, Culture, Liverpool, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK
800px-Liverpool_skyline,_closeup

Liverpool World Heritage Site Credit: Wikipedia commons

 

Liverpool’s World Heritage Site has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites ‘in danger’ since 2012.  UNESCO’s primary concern has centred on the tall buildings in the ‘Liverpool Waters’ development proposal, put forward by Peel Holdings, which was given outline planning permission in 2012.  The perceived negative impact of these proposed tall buildings was on long distance views of the Liverpool skyline from the other bank of the Mersey.  Of particular concern, it appears, were the tall buildings proposed for the former Clarence Dock site, which is within the World Heritage Site buffer zone.

See also: https://lbndaily.co.uk/world-heritage-uk-backs-liverpools-push-preserve-world-heritage-status/

https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/heritage-body-takes-up-liverpools-case/

World Heritage UK, the body representing all 31 UK World Heritage Sites, is aware that in response to UNESCO’s concerns, Liverpool City Council and Peel Holdings have together recently taken three positive initiatives to minimise the risk of Liverpool losing World Heritage Status and to ultimately take it off the ‘endangered’ list.  These include a new high level task force to raise the profile of the World Heritage Site and address the concerns raised by UNESCO; a ‘Desired State of Conservation Report’ to set out their view of the city’s World Heritage status as it stands; and a review of the master plan for the Liverpool Waters area, where in fact no new development has actually taken place since outline permission was granted in 2012.

From its national perspective, World Heritage UK warmly welcomes all these initiatives and believes that they signal a genuine change of mood in Liverpool.  On behalf of all of the UK’s World Heritage Sites, we ask UNESCO to open a process of constructive dialogue with the UK Government and Liverpool’s stakeholders, in the hope that this will lead to a change in the position they have previously taken on Liverpool’s World Heritage Site.  We further hope that, as the ‘State Party’, the Government will fully engage with the process, thus enabling then to fulfil their international obligations and responsibilities under the World Heritage Convention for the protection and enhancement of the outstanding universal value of all the UK’s World Heritage Sites, not least Liverpool.

As Liverpool’s ‘Desired State of Conservation Report’ notes, there has been spectacular progress in restoring Liverpool’s historic buildings, in the World Heritage Site and beyond. The number of heritage ‘buildings at risk’ has been reduced to only 2.75% of the building stock – far below the UK national average. The restoration of the once derelict Stanley Dock for a new hotel and residential accommodation is a shining example of achievement and work in progress.

World Heritage UK has been briefed on the initial work on Peel’s revised masterplan for Liverpool Waters.

Chris Blandford, World Heritage UK President, said: ‘Whilst the revised plan is still at an early stage, we believe that it has the potential to deliver a far more coherent, sensitive and appropriate development form, one which better respects the Site’s outstanding universal value, and is better integrated with Stanley Dock and the adjacent Ten Streets regeneration area’.

Sam Rose, World Heritage UK Chair, said: ‘Cities grow and change, as they always have done, and there will always be conflicts and tensions in the protection of the outstanding universal value of urban World Heritage Sites. We see no situation that is not resolvable with early and constructive dialogue, and we encourage that now in the case of Liverpool.  It would be a big loss for the outstanding heritage of the UK, and for the people and businesses of Liverpool if this iconic city was to lose its deserved global status’.

The UK has six World Heritage Sites that fall into the ‘cities’ theme, the largest and most complex three being Bath, Edinburgh and Liverpool.

English Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated by royal visit

Announcement, Awards, communications, DCMS Minister, Lake District, News, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

WP_20180326_10_25_56_ProHundreds of people came to see His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales as the guest of honour at a special community event on 26th March, to mark the Lake District as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The long journey to World Heritage Site status was led by Lord Clark of Windermere, managed by the Lake District National Park Partnership and submitted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Historic England.

WP_20180326_11_17_52_Pro

Prince Charles unveils the UNESCO plaque with Lord Clarke

The Prince of Wales attended the event at Crow Park, Keswick, and unveiled the official UNESCO plaque to mark the designation. As Chairman of the Partnership, Lord Clarke maintained, “this plaque will give local people and visitors a place to come and appreciate not just the spectacular landscape, but also the rich, cultural history of the Lake District as a World Heritage Site”.

The event was a celebration of the unique cultural landscape of the Lake District to which special guests and members of the community were invited to attend. Among these was World Heritage UK President, Chris Blandford, who explained the work of the organisation to the Prince of Wales, finding that the guest of honour fully understood the values that underpin the UK’s World Heritage Sites, as well as the issues they face. Michael Ellis, the new Heritage Minister was also present, and it is hoped that a further meeting with him and World Heritage UK will be arranged.

IMG_6312

Chris Blandford meets the Prince of Wales with John Hodgson and Keith Jones

UNESCO asks all World Heritage Sites to celebrate their status by erecting an official plaque, but with so many inspirational viewpoints to choose from across the Lake District, a number of locations and plaques were considered by the Partnership. The criteria included a stunning landscape view, good public access for all and strong representation of the three World Heritage Site themes of cultural landscape: identity, inspiration and conservation. The National Trust’s Crow Park, overlooking Derwent Water, was chosen for this special event. 

Lake District National Park Chief Executive, Richard Leafe, explained how the benefits of this new status were already being seen across the National Park. “Since last summer, we have seen some great examples of organisations, businesses and communities using World Heritage status to flourish and prosper,” Richard said. “From inspirational cultural events to welcoming first-time visitors to the park, this global recognition has encouraged new opportunities, while continuing to be a much loved national park for everyone to enjoy.”

The English Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of over a thousand across the world and is the 31st inscription for the UK. It is the UK’s largest World Heritage Site at 229,200 ha and is the only UK National Park that is entirely a World Heritage Site.

There are three themes that underpin the English Lake District World Heritage Site inscription are:

1)    Identity: The acknowledged beauty of the Lake District is the result of thousands of years of industry and agricultural development of the spectacular natural landscape of mountains, valleys, lakes and woodland.

2)    Inspiration: The beauty of the Lake District inspired artists and writers of the Picturesque and Romantic movements and generated ideas about landscape that have had global influence.

3)    Conservation: The Lake District has been enjoyed and valued by visitors for more than 250 years. Concern to protect it was the inspiration for the birth of the conservation movement, including the National Trust and protected areas including UK National Parks.

 

Celebrating World Heritage Day in Stonehenge and Avebury 2018

Events, News, World Heritage Sites

 

Celebrating World Heritage Day at Stonehenge and Avebury 2018

 World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability

Endorsed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation UNESCO the day is an opportunity to raise the profile of World Heritage Sites across the globe and to recognise and explore their unique and special features. Many of you will know the most famous Sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Egyptian Pyramids and the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil but did you know that we have 31 World Heritage Site in the United Kingdom and that the most recent of these is the Lake District which was added to the List last year?

Here in Wiltshire we are incredibly fortunate to have the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site – to use its proper title. The globally iconic stone circles are instantly recognisable but do you know about all the other monuments and sites which form part of this 50 square kilometre landscape which makes up our World Heritage Site? The partners that look after all things World Heritage are planning to make sure that this year Wiltshire marks World Heritage Day with an array of fun activities and events all across Wiltshire to help you find out more about our World Heritage and how to get involved.

At Avebury you can join the National Trust for a guided walk and find out why this World Heritage Site is globally important as you explore the landscape visiting the Bronze Age ‘hedgehog’ barrows and stroll down to Neolithic West Kennet Avenue. You’ll discover some of the most exciting parts of the prehistoric landscape at Avebury.

Or join the Human Henge group for a more sensory experience of Avebury’s ancient landscape. Human Henge is a ground-breaking project about archaeology, mental health and creativity that is interesting, adventurous, safe and fun. Walk, sing and learn in the company of archaeologists and musicians, connecting with others who have walked here before us.

At Stonehenge English Heritage invite you to meet their friendly volunteering team. See them make and decorate prehistoric style pottery, fashion rope out of water reed, and make cheese and bread over the open fire in the Neolithic Houses.  Learn about the plants foraged from the Stonehenge landscape and chat to the volunteers as they repair the chalk daub walls of the houses.  There will be a chance to sign up and join this amazing team and learn some essential Neolithic life skills! There are also free guided walks around the site, a trail for grown-ups, prize give ways during the day, and a Stonehenge100 talk by Archaeologist Phil Harding in the evening.

Local museums are getting involved too with a Family fun day at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes on Saturday 14th April where you and the kids can make a model of Stonehenge, take part in the ‘Early Man’ gallery trail and craft jewellery making. You can learn more about the temporary exhibition at Stonehenge Visitor Centre that explores the diet of the Neolithic people who built and used the monument 4500 years ago at Feast! A lecture by Sue Greaney, English Heritage Senior Properties Historian.

At the Salisbury Museum you can join Museum Director Adrian Green to discover more about the extraordinary life of General Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers (1827 – 1900). This study day will include a morning lecture, opportunity to handle artefacts from the Pitt-Rivers collection and an afternoon visit to a few of the sites he excavated. You will need your own transport for this one.

At the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre you can hear from World Heritage Site Partnership Manager, Sarah Simmonds, all about the Outstanding Universal Value that makes this landscape so special and of global significance. There will be an exhibition of images from the archives and an illustrated talk by Ruth Butler, the Heritage Education Officer at Wiltshire Council.

World Heritage Day is a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the many things that are so special about our World Heritage Site landscape and to help people explore and enjoy it.  The World Heritage Site Coordination Unit has pulled together an exciting programme that will give you a taste of what the Site has to offer. We are grateful to our partners who are laying on a series of special events around World Heritage Day as well as for their day to day work together with local landowners, farmers and communities in protecting and managing this internationally important asset.  (Alistair Sommerlad, Chair of the World Heritage Site Partnership Panel)

You can find out about the whole programme of events taking place in the weeks around World Heritage Site Day on the World Heritage Site Coordination Unit’s website: www.stonehengeandaveburywhs.org/news-events/events/

If you can’t make any of the events, why not head out on to one of the many footpaths and permissive paths or across open access land to explore this unique rural and tranquil prehistoric landscape for yourself? All are welcome to share in and experience Wiltshire’s amazing collective cultural heritage.

World Heritage Site Coordinator for the English Lake District – top job in a top place

Announcement, Jobs, Lake District, News, Opportunities, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Wasdale-5-Andrew-LockingA further opportunity has arisen to apply for this fantastic opportunity to work in a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. All enquiries:

http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/aboutus/jobs/job-pages/world-heritage-site-coordinator2

Best Practice in World Heritage blossoms at Kew Gardens

Business, Commercial, Events, Kew Gardens, News, Uncategorized, UNESCO, Workshop, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

World Heritage UK’s latest workshop, ‘Commercial Best Practice in World Heritage’ took place last week in the magnificent setting of the Kew Gardens UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beating the inclement weather the week before, the participants enjoyed a bright couple of days (with the occasional shower) exploring some of the treasures this remarkable place holds. the orchid houseTravelling on the explorer bus through budding narcissi and spring crocus, the party of thirty delegates were transported to The Pagoda, Queen Charlotte’s Cottage and the Temperate House so see behind-the-scenes restoration work and special privilege access to areas not open to the public. Towards the PagodaClimbing three hundred steps to the top of the pagoda to meet the restoration experts and the first of the ornamental dragons being mounted there was a memorable experience. Particularly impressive was the amount of research that has taken place in order to match the original design of the  architect William Chambers back in 1761, including paint analysis to achieve an accurate representation of the eighteenth century colour scheme. there be dragonsThe group were told that this monument is the most important garden ornament in the world – quite fitting to be found in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On to Queen Charlotte’s Cottage (like The Pagoda, managed by Historic Royal Palaces) this hidden gem is an early example of a cottage orné, a rustic thatched cottage built as a country retreat, not as a residence, and used for taking tea during walks in the gardens. A favourite place of King George III, it houses many Hogarth prints and once had a menagerie which included the first kangaroos from the colonies. Queen Charlotte's CottageThen the magnificent Temperate House which is undergoing major restoration and the works are now nearing completion with just a few weeks to go. This is a major investment into World Heritage, costing £41m and the newly painted (four coats) and glazed building is already receiving some of the 10,000 plants of 1500 species while the finishing touches to the structure are being undertaken. Temperate House restorationAfter a warm welcome speech from the Director at Kew Gardens, Richard Deverell, the workshop participants received expert wisdom in stimulating presentations from two of Kew’s senior staff, setting the scene for them getting engaged in three workshop groups which enabled a willing exchange of knowledge and experience between those taking part. The notes from the plenary feedback session are currently being distilled and will be available shortly. Workshop welcome                                                        If this was not enough to fill the one and a half days spent together, everyone enjoyed the evening dinner at the nearby London Museum of Water and Steam, where the heritage engines were fired up in a magnificent demonstration of 19th century mechanical engineering. Thanks go to John Porter for setting up this arrangement. Thanks are also due to the sponsors of the event, Historic England and Lichfields, without whom this workshop would not have been realised.Dinner at the London Museum of Water and Steam Cheers!