Blenheim Palace “under wraps”

Conservation, News, Uncategorized

Blenheim Palace has embarked on a major £350,000 restoration project on its historic North Steps entrance. The steps, which are an integral part of the Oxfordshire baroque Palace, have been welcoming millions of visitors for almost three centuries.

Recent survey work showed the stone steps are slowly spreading apart and moving downhill away from the main structure. Exploratory excavations revealed they were originally constructed on top of a mix of compacted stone rubble, earth and mortared brickwork. Over the centuries lime mortar between the bricks has been eroded and the infill base settled, this combined with gravity has resulted in the steps moving away from the Palace.

A team of specialist stonemasons will painstakingly remove the existing step and Portland flagstones, before reinstating the underlying substrate. Each step and flagstone will then be thoroughly inspected to see it if requires and repairs and, if necessary, replacement.

While work is taking place the area has been wrapped in a 56 metre long and seven metre high banner featuring a photographic representation of the North Steps. Special viewing windows and platforms have also been created so the public can see the restoration work taking place.

 The restoration project began in December, 2016 and is anticipated to be completed by mid-May, 2017. While work is taking place the steps will be out of action to visitors, however special viewing windows and platforms have been created so the public can see the restoration work taking place.

Roger File, Property Director said: “We’d like to apologise to our visitors for any inconvenience this restoration project will cause, however it is crucial we undertake this type of conservation work to help preserve and protect Blenheim Palace for future generations to enjoy and experience”

.“The work will also provide a fascinating opportunity to gain an insight in to how the original builders created part of this extraordinary structure,” He added.

In 2011 Blenheim Palace completed similar restoration work on the South Front Steps which were also moving away from the Palace. The restoration proved incredibly successful and has offered a template for the current restoration project.

Built in the early 18th century as a monument to celebrate Britain’s victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession, the Palace is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It was officially designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

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.

Technical Workshop: Planning for World Heritage Sites – dovetail or disconnect? Bath, 8th March 2017

Bath 2017, Education, Events, News, Planning, training, Uncategorized, UNESCO, Workshop, World Heritage Sites

THE LATEST IN A SERIES OF TECHNICAL WORKSHOPS ON PLANNING, PRODUCED BY WORLD HERITAGE UK:

bath-credit-martin-pettitt

Tickets for this technical workshop are now available  HERE

DRAFT PROGRAMME FOR 8TH MARCH 2017

Planning for World Heritage Sites – dovetail or disconnect?

MORNING SESSION – HOW DO THE UK’s PLANNING SYSTEMS WORK?

10.00 Introduction

10.15 Overview of the planning systems (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), to include:

  • planning policy and development management
  • who makes decisions about what
  • the underlying philosophy of the planning approach to development

10.30 Planning policy at national and local levels, to include, for each level:

  • why planning policies are important for World Heritage
  • where to find planning policies on World Heritage
  • what policies exist already?
  • can policies be totally prescriptive?
  • who makes policies – the roles of civil servants/local authority officers and ministers/elected local authority members
  • how to influence decision makers

11.00 Questions

11.10 Coffee

11.25 How decisions on development proposals are made, to include:

  • o   Who makes decisions – the roles of local authority officers and members, central government inspectors and        ministers
  • o   How decisions are made
  • o   What planners need to know when making decisions
  • o   How to influence decision makers
  • o   Heritage impact Assessment
  • o   OUV and “significance” – lessons from the Chacewater, Cornwall appeal decision

12.10 Decisions that threaten World Heritage Status, to include:

  • the role of the State Party
  • which Government departments do what
  • who advises the World Heritage Committee?
  • the role of ICOMOS
  • how is the decision for Reactive Monitoring made?
  • what is the process of Reactive Monitoring?

12.40 Questions

1.00     Lunch and group photo

AFTERNOON SESSION – WORKSHOP SESSIONS TO IDENTIFY ISSUES AND IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED

The aim of the afternoon session is to identify what is going well and what needs to be improved and is everyone’s opportunity to have their say. It will be split into two parts, first looking at national issues and then local government issues, and to hear about some specific examples.

1.30     Introduction

1.40     National and international issues

Possible issues to discuss

  • are the overall planning systems fit for purpose in relation to World Heritage?
  • is anyone monitoring the effectiveness of the planning systems?
  • are national policies sufficiently robust?
  • are World Heritage Sites sufficiently valued?
  • how can state reporting and the Reactive monitoring process be improved?

2.40     Local issues

Possible issues to discuss:

  • is anyone monitoring the effectiveness of the planning systems?
  • are local policies sufficiently robust?
  • are World Heritage Sites sufficiently valued?

3.40     Summing up and closing remarks, to include:

  • summary of gaps/suggestions from workshop sessions
  • next steps, including production of a position paper

4.00     Close and depart

New Tour for 2017 at Blenheim Palace

Arts, Conservation, Events, News, Opportunities, Uncategorized, World Heritage Sites

Discover the real ‘Behind the Scenes’ at Blenheim Palace, in a fascinating limited edition new tour for 2017. ‘Restoration & Conservation’ will be the theme of the guided tours which will begin in the New Year as part of the extended opening season experience offered to visitors at the Oxford World Heritage Site.

The ‘Restoration & Conservation’ tour will be exclusively available from 9 January – 8 February 2017, running twice per day excluding Sundays. The new tours will tie in to the annual deep clean of Blenheim Palace which will now be on full to visitors during this period. The tour will give an in-depth look into what is being done in each of the State Rooms.

The new tours will look at two very important aspects of running a 300 year old Palace, including restoring a piece of art, building or tapestry to its original condition, as well as the preservation and repair of the historical and cultural site and its artefacts. The tour will also examine the theme of renovation, exploring how Blenheim Palace must also modernise and remain as a comfortable family home and appealing to visitors.

From the necessary continuing restoration of the ‘Capability’ Brown Cascades and Bladon dams, work which will total approximately £2m when completed to keeping the Palace safe for its inhabitants and visitors, the tour will look at which projects are undertaken, when and why.

The fascinating tour will also look at the most impactful projects including The Eyes in 1928. Painted for the 2nd wife of the 9th Duke, Gladys Deacon, these have a great visual impact on visitors. Exposure to the elements over 80 years had caused the painting and plaster work to degrade to a point where they were barely visible. 

From clocks to paintings each piece of work often requires specialist and niche attention, with specialists sought from all over the world to complete the painstaking tasks of restoring priceless pieces of history.

The job of cleaning the China collection used to fall to the 10th Duchess and her unfortunate administrator, Archie Illingworth – he used to dread the call, ‘Mr Illingworth, today we are going to clean the China!’  The Duchess would wash the China and it was Archie’s responsibility to dry it.

 One of the recent renovations is the Bouchain Tapestry, the priceless 18th century tapestry depicting one of Britain’s most important military victories is 25ft wide and almost 15 feet high. The giant wall hanging is made of wool and silk and was woven in the Brussels workshop of the Flemish weaver, Judocus de Vos.

Part of a set of 10, the tapestries are the most accurate and detailed contemporary records that exist of the campaign, not least because the 1st Duke, John Churchill, provided accurate battle plans and portraits of the principal characters. After being painstakingly removed from the walls of the Palace’s Second State Room, the tapestry was carefully rolled up before being transported back to the city it was originally created in for renovation. It took a year to completely renovate!

From keeping the rain out, Blenheim Palace has over 7 acres of roof, to protecting ceremonial robes, the Marlborough;s Coronation Robes were beginning to deteriorate in the sunlight, there is must to learn and lots of exciting facts to discover.

What: New Restoration & Conservation Tour at Blenheim Palace

When: From 6 January – 28 February 2017, running twice per day excluding Sundays

Why Visit: Discover the intricate processes of historical restoration and modern conservation whilst maintaining the heritage of the Oxfordshire World Heritage Site.

Price: Palace, Park & Garden ticket required, Adult £24.90, Concession* £19.90, Child £13.90

Website: blenheimpalace.com

Seasonal message from Sam Rose

News, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

sam rose 2015Dear World Heritage UK members and supporters

This has been the first full year for World Heritage UK and I think we can safely say that it has been busy and successful.  January kicked the year’s events off with an excellent Technical Meeting on Management Planning in Edinburgh.  Not only did it include a useful set of presentations and workshop sessions, but the Burns Night supper went down very well, and some people even braved the torrential rain for a short field trip on the Tuesday morning.   Our thanks go to our outstanding hosts, Historic Environment Scotland.

This was followed by an excellent one-day seminar at the Tower of London in collaboration with ALVA about challenges and opportunities facing World Heritage; highlighting perhaps the degree with which we as World Heritage Sites would benefit from collaborating across the sector.

June brought the first summer Networking Meeting, hosted superbly by the National Trust at Giant’s Causeway.  The mixture of field trip, evening meal, general meeting and presentations worked well, and it was a pleasure to see another of the UK’s natural sites.

Caernarfon was the venue for the second annual World Heritage UK conference in October, which, from all the feedback, was every bit as good as the first one in Saltaire.  The mixture of case studies, high-profile speakers (young and old), field trips and an evening reception at Penrhyn Castle made for a very popular and useful event.  We are particularly grateful to Cadw for their support for this event, and also to Gwynedd Council and the National Trust.  We will be looking to maintain the high standard next autumn at Ironbridge – dates to be confirmed shortly in the new year.

Finally, in collaboration with the Institute of Fundraising and their Giving to Heritage scheme, we held the first of what we hope to be an ongoing set of training events in subjects that you say you need support  – in this case fundraising.  This was followed for some people by a House of Lords reception to celebrate 30 years of World Heritage Sites in the UK.  World Heritage UK were identified as a key partner by Historic England, and it was a useful event for profile raising.

In terms of profile and advocacy, we have managed to get ourselves around some ‘important desks’, including that of the new Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, in respect of ‘post-Brexit’ issues. We produced a useful paper in that respect which is available on our website.  Locally,  World Heritage Sites have, as ever, been promoting the values and importance of World Heritage, particularly those seven that were given the status some 30 years ago.

There are many more things I could say but I won’t bore you any further – it is Christmas after all – apart from to say that I hope we are doing what you, as members, need.  This is your organisation, you are the members, so please do let us know what you think.

As for next year, we are confirming the programme for the year which will start with a Technical Meeting about World Heritage and Planning in Bath on March 8th.   We will also be looking to join Sites up better around 2017 World Heritage Day (April 18th), and hopefully make a bit of splash about it.  More details will follow as we get into the new year. 

Finally, if you are not a member and would like to be, or knows someone/an organisation who would, please get in touch with Chris on chris.mahon@worldheritageuk.org.  It is important to build our membership, after all, World Heritage is for Life, not just for Christmas.

 Have a really great festive season, and all of the very best for 2017

Very best wishes

Sam Rose and the Board of Trustees

World Heritage UK

Save-the-date: Planning Technical Workshop 8th March 2017

Education, Events, Network meetings, News, Opportunities, training, Uncategorized, UNESCO

Save-the-date  Planning Technical Workshop

We are pleased to announce the date and location of the next World Heritage UK Technical Workshop, which as a result of Member feedback, will explore further issues around Planning and World Heritage Sites.

Save the date:

Date: Wednesday 8th March 2017 (evening networking social event on the 7th likely)

Venue: Bath Cricket Club (website here)

Bath Cricket Club is located at the recreational heart of the City of Bath World Heritage Site, with spectacular views across the ground taking in the spires of Bath Abbey and St Johns Church to the city and beyond. The club is 5 minutes from both Bath Spa railway station and the newly re-refurbished bus stations with car parking alongside the clubhouse.

Further details on the programme, tickets, accommodation etc. to follow.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Tony Crouch, Don Gobbett and Chris Mahon

World Heritage UK Technical Workshop Team

Entrepreneurship in Cultural Heritage – Workshop

Uncategorized

Organised by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham
In association with the West Midlands Museum Development
Location: The Old Ikon Gallery, Fazeley Studios, Birmingham, B5 5SE
February 2nd 2017

Over recent years the heritage sector has been hit by cumulative cut-backs in public sector funding, reductions in visitor spend and increasing competition for visitors. At the same time, a multitude of new opportunities continue to emerge relating to technological innovation, new audiences and communication networks and new management approaches. In the context of this developing landscape for the heritage sector, this workshop explores the increasing need for museums and heritage organisations to become ever more entrepreneurial in their approach in order to increase their resilience to the changing environment and also to identify ways and means to build profile, audiences, income and opportunities to communicate the heritage at their heart.
Through presentations by speakers who, in different ways, are involved with innovative approaches  to the heritage and museums sector and through discussion, this workshop aims to identify some of the more entrepreneurial management practices of the heritage sector and to explore challenges and opportunities for future entrepreneurial actions.
Key Themes:

·        Working towards resilience

·        Partner working outside of the heritage sector

·        The role of the creative industries

·        Going global

·        Building audiences and income

Confirmed speakers include:

*  Dr Chris Ferguson (Auckland Castle)
*  Traci Dix-Williams (Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust)
*  Colin Chester-Head of Buying, The National Gallery
*  Tony Trehy (Director, Bury Art Museum)
*  Harvey Edgington (National Trust)
*  Elliot Goodger- Birmingham Museums Trust Enterprise Committee

Pre-booking is essential.

To book your place: http://shop.bham.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&deptid=30&catid=58&prodid=1376

Early-bird rate of £45 ( by 13 Jan 2017)
Full delegate rate of £55 (by January 27th 2017)

Contact: Jamie Davies, Teaching Fellow in Cultural Heritage
j.g.davies@bham.ac.uk<mailto:j.g.davies@bham.ac.uk>
0121 414 5616

Staff and volunteers from Accredited Museums or those officially Working towards Accreditation should reserve their place via the events page of the West Midlands Museum Development website: mdwm.org.uk  or contact wmmd@ironbridge.org.uk<mailto:wmmd@ironbridge.org.uk>

Gorham’s Cave Complex WHS – lecture

Education, Events, Gorham's Cave Complex, lecture, UK Overseas Territories, Uncategorized

ICOMOS-UK would like to invite you to join them for their annual Christmas lecture, which will celebrate the inscription of the UK’s latest World Heritage Site, the Gorham Cave Complex in Gibraltar, earlier this year. They will be welcoming Professor Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar Museum and of the Gorham’s Cave Complex, to give a lecture entitled ‘In the footsteps of the Ancestors – excursions into the Gorham’s Cave complex World Heritage Site’.

Event Details                                                                                                                                              Date: 15 December 2016

 Venue: the Gallery, 70 Cowcross St, London, EC1M 6EJ

 Tickets: £16 (members)/ £19 (non-members) / £11 (students)

The ticket price includes a glass of wine and festive refreshments

The dispersal of modern humans across the globe in the Late Pleistocene is an unfolding story. As people reached new regions of the planet they discovered that they had not been alone. Conventional wisdom tells us that the competitively superior modern humans were responsible for the demise of all who they came across in their relentless path towards global colonisation. The story of humanity is much more complex than this and it is becoming increasingly clear that the evidence does not support this simple model. New technologies, now capable of piecing together the entire Neanderthal genome, are revolutionising the way in which we understand the story.

New technologies are not enough on their own – they often rely on fossils and artefacts which largely come from museum collections from caves excavated over a century ago. Fortunately, there are also sites which have survived the attention of over-eager Victorian archaeologists and their contemporaries and which have the potential, in combination with new technologies, of revealing the secrets of the Ancestors. These sites, which include the Gorham’s Cave complex, newly inscribed as a World Heritage Site, constitute the most universal heritage of all, that of all humans, past, present and future. It is our responsibility to protect these key sites and to welcome them, as equal partners, into the community of castles, churches and historic towns.

Book now: Visit http://www.icomos-uk.org/about-us/events/ to download a booking form and return it to us at ICOMOS-UK, 70 Cowcross St, London, EC1M 6EJ or email it to admin@icomos-uk.org

Payments can be made by cheque addressed to ICOMOS-UK or online at http://www.icomos-uk.org/payment/

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

World Heritage International Offer

Uncategorized

Heritage Sector International Commercial Offer

World Heritage UK were pleased to be invited by Historic England to an evening reception at Wellington Arch, London,  on Monday 28 November.  Invitees included leading practitioners of heritage conservation and restoration work overseas, and representatives of relevant bodies and colleagues from government departments. 

The Culture White Paper issued by the Dept. for Culture, Media and Sport asked Historic England to work with other heritage and related organisations to develop the heritage sector’s international commercial offer.  The purpose of the evening was to help set the agenda for this.  Historic England Chairman Sir Laurie Magnus confirmed what we all know, in that the UK is a world leader in heritage management.  The heritage sector has however, lagged behind others such as the leading UK museums in successfully sharing these skills commercially overseas or attracting inward investment. It was time, he said, to ‘take the bushel off our light’, to be proud and open about our expertise and look to see if overseas partnerships could be made, with Heritage England and DCMS support.

WH:UK members have a varied and impressive range of skills including, management planning, museum management, heritage education and heritage tourism to name but a few.  A range of suggestions from the membership relating to potential commercial opportunities has already been gathered to submit to Historic England, but if you have any further ideas please do contact Chris Mahon chris.mahon@worldheritageuk.org 

Tony Crouch

City of Bath World Heritage Site Manager