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In a speech titled “Next Steps – England’s Heritage” Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, yesterday set out the organisation’s plans for the year ahead. You can read about it here

Given the massive funding cuts it’s hard not to anticipate that a lot of the steps will be backwards, although Dr Thurley tried to sound optimistic:

“We all hope that, despite the grave state of the economy, 2012, the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, will be one of renewal and optimism. It will certainly be one in which our history and heritage will be brought to the fore.”

We all hope that but without funding it’s hard to be confident. Still, the presentation highlighted various bits of good news and this one, already announced, is particularly pleasing:

“The Government has awarded £2.7 million over three years to English Heritage to help schools use local heritage to deliver the curriculum and bring history to life both in and out of the classroom. The Heritage Schools project will ensure that children visit and acquire an understanding of local heritage sites.”

For the bad news (and there has to be a lot of it when so many millions of pounds of funding have been lost) you have to read between the lines or elsewhere. This, two tweet by Dr Thurley yesterday, struck us as probably very bad news, albeit put in a neutral way:

“Our new listing regime will make space for us to do more strategic listing in the future.”

“Meanwhile we will be much more selective in spot listing, only going for things at risk, outstanding or identified as priority.”


May 2012

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