Monday, 28 June 2010

English Heritage

I’ve visited two major properties this weekend in the care of English Heritage. This, for the initiated, is a government agency responsible for the preservation of certain historic properties and monuments in England, as well as having certain planning responsibilities and being responsible for the famous Blue Plaques.

They perhaps wouldn’t thank me for this description but it’s a sort of nationalised equivalent of the National Trust.

They are sometimes seen as a poor relation of the NT, too. Perhaps this is because they own a lot more properties that are nowadays minus their roofs? Perhaps it’s just a matter of social cache. Whatever, they have nothing like the Trust’s profile.

Well, I want to redress the balance. Their properties are staffed by people who are enthusiastic, who are keen and above all who are knowledgeable. (I wonder if they would consider working in the National Health Service?)

On Saturday at Stokesay Castle we were greeted with a smile to melt your heart by people who were so obviously pleased that we were there!

Then yesterday to Goodrich Castle, the one young chap, who just oozed enthusiasm, was keen to tell us why Goodrich was important and to give us some (again very keen and thought out) ideas on where else we ought to visit. (Note to self: work out a date to visit Nunney Castle).

I’m a member of both English Heritage and the National Trust. I do this because I want to contribute to the amazing and expensive work they do to preserve the built fabric of this country. I could get free admission even on my Blue Badge, so joining is a genuine act of support, not just a way of cutting the cost of visits!

I’m also very proud of the National Trust, a unique organisation the envy of the world. This is no reflection on them, nor a list of shortcomings. It's simply that English Heritage deserves better recognition and gratitude for what it and its staff do so well. It’s a pity they only pop up in the press when the new visitor centre at Stonehenge is in the headlines…….

Go and find and English Heritage property to visit soon. Tell them Ian sent you! J


English Heritage

The National Trust

Stokesay Castle, Shropshire

Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire

1 comment:

  1. I agree. The English Heritage (formerly Ministry of Works) properties are always immaculately presented, and always have been.