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Heritage Highlights: Did You Know?

Heritage Highlights showcases some of the more unusual, intriguing and groundbreaking historic places protected through this country's designation system. We hope these entries from the National Heritage List for England will excite and inspire people about our past. Even the most seemingly ordinary places often have an extraordinary story to tell.

By browsing the entries below, you might discover the history behind a building in your local area, chance upon a topic you are studying at school, or even become your own historic detective!

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52 results found

  • How Did Our Medieval Ancestors Cope with Flooding?

    Surviving examples of medieval defences are relatively rare, but one of the best is a stretch of embankment at Botolph's Bridge, West Hythe in Kent.

    Type of Designation: Scheduled Monuments

    Region: South East

    Period: Medieval

  • Why Would a Cemetery Need a Railway Line?

    In the Victorian period the problem of where to bury the capital's dead became a serious issue. One solution was to establish a large multi-faith cemetery on spacious heathland 25 miles from central London.

    Type of Designation: Registered Parks and Gardens

    Region: South East

    Period: Victorian

  • Why Can We Still See Marks of Sites Lost Thousands of Years Ago?

    'Cropmarks' form when plants over buried archaeology grow at different rates and heights compared to those in the rest of the field, particularly apparent during periods of dry weather. The best way to see these crop patterns is from the air.

    Type of Designation: Scheduled Monuments

    Region: East of England

    Period: Medieval

  • Did Conkers Help to Win the First World War?

    In 1917, schoolchildren and Scouts were asked to collect horse chestnuts and acorns, specifically 'without the green husks'. Acetone was produced from this, a vital ingredient in the manufacture of cordite.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments

    Region: South West

    Period: 20th Century

  • What Was the Arts and Crafts Movement?

    It was one of the few international trends to have originated in the British Isles, and the private house lay at its heart.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: East of England

    Period: 20th Century

  • Can Pigs Really Fly?

    The site of the former RAF Eastchurch, on a flat, windswept area of Kent's Isle of Sheppey, can rightly claim to be the birthplace of British aviation.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: South East

    Period: 20th Century

  • How Did Candles Light Up Post-War Cambridge?

    Cambridge is the last city in the UK to retain its own custom-designed lighting stock from the post-war period.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: East of England

    Period: 20th Century

  • How Did Stone Posts Once Keep You 'on Tenterhooks'?

    A field - known as a 'tenterfield' - completely covered with long rows of carved stone posts used in the textile industry.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: Yorkshire

    Period: Victorian

  • What's Beautiful About Brutalism?

    The term 'Brutalism' was coined by radical young architects in the 1950s.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: London

    Period: 20th Century

  • What Was Bath-Time Like for Roman Soldiers?

    Chesters Roman Fort has one of the best preserved Roman bathhouses in Britain which shows the various ways in which Roman soldiers kept clean centuries ago.

    Type of Designation: Scheduled Monuments

    Region: North East

    Period: Roman

  • Can You Purchase Paradise?

    A central belief in medieval times was in the power of 'intercession': the ability of priests, through prayer, to help the dead by 'purging' sins. This led to the founding of chantries.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: South West

    Period: Medieval

  • Where Were Prisoners Locked Up Before Police Stations Existed?

    Village lockups can be found all over England, although the design varies from place to place.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: South East

    Period: Tudors and Stuarts

  • What Was the 'Whig' Party and Where Can You Find Them Today?

    Intriguing clues to the answer can be found in the 'Temple of British Worthies', a structure in the gardens of Stowe House in Buckinghamshire that commemorates the famous English political faction, the 'Whig' party.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: South East

    Period: Georgian

  • How Did Victorian Drinking Establishments Become Family-Friendly Pubs in the 20th Century?

    Why do 20th-century pubs look so different to 19th-century ones? The Black Horse pub in Birmingham, dating from 1929 and listed at Grade II, provides the answer.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: West Midlands

    Period: Victorian

  • Where Can You Find an Enormous Cod?

    While tucking into their takeaway fish and chips, visitors to the pretty North Yorkshire village of Robin Hood's Bay may wonder at the size of a collection box shaped like a cod standing on its tail.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: Yorkshire

    Period: Victorian

  • How Long Have People Been Recycling Glass in England?

    Before the Roman conquest in AD 43, glass was a rarity in England, but afterwards people were able to obtain a wide range of glass cups, plates, bowls and bottles and even glass window panes.

    Type of Designation: Scheduled Monuments

    Region: North West

    Period: Tudors and Stuarts

  • What Proved 'Good Luck' For Channel 4's Time Team at a Scheduled Monument in Gloucestershire?

    Turkdean Roman Villa is in Gloucestershire, an area with a rich and fascinating archaeological history. The buildings were first documented in 1800, when its remains had survived above ground for nearly 1,500 years.

    Type of Designation: Scheduled Monuments

    Region: South West

    Period: Roman

  • Which Building Was Rumoured to Have Survived the Blitz Because Hitler Coveted it for the Nazis' HQ?

    Senate House, the University of London's library and administrative centre, has generated much public debate since its completion in 1937.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: London

    Period: 20th Century

  • Did Oliver Cromwell Really Ban Christmas?

    Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire in 1599, and was Member of Parliament for the town for a year (1628-29).

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: East of England

    Period: 20th Century

  • Where Was the Only Nuclear Reactor to Be Constructed Inside a Listed Building?

    The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is now a popular tourist attraction, part of the Maritime Greenwich world heritage site.

    Type of Designation: Listed Buildings

    Region: London

    Period: 20th Century

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