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Timeline of Conservation Catalysts and Legislation

A history of listing since 1560.

Pre-1882

1560

Elizabethan proclamation forbade "the defacing or breaking of monuments of Antiquity, and repairing as much of the repair as conveniently may be"

1596

Robert Redhead attempted to demolish Clifford's Tower, resulting in protests that it was an 'ornament to the City' and a landmark along with the Minster.

1620

Inigo Jones surveys Stonehenge for first time.

1733

The High Cross of Bristol, deemed to be 'a public nuisance,' was dismantled instead of being demolished and later re-built in the picturesque landscape of Stourhead.

1751

Society of Antiquaries of London received its Royal Charter, having held its inaugural meeting in 1707, for the 'encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries.'

1753

British Museum was founded.

1817

Thomas Rickman published the first treatise discriminating styles of English Gothic architecture, introducing the now familiar terms of Norman, Early English, Decorated, etc.

1839

Cambridge Camden Society founded to undertake restorations, their first project was St. Peter's Church, Cambridge. The Society moved to London in 1845 and changed its name to the Ecclesiological Society, publishing The Ecclesiologist from 1841-1868.

1843

British Archaeological Association (BAA) founded to promote the study of archaeology, art and architecture and the preservation of national antiquities in Britain.

1845

Protection of Works of Art and Scientific and Literary Collections Act.

1849

John Ruskin published Lamp of Memory.

1854

Public Statues Act made Commissioners of Works guardians of London statues.

1860

Union of Benefices Act passed, under which the Church of England was empowered to demolish redundant churches and sell the sites to finance church expansion into suburban areas.

1864

The RIBA established a Committee on the Conservation of Ancient Architectural Monuments and Remains, which subsequently published a pamphlet entitled General Advice to the Promoters of the Restoration of Ancient Buildings.

1865

Northumberland House, a Jacobean mansion in Trafalgar Square, was served with a compulsory purchase order by the Metropolitan Board of Works for a new street development; protest ensued and the scheme was dropped; scheme revived however and house demolished in 1874.

1865

Commons Preservation Society founded.

1869

Commissions of Works Sir Henry Layard respond to a parliamentary question asking what he was doing about the protection of ancient monuments by asking the Society of Antiquaries to make a list of 'such regal and other Historical tombs or Monuments as in their opinion it would be desirable to place under the supervision of the Government,

1869

Royal Commission on Historic Manuscripts founded.

1873

Sir John Lubbock's Bill first introduced into parliament, inspired by threats such as to Avebury's stone circle. The so-called 'monumentally ancient bill' would not become law for almost a decade.

1874

Campaign to fight the demolition of the Hampstead's Georgian parish church, St John-at-Hampstead led by George Gilbert Scott, Jr. and G.F. Bodley.

1875

Society for Photographing Relics of Old London founded.

1877

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) founded by William Morris, primarily to resist the C19 restorations of medieval churches that were seen as dishonest, particularly Scott's proposals for Tewkesbury Abbey. Their arguments for preservation would include vernacular buildings of fine craftsmanship as well as major monuments.

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1880

1880s

Several battles at the beginning of this decade, including the ploughing-up of Romano-British Dyke Hills at Dorchester on Thames and the offer of building plots for sale amongst the stones at Avebury.

1882

First Ancient Monuments Protection Act:

  • Established a schedule of 50 state 'protected' monuments, all of which were prehistoric. Roman, Medieval and occupied buildings were not yet included on the list.
  • These were not directly protected, but if the owner wished to dispose of them, the government could acquire the monuments for caretaking by the Office of Works.
  • Archaeologist General Pitt-Rivers appointed as the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments.

1883

The London and South Western Railway requested permission to construct a line from Amesbury to Shretton. This would have passed Stonehenge 'at a distance of 600 yards, and would have destroyed a number of barrows and affected the setting of the Monument by running diagonally along the Cursus and crossing the Avenue on a high embankment.

1884

The City of Chester obtained powers to protect its medieval walls by an Act of Parliament, followed a few years later by similar action in Colchester and Newcastle.

1888

London Building Act passed, limiting height of buildings to 80ft., which played a crucial role in the development of London for next 60 years.

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1890

1894

The Survey of London established, with remit of creating a systematic inventory of buildings and monuments in London.

1894/5

The National Trust founded by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Rawnsley. It acquired its first building: Alfriston Clergy House, a 14th-century thatched Wealden Hall House in Sussex the following year.

1896

The Lady published a piece on what to do with inherited historic buildings, popularising the more academic approach to conservation and repair as espoused by William Morris and others.

1897

Country Life first published, featuring one country house in each issue.

1898

London County Council Act:

  • Gave the LCC the power to acquire ancient monuments and buildings of 'architectural and historic interest' by compulsory purchase, the first building purchased was 17 Fleet Street, a 1611 tavern incorporating the Inner Temple Gateway, restored in 1905-6.

1899

A new road was built between Holborn and the Strand, the Kingsway Scheme, involving wholesale destruction of existing streets, although two churches in the Strand were preserved.

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1900

1900

First volume of the Survey of London published, covering Bromley by Bow, with C. R.

1900

Victoria Country History first published.

1900

Ancient Monuments Amendment Act:

  • Allowed inclusion of Romano-British and medieval monuments on the schedule, but maintained the exclusion of ecclesiastical buildings and occupied dwellings.
  • Northamptonshire acquired the Eleanor Cross at Geddington and Scarborough Corporation acquired a lease of the castle.

1904

Lord Curzon helped to legislate the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act of 1904 in India.

1905

The Care of Ancient Monuments published by Gerard Baldwin Brown argued that Britain lagged behind other countries in its heritage legislation.

1908

Royal Commissions were established, one each for Scotland, England and Wales, with the remit of preparing inventories of pre- 1700 structures and sites worthy of preservation.

1910

1911

Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire threatened with dismantlement and removal to the U.S., revealing the limits of the then legislation to protect buildings. However, Lord Curzon bought the building and later reclaimed the chimneypieces that had been removed and the building stayed in England.

1913

Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act:

  • Introduced a degree of compulsion, requiring owners of scheduled monuments to give one month's notice of their intention to carry out works, and allowing the Minister to impose a Preservation Order to prevent works.
  • Set up an Advisory Board of academics and experts to advise on criteria for deciding if a monument was of national importance, including examples from the 'Stone Age to the development of industry.'
  • Ecclesiastical exemption introduced, initially covering the Church of England and later expanding to include other denominations.
  • A small fine and the cost of repair or a term of imprisonment were introduced to penalise the damaging of ancient monuments.

1914

75 Dean Street, one of a block of Georgian terraces in Soho, London, and believed to be the home of Sir James Thornhill with fine wall paintings, was threatened with demolition. The house had been uninhabited and thereby at the time was placed under a Preservation Order, serving as a test case. The owner petitioned against the order and the Committee reported against the Parliamentary Bill, after having been told that the owner's costs would be payable out of the annual ancient monuments grant. The house was later dismantled and the staircase and dining room later acquired by the Art Institute in Chicago.

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1920

1922

First meeting of the Central Committee for the Protection of English Churches and Their Treasures, established by the Diocese Advisory Committees for the Care of Churches.

1924

Ancient Monuments Society founded.

1924

Royal Fine Arts Commission established.

1924

Demolition of Sir John Soane's Bank of England began.

1925

Council for the Protection of Rural England founded in response to interwar campaigns to save the countryside from the effects of the motorcar. Architect Guy Dawber, planner Patrick Abercrombie and architect Clough Williams-Ellis were key figures in the campaigns.

1926

Bishop of London attempted to demolish 19 City churches, only thwarted by joint efforts of the City Corporation, the LCC and SPAB.

1927

Norwich council, on the advice of the SPAB, purchased Elm Hill, and anticipated the Preservation Order that would be legislated in the 1932 Act.

1927

The landscape surrounding Stonehenge threatened by possible sale, which led to public outcry, and a fundraising campaign set up by the Stonehenge Protection Committee and the National Trust for its purchase.

1928

Publication of Clough Williams-Ellis' England and the Octopus, the first popular book wholly about the preservation of architecture and the built environment.

1929

The Elizabethan Montacute House, Somerset, was the first country house given to the National Trust.

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1930

1930s

Conservation campaigns at the beginning of the decade at Stonehenge, Avebury and Hadrian's Wall focused on the natural and archaeological settings of these monuments, rather than the fabric of the monuments themselves.

1931

Ancient Monuments Act:

  • Empower local authorities to set up preservation schemes to protect monuments and their surroundings, thereby introducing the concept of the conservation area into protective legislation.

1931

The National Trust for Scotland is founded.

1932

Town and Country Planning Act:

  • Introduced Building Preservation Orders to be served by local authorities on threatened historic buildings, with compensation to be paid if Minister of Works failed to uphold the order.
  • Included occupied dwelling houses for the first time.

1932

John Betjeman's Shell Guides founded, primarily to draw attention to Georgian and

1935

Inspired by Clough Williams Ellis' England & The Octopus, the Ferguson Gang, an anonymous group of Blue Stockings began a five-year campaign to raise money for the National Trust and to save historic buildings.

1936

The demolition of the brothers Adam's 1768 Adelphi, the first great Georgian riverside speculative scheme in London.

1937

'How we Celebrate the Coronation', a pamphlet arguing against the destruction of London's historic buildings was published by Robert Byron in the Architectural Review.

1937

The Georgian Group founded by Lord Rosse and Robert Byron, with Lord Derwent as its first chairman, to advocate the preservation of buildings dating from 1714-1830s.

1937

Clough Williams-Ellis edited Britain and the Beast, a much broader treatment of environmental issues.

1937

National Trust launched the 'National Trust Country House Scheme' and Country Life published list of 639 houses worth preserving.

1938

The City of Bath Act passed to help preserve the character of the 18th century city in the face of threats to its early town planning.

1938

Wren's All Hallows, Lombard Street demolished for its site value but with the condition that its tower be re-erected. This was carried out at All Hallows, Twickenham in 1939-40.

1938

The first open air museum in Britain opened at Cregneash, Isle of Man.

1938

Diocesan Advisory Committees, established to give expert advice to the Chancellor on the aesthetic and historical aspects of petitions for Faculty, become statutory.

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1940

1940-43

Aerial bombardment during World War II brought widespread destruction of many buildings and prompted the preparation of salvage lists. These would be used as a guide by planners reconstructing towns and cities after the War.

1940

The National Buildings (later Monuments) Record founded by Walter Godfrey, John Summerson and Cecil Farthing to undertake the first graphic record of England's buildings.

1943

The Council for British Archaeology founded.

1944

Town and Country Planning Act:

  • Moved responsibility for historic buildings from Ministry of Works to the new Ministry of Town and Country Planning.
  • Provided for comprehensive lists of historic buildings thought worthy of preservation, for local authorities to consent note when preparing plans.
  • Required owners of listed buildings to give two months notice of proposed works.

1945

Salvage lists prepared by architects under a scheme initiated with the RIBA.

1946

Under section 42 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1944, 'Instructions to investigations for the listing of buildings of special architecture interest' published, including discussions of 'special interest' by John Summerson.

1946

National Land Fund (later the National Heritage Memorial Fund), a government initiative to purchase objects and sites in memory of the war dead, established.

1946

On 1st August, Gosfield Hall, Essex was the first building to be spot-listed.

1947

Town and Country Planning Act:

  • Obliged Minister to compile lists for the first time. Theses were only advisory and published for the guidance of local authorities.
  • Required local authority to issue a Building Preservation Order in order to protect a building.
  • Introduced more specific criteria and the system of grading.

1947

First general list published, for 5 parishes in the Rural District of Blofield and Flegg,

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1950

1950

The Gowers Report published, recommending (but not followed through) that owners of particularly outstanding country houses should be eligible for tax and death duty relief to offset the considerable costs of maintaining these buildings.

1950

The International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) founded.

1951

Creation of the Peak District National Park.

1951

The Festival of Britain celebrated Britain's revival after the War with new architecture on the South Bank and nationwide cultural celebrations.

1951

First volume of Nikolaus Pevsner's Buildings of England Series published, covering Cornwall.

1953

Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act:

  • Established grant schemes for the repair of historic buildings and ancient monuments, to be administered by the Historic Buildings Council and the Ancient Monuments Board.

1954

Temple of Mithras discovered in London during excavations for a new office building, capturing the public's imagination.

1954

Howard Colvin's Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 first published.

1955

48 country houses demolished this year, nearly one a week, marking the C20 peak of country house demolition.

1955

W.G. Hoskins' The Making of the English Landscape published.

1957

The Civic Trust founded by Duncan Sandys to raise awareness about the effects of town planning and redevelopment on the historic environment. Their first street improvement scheme in Norwich, was begun the following year.

1958

Victorian Society founded to promote the awareness and preservation of nineteenth and early-twentieth century buildings.

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1960

1962

Philip Hardwick's 1837 Euston Arch, the first monument to the railway age and the largest Greek propylaeum ever built, was demolished for the redevelopment of Euston station, resulting in public outcry. A similar uproar erupted over demolition of J. B. Bunning's 1846-9 Coal Exchange on Lower Thames Street for a road-widening scheme that was not carried out. These two demolitions mark the change in public opinion to favour the preservation of 19th-century architecture.

1962

Local Authorities (Historic Buildings Act):

  • Enabled local authorities to offer grants towards the repairs of listed or unlisted buildings.
  • Included for the first time churches in ecclesiastical use.

1966

Sill Hill Hall, Solihull, a 17th-century timber-framed building listed under the 1947 Act, was demolished without being referred to the local planning authority. The maximum punishment at this time was £100 although this would be much increased under the 1968 Act.

1967

Civic Amenities Act:

  • Steered through Parliament by Duncan Sandys, MP, who had founded the Civic Trust
  • Introduced Conservation Areas, areas of architectural or historic interest, which local authorities were instructed to compile and amend.
  • Underlined the importance of lesser buildings when they were part of a group.

1968

Town and Country Planning Act:

  • Gave all buildings on the list statutory protection for the first time.
  • Required owner to obtain Listed Building Consent from the local planning authority for works which would alter the building's character, with certain cases (such as total demolition and buildings owned by local authorities) to be referred to the Secretary of State.
  • Increased the penalty for unauthorised works.
  • Introduced notification of the five amenity societies (SPAB, Georgian Group, Ancient Monuments Society, Victorian Society and Council for British Archaeology, as well as the RCHME).
  • Introduced repairs notices for neglected buildings.

1968

Four large conservation reports (for York, Chester, Lincoln and Bath) commissioned by Lord Kennet of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and published under the common title of 'A Study in Conservation'.

1968

Redundant Churches Fund (later the Churches Conservation Trust) is founded to revise the strategy for dealing with redundant Anglican places of worship.

1968

Nationwide resurvey of listed buildings begun, with first completed survey in 1969

1969

Nikolaus Pevsner suggests fifty Modern Movement buildings for listing, thirty-seven of which (including Sir Owen Williams' 1932 Boot Factory in Nottinghamshire), were added to the list.

1969

First Walsh report recommended the establishment of County Sites and Monuments Records and Field Monument Wardens.

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1970

1971

Town and Country Planning Act:

  • Empowered local authorities to designate conservation areas.
  • Permit Local Authorities to serve repairs notices on owners of listed buildings and to follow up with compulsory purchase where necessary

1971

RESCUE, the British Archaeological Trust founded

1971

Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market relocated, leaving the buildings empty and planners keen to redevelop but a local campaign saved the buildings from demolition.

1972

Field Monuments Act introduced a system of payments to landowners with scheduled

1973

Adam Fergusson's The Sack of Bath: a Record and an Indictment published, graphically highlighting the demolition of Georgian buildings in Bath.

1974

'Destruction of the Country House' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum after publication of John Cornforth's report 'Country Houses in Britain' articulated the difficulties of the legal and financial situation for country house ownership.

1974

Town and Country Amenities Act strengthened protection of Conservation Areas by requiring specific consent from the local authority for demolition or radical alteration.

1975

European Architectural Heritage Year

1975

SAVE Britain's Heritage founded by a group of journalists, historians, architects, and planners to campaign publicly for endangered historic buildings. 'Satanic Mills', a major exhibition and publication of 1980, highlighted industrial buildings, and was followed by further publications of building types and conservation issues.

1977

Spitalfields Historic Building Trust founded out of a squatting campaign within Nos. 5

1979

Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act:

  • Consolidated ancient monument protection legislation dating back to 1882.
  • Initiated the system of grant of consent for works to Scheduled Monuments.
  • Introduced 'archaeological areas' whereby developers obliged to allow access to archaeologists, but without funding.

1979

United Kingdom Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (UKIC) granted autonomy (having been a regional group of the IIC since 1958).

1979

The Thirties Society founded to encourage the appreciation and preservation of buildings constructed between the two World Wars. In 1992, it was re-named the Twentieth Century Society with an expanded remit.

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1980

1980

The demolition of Wallis Gilbert's Firestone Factory without consent over bank holiday weekend led to widespread public outcry and initiatives to protect exemplary buildings of the inter-war period.

1980

National Heritage Memorial Act provided financial assistance for the acquisition, preservation and maintenance of lands, buildings or structures deemed important to the national heritage.

1981

The Historic Buildings Committee of the Department of the Environment recommended a further 150 inter-war buildings for listing.

1981

On Michael Heseltine's initiative, Accelerated Resurvey of listed buildings was planned and funded, with inspectors and fieldworkers beginning their work the following year. Stage 1 by county councils begins in 1981 and stage 2 by private consultants begins in 1984.

1982

Association of Conservation Officers founded, and re-formed in 1997 as the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

1982

Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) founded.

1983

National Heritage Act:

  • Established English Heritage as the government's lead advisor on the built historic environment in England
  • Obliged Secretary of State for the Environment to consult English Heritage on listing matters, and to refer certain applications for listed building consent for advice.

1983

Register of Parks and Gardens established.

1984

Cadw, the historic environment agency within the Welsh Assembly Government, founded.

1985

Cadw included the first post-war building, the Brynmawr Rubber Factory, on their statutory list.

1986

The Greater London Council abolished and responsibility for historic buildings in London transferred to English Heritage.

1987

Dept. of the Environment Circular 8/87 removed the 1939 ceiling on listing buildings. It introduced the 'thirty year rule' by which any building over thirty years could be considered for listing, and the 'ten-year rule' by which any building over ten years old that was threatened and of outstanding interest (listable at grade I or II*), could be considered for listing.

1987

Bracken House in the City of London (built 1955-59 by Sir Albert Richardson) was the first post-war building in England to be listed, saving it from demolition. A further 18 post-war buildings were listed the following year.

1989

Remains of the Rose Theatre discovered while excavating for a new office development. This prompted a campaign resulting in a re-worked design of the new building to allow for the remains to be protected

1989

Fieldwork for Accelerated resurvey of listed buildings completed

1989

Historic Royal Palaces established as an agency of the Department of the Environment (now DCMS) to manage the 5 major palaces no longer in regular use. In 1998, Historic Royal Palaces became an independent charity.

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1990

1990

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990:

  • Defined the planning powers of local authorities and provided guidance to be given by the Secretary of State.

1990

PPG 16: Archaeology and Planning:

  • Defined the government's policy on archaeological remains on land, and how they should be preserved or recorded both in an urban setting and in the countryside, insisting on proper consideration given to archaeological remains in the planning process.

1990

Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990:

  • Consolidated previous legislation for 'buildings and areas of special architectural interest' so that general planning legislation is separated from conservation legislation.

1990

Historic Scotland created.

1991

The Willis Faber and Dumas building in Ipswich (built 1972-75 by Foster Associates) was listed, the first under the 'ten-year rule'

1992

Start of thematic listing of Post-War buildings.

1993

National Lottery Act enabled grants for heritage projects from the lottery funds.

1994

PPG 15: Planning and the Historic Environment:

  • Defined the Government's policies for the identification and protection of historic buildings and conservation areas, and the role played by the planning system in their protection.
  • Established policy of assessment for the wider landscape.

1994

Ecclesiastical Exemption Act:

  • Allowed ecclesiastical buildings that are for the time being in ecclesiastical exemption from listed building and conservation controls.
  • The safeguard was an undertaking from the Church of England that its historic buildings would be subject to a separate Church system of control which takes account of the historical and architectural importance of churches.

1994

Heritage Lottery Fund established.

1995

Register of Historic Battlefields established.

1999

RCHME and English Heritage merged.

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2000

2000

'Power of Place: The Future of the Historic Environment', a review of historic environment policy was published by English Heritage

2001

'The Historic Environment: A Force for Our Future' response published by the DCMS.

2002

'State of the Historic Environment Report' published - the first in a series of annual reports (under the title of Heritage Counts) by English Heritage for The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

2002

National Heritage Act promoted the public's 'enjoyment of, and advancing undertaking of, ancient monuments in, on and under the seabed'. It added 73,000 square kilometres to English Heritage's zone of activity.

2003

'Protecting our historic environment: Making the system work better' consultation document was published by the DCMS

2004

DCMS 'Review of Heritage protection: the way forward' published.

2005

Institute of Conservation (Icon) established through the merging of 5 professional conservator bodies (including UKIC) to become the primary organisation representing conservators within the UK.

2005

English Heritage given direct responsibility for the administration of the listing system, which now included formal notification of owners for the first time.

2007

The White Paper Heritage Protection for the 21st Century was published, proposing fundamental changes to the designation system.

2008

English Heritage published its Conservation Principles, Policies, and Guidance for the sustainable management of the historic environment. The first Listing Selection Guides are published, setting out broad approaches to designation.

2009

Limited consultation with owners on facts of a case was introduced, enabling details to be challenged.

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2010

2011

The National Heritage List for England is launched, bringing all of the national designations together on a computerised and publicly-searchable database for the first time. The internal Unified Designation System is introduced, replacing separate casework systems for different designation regimes.

2012

English Heritage adopts a more strategic approach to designation casework to enable more focus on strategic priorities in the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP). Applications will only be taken forward where the asset is under threat, fits into a current strategic project or is of evident significance.

2013

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) enables changes to the 1990 Act to allow certain exclusions to the extent of listing, where appropriate, at the point of designation.

2015

On 1 April English Heritage separated into two organisations - Historic England and the English Heritage Trust, a new independent charity that will look after the National Heritage Collection. Historic England continues as an arms-length body that looks after the wider historic environment, including listing, planning, grants, research, advice and public information.

2015

The introduction of Historic England's Enhanced Advisory Services (12 October) offered four new services that provide enhancements to our existing free planning and listing services. Three of these relate to listing services, including Fast-track listing (where listing recommendations are sent to the DCMS in a quicker and guaranteed timeframe), Listing Enhancement (providing greater clarity over the extent of statutory protection in a guaranteed timeframe) and Listing Screening Service (an assessment of an area and indication of assets that would warrant assessment statutory Listing)

2016

From 7 June, Enriching the List will allow amateurs and professionals to add heritage information and photographs to a separate layer of the National Heritage List, an initiative intended to expand the knowledge available in particular for older, briefer List entries.

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