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Historic England Commissioners' Biographies

Biographies of the Historic England Commissioners.

Picture of Laurie Magnus

Sir Laurie Magnus


Sir Laurie Magnus was appointed Chairman of English Heritage on 1 September 2013 and remains Chairman of Historic England. Prior to this appointment he had been Deputy Chairman of the National Trust since 2005 and an elected member of the Trust’s Council since 2003.

Sir Laurie is Deputy Chairman (Europe) of Evercore Partners and holds a number of non-executive directorships within the finance sector. He has over 35 years of experience in the corporate finance advisory business, including in South East Asia.

In the not for profit sector, Sir Laurie is Chairman of the Windsor Leadership Trust, and a Trustee of the Allchurches Trust. Sir Laurie was a member of the UK Listing Authority Advisory Committee from 2001 until May 2011.

Sir Laurie is a member of Historic England’s Business and Finance Committee, Remuneration/Appointments Committee, and is a member of the English Heritage Board of Trustees.


Picture of Paul Baker

Mr Paul Baker

Paul is a director at architects WilkinsonEyre. His passion for creating spaces that intrigue and delight on both an intellectual and emotional level has led to his continued work with key visitor attractions and cultural institutions around the world.

His award winning portfolio includes the Alpine House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a series of projects for the Science Museum in London and the extensive redevelopment of the Wellcome Trust’s Collection building.

At the core of his approach is an interest in how architecture can be integrated into its context across the disciplines of structure and services, planning and environment and landscape architecture – and in particular, exploring how this holistic approach can contribute to long-term sustainability and regeneration.

Paul was appointed as an Historic England Commissioner in 2016.


Photo of Sally Balcombe

Ms Sally Balcombe

Sally Balcombe was Chief Marketing Officer for Travelport GDS from 2008-2011, responsible for all aspects of the marketing mix: the product portfolio with specific ownership of product strategy and management; strategic pricing; market strategy and research; brand; and websites and marketing communications globally.

She is currently advising a number of sectors, primarily focusing on travel, on their multi-channel and digital strategies. Sally has been a board member of VisitBritain since 2013 and was appointed its CEO in September 2014. She also sits as a non-executive Director on two online travel businesses. Sally was appointed as an English Heritage Commissioner in June 2014. She sits on the Business and Finance Committee and Remuneration/HR Committee.


Portrait of Mr ALex Balfour

Mr Alex Balfour

Alex Balfour joined the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) as Head of New Media in 2006. He built a team from scratch that delivered 77 digital channels to 150m consumers.

He is currently Chief Digital Officer of Haymon Boxing Management, a startup based in Las Vegas that has restored the sport of boxing to free-to-air television in the US and broadcasts on every majror US television network.

Alex is also a member of the UK Government’s Digital Advisory Board, a Commissioner of Historic England and a director of several businesses in the financial services sector including Credec and Datatracks (UK). He serves additionally on the Historic England Business and Finance Committee.


Picture of Nicholas Boys-Smith

Mr Nicholas Boys Smith

Nicholas is the founding director of Create Streets, a social enterprise that encourages the creation of popular urban environments and strives for constructive public influence on the planning and development process.

Nicholas is currently leading planning, development and urban design-related projects for public sector, private sector and community group clients. He is the author of many public policy studies and is an occasional columnist in Building magazine. He has been described by the Architects’ Journal as a ‘leading figure’ on issues to do with the built environment.

Nicholas was appointed as an Historic England Commissioner in 2016.


Black and white portrait Professor Martin Daunton

Professor Martin Daunton

Martin Daunton is Professor of Economic History and Head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences in the University of Cambridge, where he was also Master of Trinity Hall from 2004 to 2014. He was formerly Astor Professor of British History at UCL and President of the Royal Historical Society. He continues to write on economic and social history since the eighteenth century.

He has been active in the field of culture as chairman of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and a trustee of the National Maritime Museum. Martin was appointed as an English Heritage Commissioner in 2014. He sits on the Historic England Advisory Committee, is Chair of the Designation Review Committee and Deputy Chair of the Blue Plaques Panel.


Photo of Professor Michael Fulford CBE

Professor Michael Fulford CBE

Mike Fulford has been Professor of Archaeology at the Department of Archaeology, University of Reading, since 1988 and served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for six years from 1998 to 2004.

Mike’s principal area of research and expertise is the archaeology of the Roman Empire and he has published extensively both on the archaeology of Roman Britain, but also on the wider, Roman world. A key area of interest is urban archaeology and he has been engaged in a series of projects on the Iron Age and Roman town at Silchester, Hampshire and its hinterland.

At the same time he is leading a major research project on the Rural Settlement of Roman Britain with funding from the Leverhulme Trust, with a particular focus on the contribution of developer-funded archaeology since the implementation of PPG 16 in 1990.

Mike was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1977, and of the British Academy in 1994. He is currently Treasurer of the British Academy. Mike was appointed as a Commissioner of English Heritage in 2014. He is Chair of the Historic England Advisory Committee and also sits on the Designation Review Committee.

Having recently served as its President, he is also Vice-President, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. Mike was appointed CBE in 2011.


Black and white portrait Ms Victoria Harley

Mrs Victoria Harley

Victoria Harley is manager of Brampton Bryan Estate, Herefordshire, and concentrates on preservation and reuse of traditional historic buildings, together with landscape conservation.

Through links with the Historic Houses Association, she has wide experience in the management of historic houses. She was previously director of Sotheby’s Carpet Department and latterly a freelance consultant.

She served on the National Trust Midlands Advisory Board for seven years and was a trustee of the Offa’s Dyke Association.

She is governor of two schools. Victoria was appointed as an English Heritage Commissioner in 2014. She serves additionally on the Designation Review Committee, the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee and the Historic Estate Conservation Committee.  


Profile picture of Rosie-Marie MacQueen

Ms Rosemarie MacQueen MBE

Rosemarie has over 44 years’ experience of urban planning, conservation, heritage management and regeneration. She has provided expert evidence on conservation issues to parliamentary select committees and her voluntary roles include 20+ years of service on the Georgian Group Executive Committee and as London Chairman of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. Rosemarie was awarded the MBE for services to Heritage in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Rosemarie was appointed as an Historic England Commissioner in 2016.


Picture of Neil Mendoza

Mr Neil Mendoza

Neil started working life as a banker at JP Morgan in New York before moving to film finance. He co-founded the pioneering publishing agency, Forward, spending much of his career as an entrepreneur and non-executive director in the film, design, software and telecoms sectors.

He is Chairman of The Landmark Trust, Chairman of Children and the Arts, Vice-Chairman at Soho Theatre, and a Non-Executive Board member at the Department of Culture, Media and Sports.

Neil was appointed as an Historic England Commissioner in 2016.


Photo of Michael Morrison

Mr Michael Morrison

Michael Morrison has been a partner at architects Purcell since the 1970s. He was managing partner of the firm through the 1990s and Chairman through the 2000s overseeing an expansion of the practice across the country.

In 1989 he was appointed as the architectural advisor to the National Gallery and has continued working in the Museum and Gallery sector since then. In 2008 Michael opened the practice’s office in Hong Kong.

He has sat on the National Trust’s architectural panel and on Heritage Lottery Fund’s expert panel for Buildings and Land. Michael is a member of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee for Polar Heritage having completed conservation plans for Scott and Shackleton’s Huts in Antarctica in 2003.

In 2014 he was appointed as a Commissioner for English Heritage. He currently serves on the Historic England Advisory Committee, the London Advisory Committee and is Chair of the newly formed Historic Estate Conservation Committee.


Picture of Charles O'Brien

Mr Charles O'Brien

Charles is an architectural historian and joint Series Editor of the renowned Pevsner Architectural Guides.

Previously, Charles worked for the Historic Buildings Department of The National Trust in its southern region. He is a member of Historic England’s Advisory Committee and London Advisory Committee, the Advisory Board for the Victoria County History and the Heritage and Arts Committee of the Mercers Company.

Charles was appointed as an Historic England Commissioner in 2016.


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