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Introductions to Heritage Assets (Buildings)

Here you can find our Introductions to Heritage Assets (IHAs) for buildings, which expand on the parallel Selection Guide series describing different types of buildings. They provide accessible, authoritative, well-illustrated summaries of our current understanding of particular building types, especially those which, until now, have been little studied.

Titles will be added as the need arises, and as new research and understanding, undertaken through Historic England's Action Plan, becomes available.

Dunwich Coastguard Station and Cottage, Suffolk (c.1820)
Dunwich Coastguard Station and Cottage, Suffolk (c.1820) © English Heritage

What IHAs cover

IHAs typically share a common approach, headings and format.

A short Introduction defines the building type, notes any alternative names by which it is known, gives the broad date range, and discusses the distribution and number of known examples. Any particular threats to the type are identified.

Next comes a Description, or Historical background, which considers in greater detail the structures’ locations, their form and plan, and how they functioned.

With more complex building types there may be a separate section on Chronology, tracing their development through time.

Each is concluded by a narrative guide to Further Reading, which signposts key works, especially those of an accessible character.

On 1 April 2015 the part of English Heritage represented on this website changed its name to Historic England. You may notice that some of our content still refers to English Heritage. We are in the process of rebranding, but in the meantime please be assured that all our content and guidance is still current. 

19th- and 20th-Century Convents and Monasteries

19th- and 20th-Century Convents and Monasteries

Published 30 June 2016

This short guide provides an introduction to the history and development of convents and monasteries built in England, principally for Roman Catholic communities, from the late 18th century.

20th-Century Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Power Generation

20th-Century Coal- and Oil-Fired Electric Power Generation

Published 11 June 2015

This short guide provides an introduction to the history and development of buildings associated with C20 coal- and oil-fired power stations

Buildings and Infrastructure for the Motor Car

Buildings and Infrastructure for the Motor Car

Published 31 August 2016

This short guide provides an introduction to the history and development of buildings associated with motoring in England. It is intended to support the listing selection guide on Transport Buildings.

Civil Defence - From the First World War to the Cold War

Civil Defence - From the First World War to the Cold War

Published 20 October 2016

This document looks at the range of civil defence buildings used in the Second World War through to the Cold War.

Coastguard Stations

Coastguard Stations

Published 30 June 2016

This short guide provides an introduction to the history and development of coastguard stations in England. It is intended to support the listing selection guide on Maritime and Naval buildings.

Domestic Housing for Disabled Veterans 1900-2014

Domestic Housing for Disabled Veterans 1900-2014

Published 22 January 2016

This short guide gives an historical overview of the care offered to disabled ex-Service personnel in England in terms of dedicated housing provision from 1900, when this first became a national concern.

Drill Halls

Drill Halls

Published 10 June 2015

This short guide provides an introduction to the history and development of Drill Hall buildings

Historic Amusement Parks and Fairground Rides

Historic Amusement Parks and Fairground Rides

Published 15 June 2015

This short guide provides an introduction to the history and development of buildings associated with amusement park and fairground heritage

Law Courts and Courtrooms 1: The Buildings of the Criminal Law

Law Courts and Courtrooms 1: The Buildings of the Criminal Law

Published 8 September 2016

This document tells the story of how buildings have been adapted initially and subsequently constructed to meet the needs of England’s complex criminal legal system. It also explains how the courtroom has evolved from a gathering of professionals around a table in the medieval hall to the specialised, purpose-built, modern courtroom.

Law Courts and Courtrooms 2: Civil and Coroner’s Courts

Law Courts and Courtrooms 2: Civil and Coroner’s Courts

Published 8 September 2016

This document describes the development of buildings associated with these two strands of law, from adapting existing structures to creating purpose-built courts.

Nonconformist Places of Worship

Nonconformist Places of Worship

Published 31 August 2016

This document looks at the history of 'nonconformist' chapels and meeting houses and describes the issues faced by the closure or reuse of many which remain in existence.

Public Art 1945-95

Public Art 1945-95

Published 22 January 2016

This short guide provides an overview of the main trends in post-war public art.

Railway Goods Sheds and Warehouses

Railway Goods Sheds and Warehouses

Published 26 April 2016

This document gives an overview of the building type from its origins in the late 1820s until the final examples were constructed in the 1960s.

Shopping Parades

Shopping Parades

Published 26 April 2016

This document gives an overview of the building type from the mid-nineteenth century through to the inter-war years.

Signal Boxes

Signal Boxes

Published 7 September 2016

This short guide provides an introduction to the history and typology of railway signal boxes. It is intended to support the listing selection guide on Transport Buildings.

The English Public Library 1850-1939

The English Public Library 1850-1939

Published 29 July 2016

This selection guide provides an introduction to the history and development of library buildings, complementing an already-published guide to later libraries.

The English Public Library 1945-85

The English Public Library 1945-85

Published 29 July 2016

This short guide looks at the development of public libraries in England after the Second World War.

The Late 20th-Century Commercial Office

The Late 20th-Century Commercial Office

Published 30 June 2016

This short guide provides an introduction to the development of commercial office buildings in late 20th-century England. It is intended to support the listing selection guide on Commerce and Exchange Buildings.

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