A History of the National Heritage Collection: Volume Six: 1945-1953

Author(s): Nick Chapple

This is Volume Six in a series of eight reports, which describe the formation of the national collection of ancient monuments and historic buildings from 1882 to 1983 in the context of legislation and other available means of protecting heritage. The report describes the growth of the collection from the end of the Second World War, and the consequent resumption of ancient monuments activity in the Ministry of Works, to the passing of the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act which marked a significant increase in the government’s power to protect the nation’s heritage. In the aftermath of the Second World War, and with the social and economic fabric of Britain being remade by a Socialist government, the collection of ancient monuments and historic buildings in the care of the Ministry of Works expanded rapidly. High levels of taxation and shortages of materials and skilled labour made it difficult for owners of all kinds to maintain their ancient monuments adequately and the only body able to save them was central government. Nevertheless, there were still deficiencies in the government’s capacity for protecting heritage, in particular with regard to inhabited houses, and much of the work of the Ministry’s Ancient Monuments Department was conducted in the shadow of anticipated new legislation, which arrived after much delay in 1953.

Report Number:
Research Report


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