A History of the National Heritage Collection, Volume Three: Stonehenge
Author(s): Sebastian Fry
This is Volume Three 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 sets out the story relating to the acquisition and protection of Stonehenge, drawing upon the guardianship files and Pitt-Rivers papers held by English Heritage and the National Archives. An account is given of the efforts of the first Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Lieutenant General Augustus Pitt-Rivers, to secure the protection of Stonehenge following the 1882 Ancient Monuments Act. In the early 20th century the monument was enclosed for the first time. However during the First World War it suffered damage. Stonehenge was gifted to the Nation in 1918. Thereafter the Office of Works managed a series of excavations and restorations of the monument in the 1920s and 1950s. Consideration was also given to the setting of Stonehenge. The surrounding downland was purchased and vested in the National Trust in 1929. Thereafter efforts were made to restore Stonehenge to its former wilderness, although this was at constant conflict with its role as a visitor attraction.
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