Public Asked to Chronicle the Nation’s Missing History
- For the first time ever, Historic England has opened up the nation's list of historic buildings and places to public contributions
- New drive to crowd-source knowledge and photographs for the official list of England's 400,000 most significant historic places
- 99% of us in England live within one mile of a listed building or place
- 21 of the most weird and wonderful historic places to inspire you to share your stories and images
From the hut where the smallpox vaccination was first performed in 1796, to the headstone of a young woman eaten by a tiger that escaped from a travelling menagerie; from a monks' lavatory, to a gibbet post for punishing a murderer; from Britain's first mosque to the Edgbaston tower that is thought to have inspired JRR Tolkien; Historic England is today asking for the public's help to chronicle the history of the buildings and places on The List (the National Heritage List for England). The List identifies the buildings, sites and landscapes which receive special protection, so they can be enjoyed by current and future generations.
The List is a unique record of England's evolving history. 99% of people in England live within a mile of a listed building or place and there are many secrets to uncover and stories to be shared. For the first time ever, Historic England is asking the public to share their knowledge and photos of England's most treasured historic places. The selection below is just the start of a major drive for public contributions to enrich the whole List.
What is The List?
The List began in 1882, when the first powers of protection were established. It has almost 400,000 entries: barrows and bunkers, palaces and pigsties, plague crosses and piers, tower blocks and tombstones, cathedrals, windmills and rollercoasters. Historic England looks after The List for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It is searchable online, but many entries on it are brief, providing little more than a short description of a building or place.
Share your knowledge
This year, for the first time in history, we are asking the public to join us in keeping The List rich, relevant and up-to-date. We want people and community groups across England to share their knowledge and pictures, so we can record important facts about places, and even unlock the secrets of some.
Get inspired by these unique places with missing history and photos
Gibbet post in Shackerstone, Leicestershire
The site of a gibbet post in Shackerstone, Leicestershire dating from 1800 is on The List. We know it used to have a plaque inscribed: "This Gibbet was erected a half of a mile from the scene of a murder committed by John Massey February, 1800". Anyone with information on the crime or the execution is invited to add this to The List.
Tombstone to Bullie the Bullfinch
In Cheshire a tombstone to Bullie the Bullfinch was erected by Marianna Lawton in 1853. She taught the bird to sing 'God Save the Queen' and the gravestone features a poem to Bullie, including the line: "Thy notes were so loyal, so sweet and as gay as any free bird that sang on its spray." The list description only features the poem but is missing information on Marianna Lawton, who was the lover of Anne Lister, the subject of a 2010 BBC drama.
Headstone for Hannah Twynnoy
Another headstone, this time in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, marks the gruesome death of Hannah Twynnoy, a servant at the White Lion Inn in the town. In 1703 she was eaten by a tiger that escaped from a travelling menagerie. We are seeking photos of the headstone and information on the menagerie, the accident and on the White Lion Inn.
Manchester hostel for women
The first purpose-built municipal hostel for single working women opened in Manchester in 1910. We would be really interested in any archive photos or stories people may have of friends or family members when living there or at other women's lodging houses such as Driscoll House in London.
Monks' lavatory at Bayham Abbey
There are many intriguing sights at the 13th century ruins of Bayham Abbey, including a monks' lavatory, also known as a reredorter. These early toilets were cleverly designed so they had easy access to a stream of water without polluting it. We'd like people to share their photos of this unusual feature, now nearly 800 years old.
Hertfordshire model of a German dam
In St Albans, Hertfordshire is a model of the Mohne Dam, a scaled-down replica of a dam on the River Ruhr in Germany. Several models of German dams were made, though this is the only one which survives, and were used to work out the best way to destroy the real things. This model was the first step in a process which led to the creation of the bouncing bomb and the world famous Dambuster Raid. Share your photos of the model and the German dam it replicates.
England's first mosque
8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool was converted in 1887 into what is thought to be England's first Mosque. It was established for English-speaking Muslims by local Solicitor William Henry Quilliam, who converted to Islam after travelling around what was then the Ottoman Empire. It is a testament to Liverpool's capacity to embrace different cultures and faiths, reflecting its status as a true world city. Historic England would like photos of this extraordinary building and any more information on Quilliam himself.
The world's first motor racing circuit
In Surrey, you can find Brooklands, the world's first purpose-built motor racing circuit. When completed in 1907, it was an impressive showpiece for British engineering. The concrete outer circuit was thought to be such a remarkable technological achievement that it was described as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. We'd welcome any photos of this pioneering feat of engineering.
The Jenner Hut, Gloucestershire
A listed building in Gloucestershire witnessed another momentous scientific breakthrough. The Jenner Hut, sometimes called the "Temple of Vaccinia" is where Dr Edward Jenner performed his first vaccination against smallpox in 1796, on his gardener's eight year old son. This small and simple hut is dubbed the birthplace of public health and we'd like people to share their photos of the unique building.
Canterbury ducking stool
A ducking stool in Canterbury was last used in 1809 and bears the words 'Unfaithful wives beware, also butchers, bakers, brewers, Apothecaries and all who give short measure'. The stool consists of a wooden beam with a chair at the end to which the accused would be strapped and submerged in the river. Are you aware of any recorded cases of people punished on this stool?
Anti Air War memorial
In the middle of Woodford Green, Essex, is the Anti Air War memorial which was erected in 1935 as a protest against aerial bombing. We know that the site of this unusual monument (in the shape of a concrete bomb on a column) was owned by the Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, but we would like more information about the story behind it.
Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge
At Cavendish Laboratory of Experimental Physics in Cambridge in 1929, the atom was split for the first time by Lord Rutherford. We'd like people to share their photos of the building and to learn more about Rutherford's critical work.
Rufus Stone, Hampshire
The Rufus Stone in Hampshire marks the supposed spot of the oak tree off which glanced the arrow that killed William Rufus, King William II, in 1100. Do you have any photos to share of this intriguing monument or any more details of the unfortunate King's death?
Perrot's Folly, Edgbaston
Named Perrot's Folly, The Monument or The Observatory, this Grade II* listed building stands 96-foot above the surrounding suburban sprawl of Edgbaston, Birmingham. It is thought that JRR Tolkien, who spent much of his life in Birmingham and lived in a street near the tower as a child, was possibly inspired by it for the Two Towers in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Built in 1758, the Folly has been used for many purposes over the years, from a hunting retreat to a weather station, though it isn't clear why it was built. One theory is that the owner, John Perrott, built the tower so that he could see his wife's grave, fifteen miles away. Do you know more about the Folly?
Another glory of North West England is Blackpool Tower. Built in the late 19th century it is a dominating imitation of the Eiffel Tower and on clear days can be seen for miles around. Historic England would like people to share stories of dancing in the ballroom, going to see the circus or enjoying the aquarium.
Memorial to Albert Ball, Nottingham
We'd like people to share photos of a memorial to Albert Ball in Nottingham. He was Britain's most highly decorated fighter pilot with 44 victories by his death in 1917 and was something of a national celebrity during the First World War.
Prehistoric site on Ingleborough Hill, North Yorkshire
A prehistoric site on Ingleborough Hill was originally thought to be a hillfort and the highest one in Britain at over 700m. But research has shown that the site could actually be a religious site dating back around 3,000 years or possibly even earlier. It is thought that it might be a sacred mountain sanctuary with a large meeting place on its summit, covered in ring cairns, not hut circles as was previously thought. Ring cairns belong to the second millennium BC, and seem to be outdoor chapels. We'd welcome any other theories about what this ancient place may once have been used for and any photos of what can be seen there today.
Oldest surviving lifeboat in the world
In Cleveland you can find the Royal National Lifeboat Institute which houses the 'Zetland' which was launched in 1802 and is the oldest surviving lifeboat in the world. We'd welcome photos of the Zetland and any more information about this important vessel.
The Embankment, Nottingham
Share your photos of The Embankment in Nottingham, built between 1905 and 1907. This was the second-ever Boots store, built by Jesse Boot whose father John and mother Mary were purveyors of herbal medicines. The store was complete with a subscription library called the 'Boots Booklovers' Library' and a tea room.
The greatest treasures of Tattershall Castle are its huge 15th century fireplaces. The castle was put up for sale in 1910 and the fireplaces sold to an American, ripped out of the building and packaged up for shipping. At the 11th hour Lord Curzon of Kedleston stepped in to buy the castle and bring the fireplaces home but they were lost. After a nationwide hunt they were found in London warehouse and triumphantly transported back to Tattershall. We'd welcome photos of the fireplaces at home in Tattershall.
Greenham Common Airbase
In 2003 a modern site in Berkshire was added to The List as a scheduled monument. The Cruise Missile shelter complex at Greenham Common Airbase is believed to have been the only one in England to house operational cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. The Greenham Common complex is one of the key emblematic monuments of the Second Cold War of 1979-85, signifying an escalation of the nuclear arms race. The site was also the focus of mass protest established by the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp. From 1982 to 2000, thousands of women, and men, protested against the presence of the cruise missiles and Historic England would welcome photos to be added to The List recording this time in the site's history.
Director of Listing at Historic England, Roger Bowdler said: "The history of our land and its people is marked in the fabric of England's places. The List is a free resource holding details of the most significant of these, so they can be understood and protected for the future. Many buildings on The List are well-known and even world-famous. But in some cases there is much that remains unknown. That's why we need your help - so we can share images, insights and understanding of England's special places, and capture these for future generations."
To add your contributions to The List, visit https://HistoricEngland.org.uk/etl
Editor's note: Information correct at time of original publication. In May 2023, 'Enriching the List' became the Missing Pieces Project. Find out more.