People around market stalls with a large civic building in the background.
The Market Place, Norwich. © Historic England Archive. Photographer credit Steve Cole, Image reference DP084728.
The Market Place, Norwich. © Historic England Archive. Photographer credit Steve Cole, Image reference DP084728.

Introduction to Issue 14

Claudia Kenyatta, Director of Regions at Historic England and Ian Morrison, Director of Policy and Evidence introduce this special issue of Historic England Research magazine focusing on place-based research. 

This issue reports on a range of recent place-based research projects, situating them in the context of Historic England’s 2018 Places Strategy, which emphasises the important role played by research in successful place-making, and in the continuing development, deployment and evaluation of characterisation and Historic Area Assessment approaches.

Research carried out by our own architectural and archaeological investigators and commissioned by Historic England is an integral part of our input to Heritage Action Zones (HAZs), which involve working with local partners to harness the potential of heritage to promote sustainable growth in places facing a range of pressures.

Johanna Roethe and Kaija-Luisa Kurik describe how our research in central Rochdale is enhancing the understanding of the special character of the area and laying the foundations for the grant-aiding of repairs to key buildings.

Elsecar, encompassing an industrial landscape near Barnsley in Yorkshire, is a three-year HAZ approaching completion. As Dave Went explains, the research project there has provided a really powerful vehicle for community engagement. It's a great example of how research can help communities discover more about their heritage and rejuvenate pride in their local place.

Recently Historic England was awarded £92m by Government to help revitalise often struggling historic high streets around England as part of its High Streets Heritage Action Zones initiative, and the programme will start from 1st April 2020. Owain Lloyd-James, Aimee Henderson and Rebecca Lane describe the context and the role that research is likely to play in the High Street HAZs and discuss our demonstrator project in Coventry.

As a world city London is in many ways a special case requiring a Greater London-wide approach and an agreed set of terms to describe historic character. Dave Hooley talks about the work we are doing to support the Greater London Authority in this sphere.

Lastly, we’re involved in a number projects where there is a need for research to tease out the complex character of places such as Digbeth and Deritend in Birmingham in advance of development as Pete Boland and his co-authors explain.

This encompasses the rural as well as the urban and Neil Redfern highlights the novel approach we are taking to the remarkable landscape that is the Yorkshire Wolds where we are working in tandem with local history and arts groups to build consensus around what the heritage of the area means to each of us and how it can be sustained for the future.

Claudia Kenyatta

Director of Regions at Historic England

Roles and responsibilities
Claudia oversees Historic England’s work in the regions, where we offer expertise and advice and build the effective partnerships that help us to explain, protect and care for the historic environment.

Previous experience
Claudia joined Historic England in September 2018 as Director of Regional Delivery. Prior to that, Claudia worked in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, where her roles included Head of Heritage, Head of Ceremonials and Director of the Digital Economy Unit. Her last role before joining Historic England was as Corporate Strategy Director. Before joining DCMS, Claudia worked in a variety of roles in the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now MHCLG).

External roles
Claudia is a Trustee of Lauderdale House.

Ian Morrison

Director of Policy and Evidence at Historic England

Roles and responsibilities
Ian Morrison was appointed Director of Policy and Evidence at Historic England to help shape the future direction and strategies of the organisation and lead the delivery of its specialist services, strategy and central listing and research functions. As a key member of the Executive Team, Ian is finding new ways to champion and protect England’s historic environment and to maximise its value to the public.

Previous experience
Ian was previously Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) where he successfully expanded the charity’s advice, grants and loan services to help meet the growing demand of enterprising communities wishing to repair and re-use historic buildings they value. Prior to joining the AHF, Ian was Head of Historic Environment at the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), where he held the lead UK policy role for the historic environment and introduced and directed a number of HLF’s grant programmes. His early career was spent with Historic England (formerly English Heritage), where he amassed 15 years’ experience working in a variety of roles in London and the South West. Trained as an archaeologist, Ian has undertaken numerous archaeological excavations across the UK and the Middle East.

External roles
Ian is a former serving member of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust Advisory Panel, the FWW Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund and the DCMS-sponsored Cultural Development Fund Advisory Panel.

Download Issue 14