Historic England’s Introductions to Heritage Assets
Key guidance texts are being revised by expert researchers
Revising and developing guidance
Historic England is currently revising all its main guidance documents: the 44 selection guides which set out designation standards and the ever-expanding series of publications known as Introductions to Heritage Assets .
The selection guides, which first appeared in 2011, set out the ways in which particular heritage assets – be they buildings, archaeological sites, parks and gardens, battlefields or historic wrecks – may be found to have sufficient special interest for us to recommend they receive legal protection. They are planned to appear as Historic England publications in June. Changes will be few and minor: certainly there will be no revision of the well-established principles governing selection which they rehearse.
What are Introductions to Heritage Assets?
The Introductions to Heritage Assets are accessible, authoritative, illustrated summaries of what we know about specific types of archaeological site (over 40 are covered in the series), building, designed landscape or marine asset.
They will each often cover a type of building or structure which is either becoming redundant, is under threat, or is at risk of wholesale change as a result of factors such as changing government policy or technological innovation. All appear regularly as cases for those involved in planning and designation, and clear and accessible understanding is essential to ensure responses are swift, consistent and well-informed.
Although occasionally one is produced by a non-Historic England specialist, most are written by in-house experts, which from the start have had the happiest of collaborations on these important publications.
The most recent titles to be published have been: Drill Halls, Power Stations, Historic Amusement Parks and Fairground Rides, Housing for Disabled Veterans 1900–2014, Public Art 1945–95, Shopping Parades and Railway Goods Sheds and Warehouses.
Further Introductions to Heritage Assets are in progress, and most are due to appear in 2016. Titles include: Textile Mills; Law Courts; Mechanics’ Institutes; 20th-Century Civil Defence; Mosques; Nonconformist Chapels; and Suburban Detached Houses 1870–1939. Possible future topics include garrison chapels, inter-war barracks, post offices, village halls and suburban landscapes.
Paul Stamper is Senior Adviser with Listing Group, Historic England.
Before joining English Heritage in 1996 Paul worked for the Victoria County History. Originally a medieval archaeologist, his publications include (with Tim Darvill and Jane Timby) Oxford Archaeological Guides: England (2002) and (with Neil Christie), Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600 (2012).