conservation groups

conservation groups
   Britain’s major official national conservation agencies are English Heritage, Cadw (for Wales), Historic Scotland, and the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. The National Trust and The Landmark Trust are the highest profile national charities involved with conservation of buildings, but there are many lesser known bodies which identify historic buildings most at risk. They then lobby the official agencies responsible for listing and funding, and get them to supply the money. Examples of such organizations are The Georgian Group, the Victorian Society, the Ancient Monuments Society, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) (founded by William Morris in 1877), and the newest amenity society, the Twentieth Century Society, which takes up the cause of buildings from 1914 to the present. More ‘grassroots’ organizations also contribute, such as the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England and The Friends of Friendless Churches (set up to protect redundant Anglican churches in Wales).
   Besides the above, there are numerous local voluntary organizations working to restore local landmarks or create wildlife refuges or city farms. These have the opportunity to apply for National Lottery funding, but this has become less easy since 1997.
   The existence of these bodies and their distribution throughout Britain indicates a widespread interest in preserving and visiting Britain’s historic buildings. For example in 1997, 2.9m people visited Historic Scotland’s listed buildings, up 400,000 from the year before. Listing of buildings contains a presumption against demolition, but it does not rule it out. In 1996 there were applications to demolish 266 listed buildings in England and Wales. Most were turned down or withdrawn, often in response to public feeling. Certainly in cities, people are now more aware of the depredations of previous redevelopers. Thus when the Church proposed restoring St Ethelburgha’s Bishopsgate, destroyed by the 1993 IRA bomb, ‘with a glazed facade’, public opposition was voiced and a ‘traditional’ facing was chosen. The change of government from Conservative to Labour in 1997 has meant less emphasis on conservation of buildings. There has been a shift in Lottery funds to education and ‘community’ projects and the amount going to historic buildings has been drastically reduced to £30m a year, when it was nearly double this a few years ago.
   See also: heritage
   Further reading
    Isaacs, A. and Monk, J. (1993) The Illustrated Dictionary of British Heritage, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
   MIKE STORRY

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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