7 Spooky Tales from England’s Haunted Castles

Many of England’s historic buildings and monuments set an inspiring backdrop for mysterious tales of paranormal activity, their rich heritage feeding into narratives passed through generations. This Halloween we’re taking a look at how tales enjoyed at this time of year, of witches, ghosts, vampires and ghouls are knitted into English folklore, making their mark on our culture and historical places. Here are 7 spooky stories linked to some of England’s oldest castles. The Vampire of Alnwick Castle, Northumberland WritingRead more

Heritage at Risk at the Movies

Our Heritage at Risk programme protects and manages the historic environment, so the number of ‘at risk’ historic places and sites across England is reduced. Stephanie Dance-Groom, Historic England’s Local Engagement Adviser in the South East, takes us through some of her local Heritage at Risk sites that have featured on the silver screen in the past and need our help now.  Doctor Who is running again. It’s Tom Baker this time (the one with the preposterously long scarf and jelly beans). Surrounded byRead more

10 Portraits of England

Our Archive collection of over 9 million images contains some of the earliest photographs ever taken, and exists as an ever growing visual diary of our built environment. If you’re new to the Archive perhaps you’ll search the name of the area you grew up in, your old school, your favourite building or ancient monument. Dive into the further reaches of it’s collections and you may be surprised what you find. Alongside images of the built environment are hundreds ofRead more

“I’m sorry but what is a Scheduled Monument?”

The well preserved remains of No. 1 Filling Factory at Barnbow, near Leeds, have today been granted Scheduled Monument status. Women made up the vast majority of the workforce, engaged in the incredibly dangerous work of filling shells for the western front including the Battle of the Somme. Jane Sidell, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for London at Historic England,  sheds some light on the term and talks us through some of the fascinating scheduled monuments she’s come across. “I’m sorry butRead more

The Beautiful North

In April 2016, towns and cities across the North East, North West and Yorkshire were invited to bid to put on a ‘Great Exhibition of the North’, which will celebrate the best of art, culture and design across the northern regions. Sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the exhibition will run for two months and help investment and tourism in the region. From nine strong proposals, four areas have been shortlisted: Blackpool, Bradford, Sheffield and Newcastle-Gateshead. HereRead more

You Didn’t Know it was Neo-Georgian

You might think you know about Georgian architecture but what is Neo-Georgian? How does it differ from the original and what difference does that little word ‘neo’ make? Written by Elizabeth McKellar, Professor of Architectural and Design History at the Open University and co-author of Neo Georgian Architecture 1880- 1970. What is Neo-Georgian Architecture and when did it begin? Neo-Georgian is the term used to describe any buildings that date from after Georgian architecture faded, c. 1840, that re-use its classical approachRead more

Gruesome Georgians: Crime and Punishment

In Georgian Britain, crime was rife. Over 200 offences were punishable by death, including murder, rape, arson, forgery and sheep stealing. A gruesome, painful and humiliating demise was often favoured by the courts. Many buildings and structures related to Georgian crime and punishment survive, and many are listed as  fine examples of Georgian architecture, as well as for their place in the fascinating history of our justice system. The Women’s Prison, York (now York Castle Museum). Grade I listed The grandRead more

Pioneers & Rebels: 7 LGBTQ People in History

Pride of Place, our ground-breaking research project in association with Leeds Beckett University, has seen members of the public share information about the LGBTQ buildings and places special to them via an online map. The 1,600 contributions made have uncovered fascinating stories and insights into an under-documented history. You can see the findings in an online exhibition on the Historic England website, and we’ll be sharing our favourite stories here on the blog. More details on the objectives of PrideRead more

A Brief Introduction to…Vernacular Houses

First things first, what is a vernacular house? These are houses built to reflect local customs and traditions using locally available materials like wood, stone and brick. They are ordinary, rather than monumental buildings and so different from region to region that they are a vital part of England’s local distinctiveness, defining the country’s much-loved landscape. Some of these simple houses are now listed and celebrated as nationally important. They are irreplaceable evidence of how our ancestors used to live, build andRead more

Innovation and the Country House

When you visit a country house open to the public, look beyond the elaborate plasterwork, elegant furniture or collections of Old Masters and ask how the family and their servants lived from day to day in such houses. Innovative technological advances of the time where adopted, and can still be found on display, particularly in those country homes which have now opened up their servants’ quarters to the visiting public. Here are 6 objects which contributed to comfortable living:  Written byRead more