Women in Science: 10 minutes with a Maritime Archaeologist

To mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11th Feb 2017, we spoke to Alison James, Maritime Archaeologist at Historic England, about what inspires her in her work. Can you give us a brief introduction to what you do? I’m a Maritime Archaeologist at Historic England so I deal with the 52 protected wreck sites around the coast of England. They range from Bronze Age sites right through to 21st century submarines, from Northumberland down to the IslesRead more

5 Historic Places that Mark LGBTQ Love and Pride

This February, we’re celebrating love and historic places. Many of the places where we meet and fall in love might seem quite ordinary, but for us they are extraordinary. Heritage leaves its mark on all of us, and there’s romance in everyday places. Many historic places have seen love against adversity; love kept secret, and love breaking boundaries. Here are some of our favourites: 1. The Shared Tomb of Radclyffe Hall and Mabel Batten, Highgate Cemetery, London, Grade I listed.Read more

The Silvertown Tragedy: Explosion on the Home Front

100 years ago today, on 19th January 1917 at 6.52pm, a catastrophic explosion at the Brunner Mond and Company’s high explosive TNT factory in Silvertown, East London killed 73 people and injured hundreds. Most were local residents, including children and babies. The force of the explosion was tremendous.  Streets of houses were flattened. Across the river from Silvertown, on the Greenwich Peninsula at a gas works, now the site of the O2 Arena, one of the gas holders exploded. UpRead more

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Listed Building

One of the most popular detectives in literature, Sherlock Holmes has seen many outings on the screen, and the BBC1 series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman makes use of many listed buildings in its filming. Paul Backhouse, Head of Imaging at Historic England, takes us through a few of his favourites: 187 North Gower Street, London. Grade II listed Of course no list would be complete without the home of the legendary detective himself, 221b Baker Street. However, 187Read more

Britain’s Earliest Mummy and the People of Wor Barrow

Long barrows are the burial places of Britain’s early farming communities and are the oldest monuments surviving in our landscape. These earthen mounds acted as funeral monuments during the Early Neolithic (3700-3500 BC) and reveal much about the communities buried within them. Peter Marshall, Historic England’s Scientific Dating Coordinator and Jonathan Last, our Landscape Strategy Manager, take us through new findings from an extraordinary long barrow excavated over a century ago. Wor Barrow Wor Barrow lies within Cranborne Chase inRead more

154 Years of Amazing Architecture on the Underground

London Underground is the world’s oldest metro system: the first journey took place on 10th January 1863, when the Metropolitan Railway opened to the public.  On its first day, 38,000 people day took the 18 minute journey between Paddington and Farringdon. The underground has a history of thoughtful and thorough design and detail; from the commission of the Johnston typeface in 1913, to Harry Beck’s iconic 1930s design for the tube map, to the recent redesign of station staff uniformsRead more

8 Images of a Frosted England

Baby, it’s cold outside! Our Archive collection of over 9 million images is a window into the history of England’s archaeology, historic buildings and social history. You can use the archive to learn about your local area, and research well known historic buildings and sites. We hold some of the earliest photography ever taken. Keep warm this winter with our pick of 8 archive images of the historic environment covered in a blanket of snow: 1. Rievaulx Abbey, Ryedale, NorthRead more

5 Extraordinary Listings in 2016

Listing is the act of identifying the most important parts of our heritage so they can receive special protection. We celebrate their significance, and make sure that our history can be enjoyed by present and future generations. Over 1,000 places have been granted protection through listing in 2016. Here are five that represent the diverse nature of our historic environment and captured the heart of the nation: Punk History Numbers 6 & 7 Denmark Street are two of just eightRead more

Thou Shalt Not Kill: 7 Sites of Memory to Conscientious Objectors

It is believed that as many as 20,000 men from all walks of life were originally on record as conscientious objectors between 1916 and 1918, refusing to fight in the First World War for religious, political or humanitarian reasons. They appeared before local tribunals to have the sincerity of their claim interrogated – often humiliatingly and aggressively – in public. These tribunals were biased towards believing the objectors were acting from cowardice not conscience.  It was a time when whiteRead more

Dickens at Christmas: 7 places to visit around the UK

Is there any novelist more closely linked with Yuletide than Charles Dickens? His story, A Christmas Carol, was an instant hit in 1843 and helped make Christmas fashionable again. It remains hugely popular, with its perennially relevant call for greater kindness and the end of greed. It’s perhaps less well known that Dickens wrote about Christmas many times, often with radical intent, and without the sweet gloss the Carol would get from later adaptations. To help you explore what theRead more