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

A Changing Climate: Water, Flooding and Historic Buildings

Water. We can’t live without it. Throughout history living near water has been important for almost every aspect of human life and for the resources and raw materials that rivers, lakes, wetlands and the sea provide. But living in close proximity to water is not without its challenges. In 2009 The Environment Agency estimated that 1 in 6 properties in England (5.2 million) were at risk of flooding.  There are 1.8 million people currently living in areas at significant riskRead more

8 Historic London Shopfronts

London streets are lined with colourful shops, clamouring for our attention. Many are of considerable age, and have survived for our enjoyment only through careful maintenance by generations of shopkeepers. Kathryn Morrison, Head of Historic Places Investigation, selects eight shopfronts that can be appreciated by anyone strolling along the pavements of London, and offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history as one of the world’s most exciting shopping centres. Presented chronologically, these shopfronts show how our shopping streets haveRead 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

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

Modernism at the Seaside

The 1930s saw a great diversity of architectural styles: from Neo-Georgian for town halls and mock Tudor for suburban semis, to ‘anything goes’ for the latest cinemas. But the seaside was the setting for some of Britain’s first and finest ventures into Modernism, a new movement that espoused the benefits of sunshine, simplicity and space. Here are 6 of the finest examples of Modernism at the English seaside:  1. The Midland hotel, Morecambe Designed by Oliver Hill, one of the England’sRead more

7 International Architects Who Helped Shape England

Architects from around the world have lived and worked in England in relatively small numbers for several centuries. In particular, the 20th century saw a large influx: many of them refugees fleeing the political situation in Europe. Their contribution to the built environment is undeniable, and they are responsible for some of the most important buildings of the 20th and 21st Centuries. 1. Amyas Connell Born at the turn of the Twentieth Century, Amyas Connell came to Europe from hisRead more

How to do… Buildings Archaeology

Buildings: we live and work in them, use them and ignore them. But are they wallpaper to you or are you fascinated by them, their design and their history? We can all enjoy buildings more with an archaeological approach and here are some tips on how to interpret, analyse and record them. You’ll soon know your crucks from your plinths… Written by Lucy Jessop, Senior Investigator, Historic England. Header Image: Avon Mills, Malmesbury, Wiltshire. 1. Investigation We look closely at buildingsRead more

The Hidden History of Apethorpe

The great country house of Apethorpe in Northamptonshire was sadly dilapidated in 2004, when English Heritage (now Historic England) began a programme of urgent repairs. As work progressed, many exciting discoveries were made underneath floorboards, behind modern wall surfaces, inside ancient roofs, or hiding in plain sight. Every single finding, no matter how small, deepened our understanding of the property and its illustrious owners.Read more

Golden Touch: 6 Buildings that deserve an Oscar

The Oscars are one of the entertainment world’s longest standing traditions. First broadcast to radio in 1930 and televised in 1953, winning an Oscar is one of the highest accolades of cinematic achievements that can be awarded to the film industry. Over the years, English architecture has been the backdrop to many major productions. Here are six of our favourite locations which have featured in Oscar winning films:Read more