The First British Bungalow

Single storey dwellings under the name Bungalow have been around since the mid-19th century. The bungalow became both a symbol of bohemianism and the building type of choice for the aspiring upper middle class seeking an affordable second home in which to enjoy the new concept of ‘the weekend’. Dr Andy Brown, Planning Director at Historic England, takes us through the mysterious origins of the bungalow in Britain. The first modern British bungalows were designed by little-known English architect,  JohnRead 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

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

Not Just Green Spaces: 5 Buildings Designed by Capability Brown

His visionary landscape designs brought Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown lasting fame, punctuating the natural environment to this day with serpentine rivers, rich woodland and palatial views. But what many people forget about Capability Brown, is that he also designed buildings and monuments within his commissioned landscapes. Surviving examples are rare and often protected by listing. Here are 5 of the structures he is less famous for. The Burton Pynsent Column, Somerset Sometimes referred to as the Cider Monument, the 140ft columnRead 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

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

5 Things You Need to Know About Listing

Written by Emily Gee, Head of Listing Advice at Historic England 1. How did listing start? Listing emerged as a legal system of protecting England’s most precious buildings during the Second World War.  The first lists were compiled as an emergency measure to identify what should be protected in post-war rebuilding. The next generation of more systematic lists on a geographical (parish) basis were heroic in their scale, but inevitably quite brief in their descriptions and often done from the road,Read more

England’s Lost Asylums

For centuries, mental illness was regarded as a spiritual affliction rather than a medical one; thankfully social attitudes have changed. The treatment of people with mental illness can be traced through the institutions that cared for them, some of which provide us with a fascinating insight into medical history. The concept of an asylum now is outdated, and many former institutions have been repurposed numerous times since their inception in the early 19th century, but those with special architectural interestRead 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