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

If Street Furniture Could Talk

Street furniture probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of protected heritage. But our high streets and country lanes would be a poorer place without the milestones, lamp posts, horse troughs and bollards that collectively remind us of how very different from today our streets once were. As our busy roads are adapted to accommodate modern transport schemes, these small elements can easily be swept away. Significant pieces are protected by listing so they remainRead 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

8 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland was the bloodiest naval confrontation of the First World War, involving 250 vessels and nearly 100,000 men.  The British Grand Fleet, whose key commanders were Admiral John Jellicoe and the then Vice-Admiral David Beatty, fought the German High Seas Fleet off the coast of Denmark. 6,097 British and Empire lives were lost, as well as 2,551 German. Neither side won a decisive victory, but the confrontation changed the course of the war, ultimately bringing the UnitedRead more

Mirth, Mayhem and Marvel: A Brief Introduction to Music Halls

‘The scent… of music halls everywhere – the scent of wood and grease-paint and spilling beer, of gas and of tobacco and of hair-oil, all combined… later I heard it described, by theatre managers and artistes, as the smell of laughter, the very odour of applause.’  Sarah Waters, Tipping the Velvet England’s long history of building grand indoor spaces for socialising and entertainment began with the music halls of the early Victorian era. Originating as an extension of the saloonRead 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