It’s Love – actually!

Here at Historic England, we love heritage and we love our movies, so to celebrate Valentine’s day we thought we would look at some of the historic places that have provided a backdrop to some of our favourite romance films. Written by Paul Backhouse, Head of Imaging at Historic England. The Princess Bride Penshurst Place, Kent. Grade I listed. In the climactic scene of this timeless romance, Inogo Montoya utters the immortal lines “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killedRead more

7 Places That Tell the Story of London’s International Heritage

London has always been a city of movement and migration, and the diversity of its population has made an important mark on its character. Greater London has just over 19,000 listed buildings, 162 scheduled monuments and 152 registered landscapes on the List and these special assets serve two important roles: one, they celebrate the extraordinary time-depth of human activity in a great world city; and two, they help to identify the places that should be safeguarded amidst the great paceRead 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

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

The Mysterious Case of the Witch Bottle

In the 16th and 17th centuries, many people believed in witchcraft, and blamed ill-fortune such as their crops failing or the death of a loved one on a witch’s curse. People would do anything to ward off an evil spirit, from creating counter-curses to marking their doorways to keep the witches out. Nowadays we enjoy stories of magic and witchcraft as a part of English folklore, knitted into the history of our historic places, many of which may still holdRead 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