Eight of England’s Most Magnificent Libraries

Libraries are ingrained into the blueprints of cities worldwide. As well as their obvious educational importance, they play a substantial role culturally and historically. Read 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

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

Suffragettes: 7 places where history happened

Following 50 years of campaigning by Suffragists, the Suffragettes pushed for the vote through militant action and civil disobedience. Read more

Workshop of the World: 5 Great New Uses for England’s Industrial Heritage

Grade I and II* industrial buildings are three times more likely to be at risk than other types of historic building of the same grade. Yet re-using industrial buildings can bring great economic benefits while providing stimulating spaces to live and work in.Read more

6 Places that Inspired Alice in Wonderland

The surreal world of Wonderland has captured the imagination of little and big kids everywhere since Alice’s adventures were first published in 1865. The range of country-wide events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the book are as eclectic and imaginative as Wonderland itself, from walking tours and Mad Hatter’s tea parties to interactive performances where the audience take on Alice’s journey and become part of the story.Read more

10 of the Best Gin Palaces to Celebrate World Gin Day

Far from its humble beginnings in the bawdy back streets of London, gin has become the tipple of the discerning drinker. Our relationship with this most English of drinks goes back as far as the 17th century and much as the drink itself has evolved, so have the places associated with it.Read more

Victorian and Edwardian London at the Dawn of the Steel Age

If you could put on a pair of X-Ray Specs and turn your gaze to some of London’s finest Victorian and Edwardian buildings, what do you think you might see? Assuming they were the real deal, and not the American novelty item that merely creates an optical illusion of seeing through or into solid objects, you might be surprised to see intricate metal structure within. On closer examination you might see columns, girders, beams, joists, trusses, bolts and rivets, allRead more