DOE Official Guide to the Tower of London


1967 (reprinted 1971)

We have noted before the Ministry of Works and MPBW guides to the Tower of London, and the Ministry of Works illustrated guide-book. The latter continued to appear as the DOE Official Guide (inside described as a ‘guidebook’) republished in 1967 (and reprinted in 1971).

The texts are similar with many of the same images, although there are additional colour plates.

No Exit: Heritage Signs and the Ministry of Works


University of Suffolk seminar

Readers of ‘Heritage Futures’ will know that we have more than a passing interest in the historic signs erected by the Ministry of Works (and its successors) to interpret and manage sites in state guardianship. This seminar will explore the range of signs used across prehistoric, Roman, medieval and industrial sites in the UK. These include the signs directing visitors to the site, car-parking, warning signs and directional arrows, as well as those that help to interpret the different parts of complex buildings such as abbeys and castles. Many were cast by the Royal Label Factory.

All welcome.



Restricted access at Dundrennan Abbey


Dundrennan Abbey © David Gill

There are numerous signs at Dundrennan Abbey that help visitors to interpret the site. Some, however, mark the limits of public access.

Compare this to the access sign at Easby Abbey in Yorkshire that redirects visitors.

Developments at the Long Shop Museum


Long Shop Museum, Leiston © David Gill

The Long Shop Museum in Leiston has been awarded £2 million by the HLF (“Long Shop Museum in Leiston awarded lottery grant“, BBC News 19 October 2016). The works were owned by the Garrett family from the 18th century.

The grant is part of a £3 million project to transform the site (“New lease of life for world’s first assembly line“, HLF Press Release 19 October 2016). This will assist with:

Alongside vital repairs, the project will help provide an enhanced visitor experience with new activities: the creation of a reminiscence café, a community hub and a Youth Shed where young people can gain basic engineering skills and find inspiration in the achievements of Richard Garrett, his descendants and those who worked at the site.

New displays will feature the Museum’s own extensive collections – from sickles to steam engines – and draw on the Garrett Archive at Suffolk Record Office to explore the history of industry and science, tell the stories of the workers and reveal more about the lives of the Garrett family – including Elizabeth Garrett who became the first woman in Britain to qualify as a doctor.

Plans to merge Cadw and National Museums Wales


Opening of National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, 17 October 2005 © David Gill

There has been speculation for some time about the possible merger of Cadw and National Museums Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru). It has been reported today that Dr David Fleming, Director of the National Museums Liverpool, has written to the Welsh Government Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee  (“‘Threat’ to National Museum Wales over merger plans“, BBC News 7 October 2016). He wrote: “I cannot stress enough the pivotal role that Wales’ national museum service plays in the demonstration of Welsh nationality and the damage that could result from any diminution of that role.”

The merger is likely to include the National Library of Wales (Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru).

One of the proposed names for the new body is apparently “Historic Wales”.

The Economy Secretary for Welsh Government, Ken Skates, stated: “This [evolution] is essential if these organisations are to continue to act as effective custodians of our outstanding historic collections and heritage and provide an outstanding visitor experience.”


Carew Cross © David Gill

Castle Acre: the prior’s lodging


Prior’s lodging, and west end of priory church, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The prior’s lodging lies in the northern part of the west range, adjacent to the priory church. The room identified as the prior’s study (or solar) on the first floor is part of a mid-14th extension to the structure.


Prior’s study, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


Prior’s solar, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


Prior’s chapel, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


Prior’s chapel, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The prior’s chapel lay on the eastern side of the structure in a part of the building dating to the mid-12th century. Remaining parts of the earliest structure include the arch at the eastern end of the room, over the place where the altar was located. The east window, looking out towards the cloister, dates to c. 1300.


Outer Parlour, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

On the ground floor, under the prior’s chapel was the outer parlour. This was accessed from outside via a north door, and to the cloister on the east side. The staircase led from here to the prior’s quarters.


Undercroft, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill


Undercroft, Castle Acre Priory © David Gill

The vaulted undercroft lies under the prior’s solar.