Priene: planned city

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Priene © David Gill

The city of Priene on the north side of the Maeander Valley preserves its planned (‘Hippodamian’) form. One of the most prominent features is the temple of Athena Polias. One of the best viewpoints is from the cliff path to the akropolis.

How do you manage visitors to such an extensive site? How do you protect unexcavated parts of the site? How do you make sense of such a complex site?

Should St Peter’s Cardross ruin be added to the national portfolio of heritage properties in care?

BBC News article

Following the collapse of the project to turn the ruins of St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross into an arts and cultural centre by arts organisation NVA, the future for the site has been looking very uncertain.  The site is still owned and managed (i.e. secured for health and safety) by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, who starkly admitted at the weekend to BBC News that the site is an ‘albatross around our neck’.

The site comes with significant conservation challenges, and it is a great shame that the development plans which had reached an advanced point were unable to proceed.  Love the building or loathe it, it is arguably an iconic site, arguable moreso in its ruined state with so many possible human responses to it. Ruins and their treatment have been back in the spotlight of late – whether via urbex (highlighted by Bradley Garrett); academic consideration such as De Silvey’s ‘Curated Decay‘; or the British Library’s recent consideration of literary responses to ruins.  Much has been written about the Cardross site itself, including a dedicated volume published by Historic Environment Scotland during the time of the most recent rejuvenation proposals.

If ever there was time for serious consideration about the site being an addition to the national portfolio of monuments held in care for the nation either via Guardianship or direct ownership of Scottish Ministers, then this is it.  The state via its national heritage agencies still (I would argue) has a moral duty to act as owner of last resort for important sites such as St Peter’s.   It is understood from the BBC News article that the Scottish Government (I assume via Historic Environment Scotland) is currently considering the site’s potential future. What better and fitting addition to the Historic Scotland catalogue of sites, which includes so many other religious buildings such as the great Border abbeys, than a 20th century building which can currently find no further use than as a ruin but which plays an ongoing role in the public psyche.  Just as English Heritage has been reinventing its approach to the national heritage estate in England, the opportunity in Cardross for Historic Environment Scotland to do something original at a ‘similar but different’ kind of site is intriguing – I hope that we may yet see the site as a new ‘property in care’ for Scotland.

Glenluce Abbey: book cupboard

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Glenluce Abbey © David Gill

Within the cloister at Glenluce is a recessed book cupboard marked by a Ministry sign.

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Glenluce Abbey © David Gill

For other books cupboards:

Reconstructing a Broch and Crowdfunding

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Glenelg © David Gill

It has been announced that a broch will be reconstructed in Caithness (“Bid to build replica Iron Age tower in Caithness“, BBC News 4 January 2019).

The Caithness Broch Project is using crowdfunding to raise support for the reconstruction.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee on Stonehenge

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Stonehenge © David Gill

Over the New Year I tweeted a post on the Heritage Journal relating to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee on Stonehenge. I was asked about the source of the quote and therefore cite here the exact wordings from the 41st meeting in Krakow in July 2017. The World Heritage Committee [Decision 41 COM 7B.56]:

Expresses concern that the 2.9km Stonehenge tunnel options and their associated 2.2km of dual carriageway approach roads within the property that are under consideration, would impact adversely the OUV [Outstanding Universal Value] of the property

Goodrich Castle: guidebooks

Goodrich_MPBW

1958 (5th impress. 1967)

Goodrich Castle was placed in State Guardianship in 1920. The first official guidebook was prepared by C.A. Ralegh Radford, with a new edition in 1958. It consists of a history, with a section on periods of construction, then a description. A plan of the castle was included inside the guidebook at the start of the description.

Goodrich_DOE

1958 (9th impress. 1975)

The revised DOE blue guide has the foldout plan inside the back cover.

Goodrich_EH

1993 (repr. 1999)

The English Heritage guidebook was prepared by Derek Renn (whose other guides included Framlingham Castle, Old Sarum and Shell Keeps). This starts with a tour of the castle, walks along the river Wye, and a history of Goodrich. A plan of the castle is placed in the centre of the guide.

Tintagel Castle: guidebooks

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Tintagel © David Gill

Tintagel Castle was placed in State Guardianship by the Duchy of Cornwall in 1930. C.A. Ralegh Radford prepared the first guide 1935, with a second edition in 1939. It is introduced with a summary, followed by a history, periods of construction of the castle, and then the description. A foldout plan is placed inside the back cover. The later MPBW guidebook had an additional plan of the island inside the back cover.

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1939 (2nd ed., 10th impress. 1962)

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1939 (2nd ed., 14th impress. 1969)

The English Heritage guidebook was written by Brian K. Davison. It contains three sections: Tour and Description; History of Tintagel; the Legend of King Arthur. A plan of the island is placed inside the back cover.

Tintagel_EH

1999 (repr. 2002)