Austerity, Heritage, and Tourism

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David Gill will be giving a lecture on ‘Austerity, heritage and tourism: UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece’ as part of the Edmund Lecture Series for 2017/18. The lecture will be in Suffolk House, Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday 18 April 2018 at 6.00 pm.

Abstract

Tourism is a significant part of the Greek economy and an important counterbalance to austerity. There are 18 UNESCO cultural and two mixed World Heritage Sites (WHS) in Greece. They range from the Bronze Age site of Mycenae, through the Classical site of Olympia, to the Medieval City of Rhodes. These locations stand alongside a rich range of archaeological and heritage sites as well as museums that serve as a repository for the finds. This lecture will review the value of these UNESCO recognised sites as focal points for tourist activity. This overview will be presented against the wider visitor figures for other archaeological sites and museums in the care of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. This information will be mapped onto the wider visitor data for Greece, and contributes to the discussion over the economic impact of World Heritage Sites for local economies as well as the wider economy of Greece. The lecture will explore the likely impact of Brexit on the Greek tourist economy, and opens a wider discussion of why the UK Government should value our own UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

[Details]

No Exit: Heritage Signs and the Ministry of Works

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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.

Abstract

 

Dr John Disney and Essex

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Dr John Disney (The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) © David Gill

Thomas Brand-Hollis bequeathed his house, The Hyde, near Ingatestone, Essex, to his friend the Reverend John Disney, the minister of the Unitarian Essex Street Chapel in London, in 1804. Disney prepared a private catalogue of the collections in the house (1807; rev. 1809), in part formed by Brand-Hollis and his friend Thomas Hollis on their Grand Tour of Italy. He also prepared a memoir of Brand-Hollis (1808). Disney’s father-in-law Archdeacon Francis Blackburne had earlier published the memoir of Thomas Hollis (1780).

Disney’s older brother, Lewis (Disney-ffytche), lived at Danbury Park, Essex. His daughter, Sophia Disney-ffytche, married Disney’s son John, a barrister, in 1802.

The Reverend Disney died in December 1816, and The Hyde was inherited by his son John. Lewis Disney-ffytche died in September 1822, and his bequest to Sophia allowed the Disney’s to take up residency in Essex. John stood, unsuccessfully, as MP for Ipswich (1830), and Harwich (1832, 1835).

The Chelmsford Philosophical Society was founded in 1828. Disney served on its committee and was elected its president. He was instrumental in the creation of the Chelmsford Museum that opened in July 1843.

Disney was a member of the Chelmsford committee of the Eastern Counties Railway (1835). The line reached Chelmsford in December 1842.

Disney revised his father’s earlier catalogue of The Hyde and published it as the Museum Disneianum (1846) with an expanded version (1849). In April 1850 he formerly offered his collection of classical sculptures to the University of Cambridge (for display in the Fitzwilliam Museum). In 1851 he provided money for the creation of the Disney Chair of Archaeology. In December 1852 the first Disney professor, John Marsden, gave the inaugural lecture of the Essex Archaeological Society (where Disney was president).

Disney received the honorary degree of DCL from Oxford in 1854, and was incorporated with a LLD from Cambridge later in the same year. He presented a bust of himself to the Fitzwilliam Museum to mark the occasion.

Disney died in May 1857 and was buried at Fryerning.

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Grave of Dr John Disney, Fryerning © David Gill

Research seminar:

Dr John Disney and Essex:
displaying and interpreting the past in public and private spheres

Department of History, University of Essex (Room 6.348)
Wednesday 20 April, 4.00 pm

Cultural heritage in Greece during the present economic crisis

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The Stadion at Olympia © David Gill

Suffolk Business School Research Seminar

Professor David Gill

Date: 9 December 2015, 4.00-5.30 pm

Abstract

Greece has faced serious economic and social challenges during the present economic crisis. Heritage sites are seen as a major asset in the tourism strategy for Greece to generate income from outside the country. There are 15 World Heritage sites in Attica (the Athenian Akropolis), central Greece (Delphi), the Peloponnese (Bassae, Epidauros, Mycenae and Tiryns, Mystras, Olympia), Macedonia (Vergina, Thessalonika), and the islands (Delos, Rhodes, Chios, Corfu, Samos, Patmos). The paper will analyse data from the Hellenic Statistical Service.

In 2014 more than 14 million visits were made to heritage sites and museums in Greece. Back in 2008 the same figures showed that only 8 million visits were made. There are clearly heritage ‘hot-spots’ with Athens, Knossos, Rhodes and Olympia leading the way. The figures suggest that visitors tend to enjoy visiting sites rather than museums, though at Delphi nearly two-thirds of visitors also make their way to the museum to see the finds from the excavations. In 2014 heritage sites and museums generated more than 54 million Euros in ticket sales alone.

However there are some sites and museums, especially on more remote islands or in the mountains of the Peloponnese, where visitor numbers are extremely low. There are suggestions from northern European and North American arts commentators that Greece should realise its assets by selling ‘duplicate’ objects from its extensive holdings.

Further details

Olympia

Temple of Zeus at Olympia © David Gill

The Death of General Wolfe


Earlier this evening I attended a lecture by Loyd Grossman on Benjamin West’s painting ‘The Death of General Wolfe’ that hangs in Ickworth (see here). One of the points made was West’s knowledge of classical sculpture from his Grand Tour visit to Rome. Wolfe’s body evokes, to my eye, the Dying Gaul displayed in Rome. Note that a musket lies at Wolfe’s feet instead of the sword and trumpet on the base of the Dying Gaul.

Dying Gaul © David Gill

Dying Gaul © David Gill

Detail on the base of the Dying Gaul © David Gill

Detail on the base of the Dying Gaul © David Gill

Dr John Disney and Essex

The Morant Lecture 2015

The Morant Lecture 2015

Dr John Disney is best known for the creation of the eponymous chair of archaeology at the University of Cambridge, and the donation of the ‘Disney Marbles’ displayed in the Fitzwilliam Museum. Professor David Gill gave the 2015 Morant Lecture on the theme of ‘Dr John Disney and Essex’ in Ingatestone parish church. The church contains the grave of Thomas Brand-Hollis who bequeathed The Hyde, near Inagatestone, along with its collection of classical sculptures, to Disney’s father, the Reverend John Disney. The Reverend Disney had been co-minister of the Unitarian Essex Chapel in London alongside his brother-in-law the Reverend Theophilus Lindsey. Brand-Hollis was one of the main supporters of the chapel.

The Reverend Disney’s brother, Lewis Disney-Ffytche, lived at Danbury Place near Maldon. His daughter Sophia married (Dr) John Disney, and her sister Frances married (Sir) William Hillary (best known for founding the RNLI).

Dr Disney was recorder of Bridport in Dorset, and on moving back to Essex after his father’s death, stood as MP for both Ipswich and Harwich. He served on the committee to bring the railway to Chelmsford and Colchester. As a member of the Chelmsford Philosophical Society he helped to establish the Chelmsford Museum. He was also a key figure in the establishment of the Colchester and Essex Archaeological Society.

In later years he was a member of the board of Le Nouveau Monde Mining Company that was involved with the California gold rush.

Slides for the lecture can be found here.

See also: