Historic Kent: The Value of the County’s Heritage Sector

2022

The report builds on the data brought together in the RSA Heritage Index (2020). It identifies four key heritage themes in Kent: coastal heritage; Christian heritage; historic houses; and natural heritage and historic landscapes. These themes embrace elements such as the Roman forts of the Saxon Shore; Dover Castle; the artillery forts of Henry VIII; coastal resorts; the UNESCO World Heritage site of Canterbury; the cathedral city of Rochester; historic houses including Knole and Chartwell; and the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Three case studies relating to local authorities are presented: Canterbury, Dover, and Folkestone and Hythe. These show how each of the areas has been able to use its heritage assets to develop its tourism economy, and to attract significant funding from the NLHF.

A summary of the key themes of heritage strategies from local authorities across Kent is provided to indicate how local heritage assets are perceived as part of their local communities.

A consideration of the social benefits of heritage includes a reflection on the UK Government’s Levelling-Up agenda and its interaction with the heritage sector.

The economic benefits of heritage are underlined by the scale of NLHF awards made to projects in Kent, as well as the value of tourism, in part driven by heritage attractions and assets. Heritage projects in Kent were awarded over £79 million in grants from NLHF from 2013 to 2020. The largest amounts were for £13.7 million for the Canterbury Journey awarded to Canterbury Cathedral, £4.8 million for Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, £4.6 million for the Maison Dieu in Dover, £4.6 million for the Sheerness Dockyard Church project, and £3.4 million for Chartwell.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major fall in income from tourism for the county from £4.1 billion in 2019 to £1.6 billion in 2020. This included a fall of 61 per cent on day trips, and 60 per cent on overnight trips. This had an impact on employment in the tourism sector accounting for a drop of 39 per cent to 50,026 individuals. The fall in income due to the pandemic is particularly noticeable for Canterbury with a loss of over £300 million, while Medway and Thanet both saw losses over around £200 million.

The report reflects on the challenges facing heritage in Kent. In particular, it considers the way that the public have been engaging with built heritage, museums, and archives. Solutions include integrating the historic built environment with related objects and documents that can be found in museums and archives within the county.

The report is available from KAR [https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent%2F01.02.95708].

The Value of Heritage and the RSA

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The gatehouse to the Abbey, Bury St Edmunds © David Gill

The importance of heritage to Suffolk will be the focus of the Second Coffeehouse event in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday 9 February 2017 at the Deanery.

Further details and booking can be found here. The meeting is open to Fellows and non-Fellows.

Overseas visitors, heritage and the UK economy

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Durham Cathedral © David Gill

HLF has published a report that demonstrates that overseas visitors to heritage attractions in the UK spent £7.4 billion (“UK PLC: New figures reveal overseas visitors to heritage are driving the UK’s tourism economy“, 24 October 2016). UK domestic overnight visitors spent £4.7 billion, and UK day trips were worth £5.3 billion. Heritage tourism is now worth £2.1 billion to the economy of Scotland.

The information is published in Economic impact of UK heritage tourism economy (2016).

An increase in tourism is likely to be one of the impacts of Brexit making heritage an even greater contributor to the UK economy.

Suffolk Heritage Strategy

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The Suffolk Heritage Strategy has been developed ‘to preserve, protect and enhance Suffolk’s heritage for the enjoyment of future generations whilst maximising its impact and celebrating its wider contributions to education, economic development, health and well-being, helping to create a strong sense of place, pride and belonging’.

It contains three priorities:

  1. Identity, Economy, and Tourism
  2. Community Engagement and Learning
  3. Heritage Protection and Enhancement

Professors Baxter and Gill contributed to the strategy through the Strategic Heritage Forum.

The full document can be found here.

Heritage Tourism and Suffolk

The Saxon Shore: Heritage Tourism and Suffolk
The Saxon Shore: Heritage Tourism and Suffolk

My paper on ‘Heritage Tourism and Suffolk’ explored the potential of creating a narrative looking at the transformation of Late Roman Suffolk to the East Anglian kingdom. Suffolk has the internationally significant ship burial site of Sutton Hoo, the newly explored vicus regius at Rendlesham, the reconstructed Anglo-Saxon village at West Stow (‘England’s oldest village’), and the harbour settlement of Ipswich (‘England’s oldest English-speaking town’).

The slides for the presentation are available here.

C.A. Ralegh Radford: guidebooks

Tretower Castle (1965)
Tretower Castle (1965)

Two areas of research have been coming together. The first is my biography of Dr Winifred Lamb, Honorary Keeper at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. The second is a study on the development of guidebooks in England and Wales. These two areas merge as a young Ralegh Radford was taken round north-western Greece in the hunt for a suitable prehistoric site to excavate. They both joined William Heurtley’s excavation at Saratse in Macedonia.Radford also assisted (Sir) Charles Reed Peers with the publications of the excavations at Whitby Abbey.

In 1929 Radford was appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Wales and Monmouthsire. His first guide was for Grosmont Castle (1930) (and now part of Jeremy K. Knight’s very useful CADW guide to The Three Castles: Grosmont Castle, Skenfrith Castle, White Castle [1991]). Radford then worked with Wilfrid James Hemp on the guidebook for Denbigh Castle (1932) in North Wales. Hemp had been appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Wales in the Ministry of Public Works and Secretary to the Board of Ancient Monuments in 1913 (Dictionary of Welsh Biography). He had become Secretary to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire in 1928.

Radford then prepared the guide for Goodrich Castle (1933), just over the border into England. He was then responsible for a series of guides in Wales: Ogmore Castle (1933), White Castle (1934), Dolwyddelan Castle (1934) and Kidwelly Castle (1935); Cymmer (Cymer) Abbey (1934), St David’s Bishop’s Palace (1934) and Strata Florida (1936). He also prepared the National Trust guidebook for the Roman Site at Segontium (1936).

His work in Wales was interrupted with guidebooks for three castles in south-west England, all appearing in 1935: Tintagel Castle (1935), Restormel Castle (1935), and Lydford Castle (1935).

In 1936 he was appointed Director of the British School at Rome.

Radford prepared one further guide in Wales: Tretower Court (1938).

After war service he prepared a series of guides:

  • in Wales: Coity Castle (1946); Llawhaden Castle (1947); The Bishop’s Palace at Lamphey (1948); Dolbadarn Castle (1948); Skenfrith Castle (1949); Margam Stones Museum (1949); Ewenny Abbey (1952); Pillar of Eliseg (1953) leaflet; St Dogmael’s Abbey (1962); Valle Crucis Abbey (1967)
  • in England: The Tribunal, Glastonbury (1953); The Sandbach Crosses (1956); Acton Burnell Castle, Shropshire (1957); Dover Castle (1959)
  • in Scotland: Whithorn and Kirkmadrine (1953) [with Gordon Donaldston] (replacing the earlier 1928 guide); Crossraguel Abbey (1970; 1988); Glasgow Cathedral (1970)

This list of over 30 guidebooks and leaflets to many of the key medieval castles and monastic sites in England, Wales, and Scotland is but a tip of Radford’s contribution to the interpretation of British built heritage. Perhaps of note are his studies on inscribed stones: Margam (1949), Pillar of Eliseg (1953), Kirkmadine (1953), and The Sandbach Crosses (1956).

Heritage Seminar: Tim Schadla-Hall, “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

Schadla-Hall
Tim Schadla-Hall (UCL)

The next UCS Heritage Seminar will be led by Tim Schadla-Hall of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. His topic is: “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

The discourse frequently presented in academia about the value and use of archaeology in the 21st century still fails to recognise that archaeology is neither neutral nor outside the “real world.” The need to both recognise this and be aware of the need to understand and promulgate aspects of public rather than professional interest forms the core of this presentation which will use various examples to illustrate the point.

Tim Schadla Hall spent a limited period teaching, followed by a career in field archaeology, before working in museums from Hampshire to Leicestershire via Hull. He is now Reader in Public Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL where he lectures on Public Archaeology, Museum Management, and other aspects of archaeology. His interests are in the early Mesolithic in NW Europe, as well as the Mesolithic in general; he also researches the archaeology of standing buildings and their landscapes. Amongst his particular interests are ‘ authenticity’, the media and alternative archaeology. He is working on various aspects of heritage law and repatriation of archaeological material, as well as the economics of archaeology. He is particularly interested in public participation in archaeology and also governmental policy development for the past.

Location: Ipswich, Waterfront Building W210

Date: Wednesday 3 December 2014

Time: 4.30 pm (to 6.00 pm)

Further information: Professor David Gill

Culture Matters to the UK PLC

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Cultures Matters Conference 2012 © David Gill

The Culture Matters conference in Norwich has made a vital statement. It was reported today, “… the UK’s rich heritage helped bring in £114 billion of visitor economy and supported more jobs than the car, film or advertising industries” (Kate Scotter, “Norwich’s unique character is worth millions of pounds to local economy“, Eastern Daily Press 15 November 2012). The Westminster Government, as well as devolved governments across the UK, need to acknowledge the unique and significant contribution that is made by the heritage sector to the UK economy. This was the clear message emerging from the International Cultural Heritage Conference meeting in Norwich.

Norfolk as a county recognises the benefits: “heritage tourism is worth £2.4b to the local economy and supports 35,000 jobs”. 

 

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