The ALVA figures for 2020 have shown the impact of the pandemic on museum visitors through the figures for the University of Cambridge Museums. The total number of visitors has dropped from 1.3 million in 2019 to 471,408 in 2020. However if you remove the Cambridge University Botanic Garden from the figures this leaves 277,918 visitors to all the other locations.
The ALVA figures for 2020 have been released. I have chosen the top 10 locations for the National Trust for Scotland where there is easily accessible data for 2019. I have not included Corrieshalloch Gorge (56,060), Ben Lomond (54,266), or Balmacara Estate & Lochalsh Woodland Garden (45,957). These 10 sites attracted 934,938 in 2020, down from 2.1 million in 2019.
Using the Top 10 sites for 2019, the fall is from 2.1 million to 888,159 in 2020.
The figures reflect how landscapes and gardens have been used to allow the public to re-engage with heritage sites and locations.
My new biography of Dr John Disney, founder of the John Disney Chair of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and benefactor of the Disney Marbles now displayed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, has been published by Archaeopress.
The family’s origins lay at Norton Disney in Lincolnshire where they had settled after the Norman conquest. Disney’s father, the Reverend John Disney, inherited The Hyde near Ingatestone in Essex from Thomas Brand-Hollis. The house contained the Grand Tour collection formed by Brand-Hollis and Thomas Hollis. The Reverend John Disney had met Brand-Hollis through the Unitarian Essex Street Chapel in London where he had ministered after leaving the Church of England.
John Disney inherited The Hyde from his father and presented much of the collection to the University of Cambridge. The objects were described in his Museum Disneianum. Some of the items can be traced back to his wife, Sophia, or uncle (and father-in-law), Lewis Disney-Ffytche, during their time in Naples after they had been forced to flee Paris during the Revolution. Disney-Ffytche had been the owner of Le Désert de Retz, the pleasure gardens near Paris.
Disney himself helped to establish a new museum in Chelmsford through the Chelmsford Philosophical Society. He was a key member of the Essex Archaeological Society.
1. The Disney family of Lincolnshire
2. The Break with the Church of England
3. Collectors of the Grand Tour: Thomas Hollis and Thomas Brand
4. The Disney family and Essex
5. The Hyde and its collection
6. Disney and Learned Societies
7. The Museum Disneianum and Cambridge
8. Going for Gold
9. The Disney legacy
The World of Disney: From Antiquarianism to Archaeology (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2020). ISBN 9781789698275.
Journal Summary: The Journal of Architectural Conservation provides invaluable guidance on policy, practice and technical developments. Encouraging debate on a broad variety of conservation issues, this peer-reviewed Journal with its high academic and professional standards fulfils its ambition to illuminate, question and inform. The journal’s scope is wide-ranging and includes discussion on aesthetics and philosophies; historical influences; project evaluation and control; repair techniques; materials; reuse of buildings; legal issues; inspection, recording and monitoring; management and interpretation; and historic parks and gardens. Journal of Architectural Conservation also offers a valuable resource that includes information on building types; building materials and their conservation; recent case studies; developments in specific construction techniques; and research results from key investigations.
Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed
I noticed a sign on the garden gate at National Trust Mottistone: it appears to be a standard Ministry of Works sign. It needs to be remembered that the Royal Label Factory produced signs for both the Ministry and the National Trust.
For other Ministry ‘private’ signs:
A 16th century bridge provided access from the inner court to the garden on the other side of the ditch in the outer bailey. The bridge was constructed from stone and brick.
Access was adjacent to Tower 7.
Dirleton Castle is set in landscaped grounds. Visitors are invited to keep off the banks, and to use the paths and stairways to visit the remains. This avoids unsightly tracks appearing on the slopes.
The gardens at Dirleton are a delight. In the corner of the 1860s and 1920s garden is a gazebo, suitably signed.
Dirleton is in the care of Historic Scotland.
Spring has arrived at NT Ickworth. New-born lambs abound, and there are stunning lines of tulips in the walled garden, and swathes of daffodils in front of the rotunda. The woodpeckers were active and added to the atmosphere.
Earlier this week the ‘Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership’ was launched. Heritage Futures will be taking an active role in the interpretation of the abbey ruins at Bury St Edmunds. The partnership is led by St Edmundsbury Cathedral and St Edmundsbury Borough Council. The 12 partner organisations include Suffolk County Council, Historic England, English Heritage, the Bury Society, UEA (CEAS), and the University of Suffolk.
The Reverend Canon Matthew Vernon, chairman of the partnership, said: “The new Heritage Partnership aims to deepen public understanding of the life and times of St Edmund and the Medieval Abbey and to encourage people to experience the spiritual, historical and archaeological significance of the Abbey of St Edmund in the modern world.
“The launch of the Heritage Partnership today marks the culmination of a year’s careful preparation by the Cathedral, the Borough Council and a growing number of partners.
“I am delighted to announce that we have just been awarded a Heritage at Risk Project Development Grant of £40,000 by Historic England to help us carry out some essential heritage research and conservation planning for the future.”
In addition, St Edmundsbury Borough Council has awarded the partnership £10,000.
- “Launch of the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership”, West Suffolk (13 September 2016) [press release]
- Matt Reason, “Future of Bury St Edmunds Abbey Ruins to be preserved as group given £40,000 ‘heritage at risk’ grant by Historic England“, East Anglian Daily Times 14 September 2016