Dunstanburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast was placed in State Guardianship in 1929. Construction had started in 1313. The first official guide was published in 1936 with the section on the history of the castle by C.H. Hunter Blair, and the description by H.L. Honeyman. The cover carries the arms of Thomas, second Earl of Lancaster (1277–1322). There is a foldout plan inside the back cover. The guide continued into the 1970s.
A colour illustrated guide was prepared by Henry Summerson (1993). The main section is dedicated to a tour of the castle, and there is a helpful bird’s-eye view to help to orientate the visitor. There is a short section with biographical notes on Thomas of Lancaster and John of Gaunt.
Alastair Oswald and Jeremy Ashbee prepared the English Heritage red guide (2007). This contains a bird’s-eye view and a plan of the castle on the fold-out card cover. The tour contains helpful thumbnail plans to help the visitor located their position. There is a section on Dunstanburgh and coastal defence during World War 2.
A.R. Birley prepared ‘an illustrated guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall in 1963. This supplemented the guides to individual forts on the wall (Chesters, Housesteads) as well as the Stanegate (Corbridge). (See now the English Heritage guide to Birdoswald.) A foldout plan inside the card cover showed key locations between Wallsend and Bowness. There are some excellent reconstructions by Alan Sorrell (including one with an overlay to show the inside of the bath-house).
There was a fold-out MPBW guide to the Wall in 1970.
David J. Breeze prepared the Souvenir Guide to the Roman Wall, which is described inside the cover ass ‘The greatest monument to the Roman occupation of Britain’. Breeze has also prepared the Handbookto the Roman Wall. The guide includes South Shields and Vindolanda, as well as the Roman fort at Maryport on the Cumbrian coast.
The souvenir guide was replaced by Breeze’s ‘Red Guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall. The tour goes from west to east and includes non English Heritage sites such as Maryport, Vindolanda, Wallsend and South Shields.
These covers show the development from the first official guidebook (St Botolph’s) issued by the Office of Works through to English Heritage. These guides range from small booklets to concertina card guides.
For the development of guides in Scotland see here.
Tintern Abbey was transferred to the Office of Works in 1914. The guidebook was prepared by the architect Sir Harold Brakspear (1934). Brakspear had helped to plan the ruins after they were purchased by the Crown in 1901, and before they were conserved.
A replacement ‘blue guide’ was prepared by O.E. Craster in 1956. This took the standard pattern of history followed by description. A plan of the abbey was placed in the centre pages.
Craster’s guide continued to be published into the 1970s. This included some elements in Welsh: Abaty Tyndyrn (on the title page, but not on the cover), and a short summary of just over one page at the beginning.
The centre page plan was placed on a fold-out plan inside the back cover. The glossary was expanded to include: ashlar, barrel vault, conversi, garth, jamb, lay brother, lintel, mullion, novice, papal bull, plinth, pulpitum, quire, refectory, screen, vestment and vestry. It also dropped: aisle, bay, boss, capital, crossing, floriated, sexfoil.
Craster also prepared the illustrated souvenir guide (1960; 2nd ed. 1964). It included historical background; a tour of the abbey; the first tourists. The tour is numbered on the plan.
The tour in the souvenir guide in effect turns into the card guide that continued to be published under Cadw.
The Cadw guidebook was prepared by David M. Robinson. This includes a history of the abbey, a section on building the abbey, and a tour of the abbey. A foldout plan (in colour) is printed inside the back (card) cover.
Old Soar Manor in Kent was acquired by the National Trust (1947) and subsequently placed in State Guardianship (1948). Margaret Wood prepared the paper guidebook in 1950 and it continued in print until the 1970s. The guide has a short history and a longer description. A floor plan of the house in c. 1290 is included.
Note the entry: ‘A National Trust property in the guardianship of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works’.
The first edition of the guide to Stirling Castle was published in 1936: the description by J.S. Richardson, and the history by Margaret E. Root. A second edition appeared in 1948, and it continued as a ‘blue guide’ into the 1970s (note the move from guide-book to guide).
A fold-out plan was placed inside the back cover.
The cover of the Richardson and Root guide is ‘a drawing of a portrait medallion representing James V, one of a set of wood panels originally in the ceiling of the King’s Presence Chamber’. The heads were the subject of a monograph published by the Royal Commission in 1960. A booklet was issued by the Royal Commission in 1975, with the text by John G. Dunbar.
The Historic Scotland guide by Richard Fawcett was published in 1999. This consisted of a guide tour followed by the story (not history) of the castle.
Two late Iron Age village communities in Penwith are in the care of English Heritage. Chysauster was paced in State Guardianship in 1931, and Carn Euny was purchased in 1957.
The first paper guidebook was Chysauster was prepared by P.K. Baillie Reynolds in 1960. There is a short history (including recent investigations) followed by a house by house description. There is a plan on the centre pages.
The DOE produced a short card guide to the site in 1971. This provides a tour of the houses: “Ask the custodian to point out the path uphill to House 6 …”.
Patricia M.L. Christie, who excavated at Carn Euny, produced the English Heritage guide to Chysauster (1987). This has an introductory section on the site, history, the field system, dating, and environment and economy. Most of the guide consists of a description and a tour of the houses. Christie also prepared a separate guide to Carn Euny (1983).
Christie’s two separate guides were combined in 1993, with a second edition, using colour images, in 1997; it continued to be printed in 2000.
English Heritage has now produced a combined guide by Susan Greaney (2017). This contains two separate tours of the villages, followed by a combined history. There are seven special features including the use of the sites by Methodist preachers, Plans of both sites appear inside the foldout back cover.
This monolith stands at about the highest point to the south-west of Wadebridge in Cornwall. It was re-erected in 1956 and placed in State Guardianship in 1965 when it was provided with an MPBW sign (now replaced). Note that the original name was longstone rather than monolith.
Note that the stone is now dated from the Late Neolithic to the mid-Bronze Age, i.e. c. 2500–1500 BC; this contrasts with the view in the 1960s as used on the sign, 1800–600 BC.
The site is now managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.