Heritage: a manifesto for the head and the heart

As we approach the election, manifestos are rife. The heritage sector doesn’t usually get much of a look-in at such times, when the NHS, education and immigration are consistently at the top of the list for political parties.

But The Heritage Alliance (THA) Manifesto (1) makes a strong case for giving more attention to ‘the power of heritage’.  The THA is England’s biggest coalition of heritage interests which brings together independent heritage organisations such as the National Trust down to smaller bodies such as the Norfolk Archaeological Trust.

The Manifesto points out that heritage is one of our greatest national assets: ‘It defines our towns, cities and countryside, encouraging inbound tourism and uniting communities. It tells our stories as a nation, supporting social cohesion, rootedness and identity’ – an aspect of heritage which is very evident in the current Imagined Land project at Tasburgh where local people are relishing the opportunity to explore the history of the earthworks at the heart of their village and celebrate their community, past and present.

Heritage is important for the head as well as the heart. The THA Manifesto points out that England’s heritage industry directly generates at least £10 billion in gross value added (GVA) and indirectly generates 2% of national GVA (£21.7 billion). This is more than the agriculture and aerospace sectors combined. Heritage is the backdrop to our successful TV export creative industry, worth £22billion. And nearly four times more people visited heritage attractions in 2016 than attended league and championship football matches – generating jobs and supporting businesses.

The THA is calling on all political parties to:

  • Maximise the advantages, and minimise the disadvantages, of Brexit for heritage
  • Maintain and improve the protection for heritage;
  • Attract more investment and engagement in heritage, and build sector skills and capacity;
  • Effect positive fiscal change for heritage;
  • Continue to back Lottery funding for heritage

 All of these issues have direct relevance to the way the Trust will operate in the future – particularly the potential impacts of Brexit, maintenance of Heritage Lottery funding, and availability of sector skills.

95% of adults agree that it is important to them that heritage buildings and places are well looked after. Let’s hope that whichever party wins the election on June 8th, they will represent this 95%.


(1) http://www.theheritagealliance.org.uk/tha-website/wp-content/uploads/201...

News in brief

Imagined Land events:

  • Saturday 10th June 2017 10.00 - 4.00pm - Tasburgh Sharing Day Tasburgh Village Hall: Talks and discussions on the resarch so far, including the geophysical survey, with a walk around the earthworks led by Dave Bescoby who carried out the survey; the finds from the test pits, the research group's work and some first try-outs for the creative work too. ALL ARE WELCOME

Keep up to date on the project website at https://sites.google.com/site/imaginedlandprojectnorfolk where you can find lots of information and images about the test pits programme so far, provided by Giles Emery, Norvic Archaeology;

or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/imaginedland/

You may also be interested in another current project led by Imagined Land Project Manager, Simon Floyd:

  • Friday June 30th 7.30pm Heigham Park, Recreation Road, Norwich: Come Yew In! a free outdoor variety show to be staged around the Norwich’s open spaces in June/July which celebrates the contribution that incomers have made to our city. First performance on June 30th . Details and other dates and venues, including the Whiffler Theatre, can be found at http://www.thecommonlot.org/cyi

Summer guided tours at St Benet’s Abbey and Burgh Castle Roman Fort

  • The Friends of St Benet’s Abbey run guided tours from May until the end of September, Saturday & Sunday 3pm, Wednesday 2pm; starting at the Abbey Gatehouse/Mill on site. No need to book.
  • NAT volunteers will be running regular guided tours at Burgh Castle Roman Fort for the first time this year. Tours throughout June, July and August, 2.30 pm on Sundays (apart from June 25th - see below), weather permitting. No need to book: meet your volunteer guide at the interpretation shelter next to the main car park
  • Sunday June 25th Noon – 5.00pm Burgh Castle Fun Day Specially organised guided tours led by Norfolk Archaeological Trust volunteers at 1100; 1115; 1130 and 1145 from the shelter next to the fort car park. More details on the Fun Day: download poster
  • June 2017: The Wildlife Trusts’ 30DaysWild campaign. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust wants as many people as possible to sign up via the web link and then for 30 days in June do something every day to connect with nature. If you haven’t heard about the campaign yet it’s not too late to register - more information at https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/discover-and-learn/30-days-wild
  • Sunday 6th August. TFOSBA Boat trip to Bishops’ Service at St Benet’s Abbey: Book this year’s riverboat trip to St Benet’s Abbey for the open-air service led by the Bishop of Norwich. Boarding will be from Swan Green Horning at 1.15pm. Tickets: £10.00. Email tfosba@gmail.com to request tickets and more details.
  • Saturday, 12th August 2.00 p.m. The Painted Churches Tour. Starts at South Burlingham (near to Acle, south of the A47) then to Moulton St Mary and Wickhampton. More information: download leaflet