The way we protect the physical legacy of our past – our heritage – is deeply rooted in Victorian philosophy and the early processes of the Welfare State. Despite many modifications over the last twenty years it must now be questioned whether the current system for safeguarding our heritage actually works. The things we now try to protect, such as modernist mega-structures, the fine-grained character of villages and the long views of great buildings in urban areas, were never conceived as tangible heritage by our forebears. The time has come to rethink why and how we protect our history – before we lose it.
These four lectures by Gresham Professor of the Built Environment, Dr. Simon Thurley who is the former Chief Executive of English Heritage and Historic England sets out the issues and proposes some solutions.