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Between 1900 and 1950 the British state amassed a huge collection of over 800 historic buildings, monuments, and sites and opened them to the public. This engaging book explains why the extraordinary collecting frenzy took place, locating it in the fragile and nostalgic atmosphere of the interwar years, dominated by neo-romanticism and cultural protectionism. The government's activities were mirrored by the establishment of dozens of voluntary bodies, including the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and the National Trust. Men from the Ministry sets all this activity, for the first time, in its political, economic and cultural contexts, painting a picture of a country traumatized by war, fearful of losing what was left of its history, and a government that actively set out to protect them. It dissects a government program that established a modern state on deep historical and rural roots.
This history of heritage mourns the loss of disregarded and demolished buildings and celebrates those pioneers who came to value and preserve our national treasures. The Ancient Monuments Department was the first official overseer of the nation’s heritage, adding Government power to various local societies. Now such preservation work is undertaken by larger organisations such as English Heritage and the National Trust. Stonehenge, for example, had been a tourist site since the Middle Ages, suffering from generations of day-trippers carving names and chipping out souvenirs. In 1918 the Government took charge and Stonehenge saved from destruction and gradually restored.
|Publication date:||2nd September 2014|
|Publisher:||Yale University Press|
|Format:||Paperback / softback|
|Categories:||Conservation, restoration & care of artworks, Art: financial aspects, History of architecture, Museology & heritage studies,|
Simon Thurley is the Chief Executive of English Heritage. He was formerly the Director of the Museum of London, and the Curator of Historic Royal Palaces.More About Simon Thurley