ENGLAND'S PALACES AND PIGEON LOFTS GO INTO CYBERSPACE
Millennium Festival project wins UKP3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant
The historic listed buildings of England, from palaces to pigeon lofts, are
to be posted into cyberspace by the National Monuments Record with the
creation of one of the world's largest, free, on-line picture libraries by
the year 2002.
Heritage secretary Chris Smith announced today (22 February, 1999) that the
four year project 'Images of England' is to become a reality thanks to a
UKP3.09 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, part of the
Millennium Festival Fund.
Starting in August this year, volunteer photographers from The Royal
Photographic Society will comb the country to capture 360,000 'defining
images' of England's listed buildings for the 'Images of England' project.
The aim is to create a 'point in time' record of England's rich and varied
built heritage - as it is at the dawn of the new millennium - and post it
on the internet for all to see, free of charge. Both the photography and
the library are expected to be completed in 2002.
The rich diversity of England's historic buildings is set to be revealed by
the 'Images of England' website, where castles, churches, palaces and
country houses will jostle for attention with tower blocks, textile
factories, lamp posts and horse troughs. Among England's more unusual
listed sites are 52 garden sheds, 35 ponds, 499 pigsties, 277 lavatories,
2,221 telephone boxes, eight skating rinks and one racing pigeon loft.
When complete, the database of quality images is expected to whet the
appetites of children, amateur historians and professionals alike by
providing, for the first time, a single route of access to images and
information about every one of England's listed sites. The aim of the
National Monuments Record, which is running the project, is to make this
information as widely available as possible.
Says Nigel Clubb, director of The National Monuments Record, "Images of
England is about the future, not just preserving the past. We've harnessed
the latest technology to bring together an extraordinary photographic
record in a format which is accessible to all. People living in all parts
of the country will be able to visit new places and appreciate the richness
and variety of their heritage, irrespective of physical ability, finance or
The free internet site will link photographic images to computerised text
and indexes in a way that favours the non-expert user. As well as enabling
members of the public to explore their local and national heritage, the
electronic picture library will provide conservation professionals with the
first, comprehensive visual record of England's built heritage. The large
amounts of data will enable new and more thorough comparative and thematic
Those without an internet facility will be able to gain free access to the
'Images of England' database, when complete, at the National Monuments
Record Centre in Swindon or the organisation's London offices. Extracts
will also be available to buy on CD Rom or as hard copy.
The practice of listing buildings has been in existence since 1948, when
the importance of preservation was realised after years of wartime
destruction. Since then buildings of local and national historic importance
have been listed to protect and preserve them for future generations. In
1998 alone, 1,459 buildings were newly listed by the Government's
Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
`Images of England' is managed by the National Monuments Record, which
becomes part of English Heritage from 1 April, 1999. The project was
created by the RCHME (Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of
England). As well as funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, 'Images of
England' has received financial backing from English Heritage, all in
partnership with The Royal Photographic Society.
Note to editors: Photography will only take place from public land,
creating one defining image of the exterior of each structure. Owners or
tenants of listed buildings, or photographers interested in taking part,
can obtain more information by telephoning 01793 414795.
There will be updates on the project website or you can contact Images of
England press office on 01793 414779.
For The Heritage Lottery Fund contact Rebecca Osbourne, Zena Howard or
Tamsin Gregory on 0171 591 6032/3/5.
For The Royal Photographic Society contact Charlotte Eager or Joyce Jenkins
on 01225 462841
Dr Michael Heyworth Council for British Archaeology
Bowes Morrell House, 111 Walmgate, York YO1 9WA, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1904 671417 Fax: +44 (0)1904 671384