April the First marks the official arrival of Historic England, the public body that will look after and champion England’s historic environment.
Already the new body has announced the results of new research which shows English people recognise and protect the nationally significant sites in their area. A growing number of people are visiting the National Heritage List for England to find out about them.
Historic England has also revealed that almost everyone in England now lives within a mile of a designated heritage asset – a building, monument, archaeological site, battlefield, park or garden that is listed for protection.
Designation is the act of officially identifying the most important parts of our heritage so they can receive special protection and be added to the National Heritage List for England. We celebrate their significance – and make sure that our history can be enjoyed by present and future generations.
A poll of more than 5,000 adults has revealed that English people care deeply for their heritage. Just under two fifths (38%) have taken action to protect a local building or place from damaging change, or from becoming derelict or disused. The results suggest a higher-than-expected willingness among the public to protect heritage around them.
Awareness is also high from a poll of more than 1,750 people, with almost half (46%) of English people saying they know of a historically significant building or place within a mile of where they live, and almost two thirds (64%) saying they are interested in their local heritage.
Sir Laurie Magnus, Historic England Chairman, said: “These results are fascinating. They show that people care deeply about our heritage and the importance of protecting our spectacular castles, country houses, monuments, memorials and ancient archaeological sites. They are also concerned about the fate of their local heritage and increasingly recognise the importance of places of worship, parks and gardens, historic industrial sites and maritime heritage.”