English Heritage

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English Heritage (officially the Historic Building and Monuments Commission for England).[1] is a non-departmental public body of the British Government with a broad remit of managing the historic built environment of England. It is currently sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Simon Thurley has been chief executive since 2002.

It was set up under the terms of the National Heritage Act 1983. Its functions for maintaining ancient monuments had previously been undertaken by part of the Department of the Environment which was the successor to the Ministry of Works. The 1983 Act also dissolved the bodies that had hitherto provided independent advice — the Ancient Monuments Board for England and the Historic Buildings Council for England and incorporated these functions in the new body. Another advisory body, the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) was not merged with English Heritage until 1 April 1999.[2]

English Heritage's best known role is as the steward of over 400 significant historical and archaeological sites, from Stonehenge to the world's earliest iron bridge. In 2007/08 5.3 million visits were paid to staffed English Heritage properties.[3] It also has major responsibilities in conservation, giving advice, registering and protecting the historic environment. It also maintains a public archive, the National Monuments Record (NMR).



By caring for the built environment, English Heritage complements the work of Natural England which aims to protect the natural environment. Both advise the relevant Secretary of State on policy and in individual cases such as registering Listed buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments in EH's case. English Heritage has direct ownership over some historic sites and also liaises with private owners of sites that are managed under guardianship arrangements.

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