You cannot travel for long in this historic nation without noticing one of the most character filled and attractive facets of our society, a traditional centrepiece of British culture that has been ingrained in our collective identity for more than 1500 years. Resplendent church spires, tortured gargoyles, mountainous towers, and striking stained glass windows form the component parts of arguably the most impressive section of English Heritage’s portfolio; the churches, chapels, synagogues and meeting places that still to this day constitute Britain’s diverse religious architecture.
Of course, the money needed to sustain, preserve and repair these buildings amounts to an extremely significant sum; significant chiefly to the congregations that work so hard to raise an impressive 66% of the necessary £110 million a year, to the benefit of society as a whole. Huge amounts of credit must go to the fundraisers and the trustees who work and give all they can for a wonderful cause.
It is estimated that roughly 90% of England’s wonderful legacy of 14,500 listed religious buildings, of varying types, is in a good or fair condition; in itself glowing evidence as to the effectiveness of the teams of dedicated restorers operating up and down the country. Nevertheless, 10% still require serious levels of care and attention and projects up and down the nation are ongoing to further reduce this figure.
Regardless of this workload, the list doesn’t end there. All listed buildings, be they monuments, archaeological remains, parks, gardens and landscapes, conservation areas, battlefields and even shipwrecks, need the protection and devotion of like minded groups of people to maintain them and to ensure that they stay open and preserved for future generations to enjoy. It is indeed fortunate that such groups exist up and down the nation.
Their hard work and perseverance has led the Telegraph, with the support of Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber, to take action, making sure that these “heritage heroes” are suitably appreciated for their role in preserving Britain’s diverse structural history.
For this reason, the conception of a new scheme was announced, ‘The English Heritage Angel Awards’, to celebrate the people behind the best heritage rescues in the country. Anyone who has worked on buildings or a historic site that is, or is eligible to be, on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register (www.english-heritage.org.uk) can apply.
A managing surveyor of the Property Surveying network commented:
“As a group of likeminded Chartered Surveyors with an inherent appreciation for Britain’s marvellous architecture, the Property Surveying network puts its weight fully behind these awards. Every effort should be made to appreciate those who give their time and money to preserve the buildings and landmarks that form Britain’s memorable landscapes.
20th June 2011