Sunday, 19 April 2009

Simon Thurley

Heritage TV or a restoration comedy?
As English Heritage opens its doors to the camera crews, chief executive Simon Thurley defends his decision. Simon Thurley, the confident, energetic chief executive of English Heritage, may rue the day that he invited a documentary crew to poke around behind the scenes. His plan was to generate more sympathy for English Heritage in its nigh-impossible task of conserving the nation's ruins and historical sites. But his bright idea is in danger of turning into a public relations disaster.
The four-part series, which begins next week, focuses on some of English Heritage's biggest current projects: the £7 million purchase and restoration of Apethorpe Hall, James I's hunting lodge in Northamptonshire; the refurbishment of Park Hill, a modernist concrete housing estate/eyesore outside Sheffield; and the restoration of London's King's Cross station. Those projects all raise questions about whether English Heritage, in its nit-picky way, is spending, or forcing others to spend, money wisely – a subject close to the heart of many exasperated owners of historic houses.

I have linked to the story in the heading, if you want to read it all, as it was far too long to post in it's entirety.

This grabbed my attention because the subject of the first programme, airing on Friday, is where I lived when I was 18-20. Apethorpe Hall is the finest example of a Jacobean country house and, sadly, I was completely unaware of that and appreciated my surroundings not a jot! The authorities didn't appreciate what they had either, as it was being used as a young offenders rehabilitation centre at the time. My father taught bricklaying to the boys, which is how I came to live there, not, as you may have thought, as a member of the landed gentry! I often wish I could go back, and take more notice. Needless to say, I am very glad that it is now getting the attention it deserves, although I would prefer that English Heritage could hold on to it for everyone to enjoy, instead of hoping for a private sale.

I have been without the internet for a few very frustrating days, hence my absence. It was good in a way, because I made good progress with packing up the house. We have confirmation of moving day...Friday 24th April, which means I probably won't get to see this programme. Can't have everything.

Thanks for visiting.

1 comment:

Art with Liz said...

What a fantastic sketch and story Sharon. I'm blogging late again and have only just picked this up. When are you going to be on-line again? And where have you moved to?