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Head of Zeus
Heritage: A History of How We Conserve Our Past by James Stourton

What is heritage? When was it invented? What is its place in the world today? What is its place tomorrow?

Heritage is all around us: millions belong to its organisations, tens of thousands volunteer for it, and politicians pay lip service to it. When the Victorians began to employ the term in something approaching the modern sense, they applied it to cathedrals, castles, villages and certain landscapes. Since then a multiplicity of heritage labels have arisen, cultural and commercial, tangible and intangible – for just as every era has its notion of heritage, so does every social group, and every generation.

In Heritage, James Stourton focuses on elements of our cultural and natural environment that have been deliberately preserved: the British countryside and national parks, buildings such as Blenheim Palace and Tattersall Castle, and the works of art inside them. He charts two heroic periods of conservation – the 1880s and the 1960s – and considers whether threats of wealth, rampant development and complacency are similar in the present day. Heritage is both a story of crisis and profound change in public perception, and one of hope and regeneration.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Reference
09 Nov 2023 * 496pp * £14.99 * 9781838933173
'Compelling and thought-provoking, this book not only explores how Britain's rich and diverse heritage has been conserved (and in some cases destroyed) in the past, but offers a ray of hope for its future'
Tracy Borman
'[A] huge, energetic and tightly written tome on the two-and-half-century history of conservation battles in our homeland... A masterful, dynamic and extremely readable survey of one the major issues of our times. Or all times'
Literary Review
'It not only covers the conservation and protection of our buildings and landscapes, but also the wider cultural aspects'
This England
'James Stourton is a masterly observer... His account of the wards of heritage preservation is gripping'
Country Life
'Stourton writes with elegance... Intelligent and well-researched book'
James Stourton
James Stourton
James Stourton is a senior fellow of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. He is a prize-winning author of several books on cultural and architectural subjects. He sat for ten years on the Heritage Memorial Fund panel and the Acceptance in Lieu panel, and is a former chairman of Sotheby's UK.
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