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Become an English Heritage Angel: First crowd-sourcing project announced to tackle heritage at risk.

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Blithfield px

Credit: English Heritage

English Heritage is looking for volunteers to carry out surveys of England’s 345,000 Grade II listed buildings as a first step in engaging the public in saving their local heritage at risk. This was announced at the recent launch of the Heritage at Risk Register 2013.

Nineteen pilot projects across the country, conducted successfully over the last year, show that there is a potential army of volunteers who are keen to protect their local heritage from the risk of neglect and decay; volunteers were able to carry out surveys of 5000 Grade II buildings, following a short training programme from English Heritage.

Describing the project as a win/win proposition, Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage said, “We will get, for the first time, a complete picture of the condition of all England’s listed heritage. We can then use this information to decide how best to deploy our national expertise to help owners and all those tacking heritage at risk on the ground.”

The Heritage at Risk 2013 survey describes not only buildings which are at risk, but the hundred English parks and gardens with their garden architecture which are under threat too. The list includes the 18th century Orangery at Blithfield Hall Staffordshire,  designed by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart– “a little piece of ancient Greece in the West Midlands” about to become a Greek tragedy. Other priority sites include Stowe Landscape Garden and Gunnersbury Park.

The Risk Register also reports on projects successfully completed or now under way – one of the latter is St Giles’ House, Registered Park and Garden, Dorset- a ground-breaking park design which influenced other landscapes such as Stourhead.

The first crowd-sourced surveys will be ready to recruit volunteers next autumn, so if you want to register your interest contact English Heritage Customer Services. You could help to save a historic building, garden or park and receive a coveted English Heritage Angel Award in the process.

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