Several months ago English Heritage published a document on the principles of the protection of historical monuments, which for the first time defined the foundations for making decisions concerning the preservation of the historical substance in England. The first step in devising the document was to delineate six basic and most relevant principles: the historical substance is common property; everyone should be capable of taking part in the preservation of historical substance; it is extremely important to understand the meaning of historical sites; important sites must be administered in such a manner so as to preserve their value; decisions concerning changes must be sensible, lucid and consistent; it is essential to document such decisions and to draw from them conclusions for the future. The mentioned principles are effective only when we speak clearly about the sort of places we protect and the reasons for doing so. This is why the next part of our conservation principles pertains to the appreciation of the value of cultural heritage. Consequently, four types of value may be ascribed to a historical site: evidence, historical, aesthetic and social. The point of departure for all reflections on the fate of a historical site should be the type of values characteristic for it and the rank attached to it. The principles assist in defining why a certain place is protected and in protecting only its valuable features. We are interested in explaining and comprehending why certain steps are permitted and others not. Each protected site possesses a so-called certificate containing its description. The problem lies in the fact that the certificate does not mention the actual historical value of the given site. It is impossible to learn whether a monument is, for example, of high historical value or low value as evidence. We are thus compelled to make certain that the certificates are written in a language based on an analysis of values, which will make it known to what extent - if at all - a certain monument may be adapted. In our opinion, the document in question will alter the situation enormously and facilitate understanding our undertakings.
dr, historyk architektury, jest absolwentem Courtauld Institute of Art na Uniwersytecie Londyńskim. Swoją rozprawę doktorską poświęcił angielskim pałacom królewskim z lat 1450 -1550. Od 2002 r. jest dyrektorem English Heritage. Wcześniej pełnił funkcję dyrektora Musem of London. Występuje jako ekspert w audycjach radiowych i programach telewizyjnych poruszających tematykę ochrony brytyjskiego dziedzictwa kulturowego
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