The national heritage and its conservation raise topical and frequently controversial issues.
Yet proper understanding of these has often been inhibited the lack of a readable historical account of the way in which current policy and practice have developed.
This authoritative book fills this gap in the lecture by providing an accessible and well-illustrated account of the history of the protection and appreciation of buildings, archaeological sites and other relics of the man-made past in Britain.
The book brings together a team of experts who examine each of the key themes and episodes in the development of historical preservation.
The role of pressure groups since the Victorian period is described, as are the origins of the listing of historic buildings, the scheduling of ancient monuments and the declaration of Conservation Areas.
Other chapters deal with changing attitudes to country houses and their growing popularity as tourist attractions, and with the rise of purpose-built heritage centres which cater for nostalgia about the rural and industrial past.
The book also includes an invaluable bibliographical essay which surveys existing literature on the subject.
Preserving the Past offers a thorough and long overdue description of the birth and growth of the preservation movement.
The book should become essential readings and reference for professionals, academics and students concerned with the conservation of landscapes, buildings and archaeological sites.
It should also find an audience among planners, architects and archaeologists who need a broad understanding of the background to historic preservation in order to confront the challenges and dilemmas that face everyone workingin the field today.