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A wide-ranging and well-researched account
on 26 July 2013
A wide-ranging and well-researched (if occasionally over-detailed) account of how and why the British state has, since 1900, acquired a huge collection of more than 800 historic buildings, monuments and historic sites. The governments of the time were intent on protecting the nation's built heritage ("Heritage is the rock out of which the nation's children will be hewn", said the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin), and its activities were mirrored by the establishment of dozens of voluntary bodies such as the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and the National Trust (which eventually became the official body for the continued collection of the nation's heritage). "The system in place now is not perfect [and] may not be sustainable," concludes the author Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, "but up until now, at least, it has done a stunning job."