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Future UK approach to WHS

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Author Durian
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#91 | Posted: 24 Jan 2014 07:55 | Edited by: Durian 
Just curious, what will happen to the Forth Rail nomination if Scotland become independence after referendum? As the nomination is made under the name of UK, will the nomination still be valid? and do Scotland have to wait until they become UN and UNESCO member and sign WH convention?

Author Solivagant
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#92 | Posted: 24 Jan 2014 09:58 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Scotland wouldn't become independent immediately following a "Yes" vote. The current UK would continue whilst negotiations took place on the exact arrangements for the split. The SNP has set a target for Independence around 18 months after the referendum as follows
"The Scottish Government proposes that Scotland's Independence Day will be on 24 March 2016. That will ensure that the elections scheduled for 5 May 2016 will be the first elections to an independent parliament."
Whilst the UK governement would have a degree of commitment to assisting a date which had been supported in a democratic election the whole issue of International negotiations is a very different matter.
For instance Lawyers are currently arguing over whther Scotland would have to join the EU separately - if they did then they would have to join the Euro as all "new" members of thee EU do ....... etc etc

UNESCO has handled the split of countries before of course and in some cases Inscriptions stayed in limbo for a while before the "new" country acceded to the Convention

Author Solivagant
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#93 | Posted: 6 Nov 2014 14:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Bath and "Great Spas of Europe"
I have had a response to an inquiry I made about Bath's involvement in this. A few of the comments might be of interest
a. UNESCO asked for a proper "Global comparison analysis" of Spas be made when the Czech Republic first suggested inscribing its spas
b. Baden Baden hosted a conference in 2010 of interested towns. Bath argued for the extension beyond the original "19th Century" bounds
c. Bath got itself added to the UK T List only after being "robustly challenged" about it by the Dept of Culture. As we know, the required form to get Bath on the T List was successfully lodged with UNESCO this year by the UK government - outside, I believe, its previously stated process for adding further sites
d. Submission seems to be being planned (currently) for 2017 (ie, 2018 WHC. This coincides with the information put out by Germany earlier this summer http://www.hr-online.de/website/rubriken/kultur/index.jsp?rubrik=5676&key=standard_do cument_52465247
e. It appears that there is ongoing discussion about which might be the best selection of towns to be nominated -with potentially some of the current ones being removed and (maybe) others added -though it is recognised that there are already too many.
f. Bath says that it intends to maintain its original SEPARATE inscription and only go for this nomination with different OUV and boundaries. See this link for the argument that the current inscription was NOT for being a "Spa Resort" http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/2013/06/27/bath-to-join-spa-super-league/
g. To this end it intends including an area of countryside AROUND Bath as a "Therapeutic Landscape"... "in which the eighteenth century physicians encouraged their patients to take exercise alongside taking the waters."
h. "Therapeutic Landscape" wasn't a phrase I had previously come across but Google searches show it to have a reasonable "currency" (i.e "Nature as healer"). This "hit" relates specifically to Bath and shows it already doing things to protect the area and prepare itself in this respect - http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/sites/default/files/green_setting_of_bath_bid_feb_2014_upda te.pdf
i. Among the "objectives" Bath is pursuing in going for this Nomination seem to be
i. Extending Bath's image to include its adjacent countryside
ii. Help protect that countryside against any possible future "fracking" attempts!

Author meltwaterfalls
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#94 | Posted: 2 Dec 2014 09:59 
The much vaunted road tunnel at Stonehenge seems to be back on the agenda. Though it seems the shortest version is currently the one proposed.

There is plenty more to this announcement than just this tunnel so I wouldn't hold my breath on it being done any time soon but perhaps it is a step in the right direction.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#95 | Posted: 11 Feb 2015 03:49 
I haven't had a chance to read this yet but there is an article on the Guardians front page titled, Why Edinburgh should Be stripped of its World Heritage status.

It could be a could be a controversial Guardian comment generator or may actually be interesting.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#96 | Posted: 11 Feb 2015 05:24 
meltwaterfalls:
Guardians front page titled, Why Edinburgh should Be stripped of its World Heritage status

Yep wouldn't bother. Here is a short summary:
The author doesn't like anything new being built as it ruins the historic fabric. Therefore he is petitioning UNESCO to remove Edinburgh from the WHL, because its listing doesn't protect the buildings he likes.

Faultless logic. It is almost like he has had to come up with a bold statement to lure in the unsuspecting and simple in order to generate clicks and debate. I'm very much in the simple category for having fallen for it. :)

Author Solivagant
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#97 | Posted: 27 Apr 2015 02:17 | Edited by: Solivagant 
In answer to pikkle’s question in “Out or in doubt” 26 April 2015. regarding funding and entrance fees for St Paul’s Cathedral and why it hasn’t been put forward for WHS.

pikkle:
St Paul’s has trouble with donations funding because it’s located in the very tiny section of London where there are many corporate offices and few residents inv the “City of London”. They say this is why they have to charge exorbitant prices for entry fees


It is true that St Paul’s is situated in “the Square Mile” as the City of London is known and that relatively few people live there. Wiki gives the resident population as 7375 in 2011! It is also interesting to note that only 57.5% of these were “white British” and that St Paul’s is an “Anglican” cathedral. It will of course attract people from outside the City in its congregation but I would be surprised if its regular attendees for a “normal” service reached 100 (there was a news article a year or so back when it reopened after it allowed anti-government “housing protestors” to camp on its steps and had to close its doors for a while. It was noted that the attendance then of “several hundred” including media and tourists was way above “normal”!).

However, in this respect it is unlikely to be very different from most Cathedrals in UK which were built for a very different “religious era” as far as many people in the UK are concerned. I can’t imagine that Cathedrals in e.g York, Gloucester, Lincoln etc are any “richer” or have larger or more generous congregations. You state that the entrance fee is “exorbitant” and it is certainly more than I would want to pay but “value” is a matter of judgement. It might be said that the entrance fee of £18 compares well with the cost of a Premier League Football Match, a theatre ticket or even a very average meal in London! Westminster Abbey costs £20 - that is London! (Yet “millions” of people from around the world apparently want to get there to live and, in the 2011 census, only c45% of London’s population of just over 8 million were “white British” so it must offer something!). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_groups_in_London

The Finances of the Anglican Church are complex and the amounts concerned sound large but it has a lot of things to do. Wiki says “Although an established church Church of England does not receive any direct government support. Donations comprise its largest source of income, and it also relies heavily on the income from its various historic endowments. In 2005, the Church of England had estimated total outgoings of around £900 million. The Church of England manages an investment portfolio which is worth more than £8000 million”. In Germany by comparison the “Church Tax” on its citizens yields 9.2 billion euros and represents 70% of church income. (Wiki). And in France the much vaunted “separation” of Church and State is something of a myth since e.g the State funds the maintenance of religious buildings built before 1905

I found this comment on Tripadvisor from someone complaining about the St Pauls entrance fee followed by a response from the Cathedral’s PR manager (!!!)
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g186338-d188159-r115036841-St_Paul_s_Cat hedral-London_England.html

You might also find this article comparing the “wealth” of St Pauls with that of a (MUCH richer!) Nigerian Pentecostal Church in a London suburb “interesting” as showing the sort of profound social changes taking place in parts of UK http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/11/kingsway-international-christian-centre

As for St Paul's ever becoming a WHS. I just can’t imagine the Church of England who own it or the Government ever being interested. Where is the benefit? It wouldn’t protect it any more, it would cause a lot of hassle to try for it, it would cause a lot of hassle if it got it, it would be unlikely to increase the number of visitors etc etc. Compare that with the desire among the good burghers of Naumburg to get their cathedral inscribed.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#98 | Posted: 27 Apr 2015 07:49 
pikkle:
Just seems like the English Baroque only has two representatives - Blenheim and the Queen's Palace at Greenwich, both secular - while something that has true OUV, architectural ingenuity, and historical significance is passed over for Creswell Crags.

I guess it reflects the way the UK has wished to pursue WHS inscription. It has tended to focus a little more on industrial/ technical rather than artistic undertakings, though I appreciate that is slightly crudely defined.

There has also been a tendency in Britain to view Baroque as a sort of alien concept, evident of "the continent and papery". I will admit the works of Wren are a defining aspect of the London street scape, I'm not really sure what the real influence of English Baroque is beyond some stately homes and London churches. Perhaps two sites is a reasonable representation.

I think Solivagant has covered the main aspects of the cost of admission. As a resident of London that is just the cost of things here sadly. If the state isn't going to fund the upkeep of churches then it will have to rely on charging large fees. They do dissuade people from visiting, but enough people are willing to pay.

Personally in the 7 years I have lived here, I have never paid to visit; Westminster Abbey, St Paul's or the Tower of London, they just seem unjustifiably expensive for what I would get out of them. But I do have the bonus of having been to all of them before, and can take advantage of free entry opportunities (Open House Days, Concerts, services etc.) when they turn up.

Of the 20 visitor attractions in London with a million plus visitors a year 14 of them (9 of the top 10) are free to visit.

Author pikkle
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#99 | Posted: 28 Apr 2015 01:32 
You're right on the price of sightseeing in London and in general. For some reason, I remember St. Paul's as being more expensive than Westminster - but I'm clearly mis-remembering. They are both totally worth every penny, imho, although I could spend half the day (and have several times) in Westminster Abbey. I am flabbergasted at that TripAdvisor "review", because I have been to every single Central/Western European country except Andorra and I am pretty sure I've paid to get in churches in all of them - even though many are indeed free of charge. For example, while Notre Dame de Paris is free, Saint-Chapelle is not. Nor is Saint-Denis - beyond the transept. Nor is the Matyas Church in Buda. Or St. Nicholas and St. Vitus in Prague. I could go on and on. I am almost outraged by that idiotic comment.

I really appreciate your extensive answers (especially relating to the finances of the Anglican church, Solivagent) but in regard to the OUV of English Baroque, I would argue that the path from Inigo Jones, followed by Wren and Hawksmoor, including artisans such as Gibbons and the Stone-De Keyser family dynasty molded the continental Baroque into something much different (and more classical - pretty much bypassing the continental Rococo) and which had a huge and lasting impact on the history of architecture throughout England and the colonies. I see the influence of Wren in 17th-18th c. churches right up to churches built in the 1950s in the United States on a daily basis. Perhaps the Wren Churches in the City of London would be a better nomination - as St. Paul's is so iconic and does not need protection, while the Wren churches could see even more encroachment from high-rises (some are quite difficult to find already). The Wren spires, including St. Brides, Mary-le-Bow, the undulating St. Vedast, and others are incredibly influential in Protestant church architecture. I truly believe that the ecclesiastical side of the Northern Baroque, and ensuing Classicism, is underrepresented.

I would wonder about the "Waterloo Churches" or "Commissioner's Churches," as well. They are a really interesting part of the fabric of London and I can't think of another site like it in terms of urban planning, church-building, architectural influence, etc.

In a way, I am biased as I am an ardent admirer of ecclesiastical architecture and I find the UK to be sorely underrepresented and even mis-represented in terms of WHS (I feel this way about the Netherlands, as well), probably due to the respective nation's focus on industrialization (UK) and industrialization vis-a-vis "the water" (NL). The US/UK withdrawal from UNESCO in the 80s probably has something to do with places such as York missing out on WHS status.

I truly think that the best sites should be represented and I know OUV is a shaky concept, but I don't see the benefit of leaving off sites because they don't "fill a gap" or niche. That just creates more trends, as we are now seeing an overrepresentation of vineyard nominations and we already have a ton of factories/mining sites and the notorious slag heaps (which I can pretend I'm visiting as I drive through Northern New Jersey).

Anyway, you are right that it would probably not be worth pursuing a nomination for St. Paul's. One suggestion I liked was the nomination of the Inns of Court, although I can't see it happening, even though tangible history of law is something "missing." Last visit to London, I stayed at the Apex Temple Court, and had a fine morning exploring the Middle and Inner Temples. Fascinating places. Now that the question of finances has been cleared up, I can only suggest St. Paul's because it is undoubtedly so worthy of the status but I have to concur in the end.

Author pikkle
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#100 | Posted: 28 Apr 2015 01:38 
Covent Garden as an example of city planning is another transformation of the Baroque that Inigo Jones brought back from Italy and Anglicized, with the "other" St. Paul's as its centerpiece.

His Banqueting House is the only English Baroque building that I find to be extremely continental Baroque.

Author pikkle
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#101 | Posted: 28 Apr 2015 01:47 
I have to say, with Naumburg, I find it a spectacular architectural accomplishment - but so are Magdeburg Cathedral and the Marburg Elizabethkirche. These churches all are transitional Gothic and have serious similarities. I think these cities should be grouping themselves together thematically at this point when it is so difficult to get another Gothic church on the list - even if it's a spectacular and historically important one. The Belgian/French belfries are an example of this and I think if churches are going to try to get accepted they need to take this sort of approach - but only in the case of truly important churches, like the three above. Eventually we'll just have to list every Romanesque through Rococo church on the continent, otherwise. Off-topic now, so I'll be quiet. ;)

Author Solivagant
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#102 | Posted: 28 Apr 2015 02:53 | Edited by: Solivagant 
pikkle:
as St. Paul's is so iconic and does not need protection


Of course some would say that St Pauls does need protection against the inexorable spread of high rise in London! See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2579770/St-Pauls-risks-rubbed-London-skyline- forever-nearly-250-high-rise-developments-planned-capital.html
But I think there is also a view in government and beyond that this is a complex matter which needs to be determined within UK taking into account a very wide range of factors (including the value of economic development) without the extra involvement of UNESCO/ICOMOS. This view would not of course be shared by those who are at the "conservation" end of the opinion spectrum.

UK's recent experience with UNESCO/ICOMOS regarding preservation of its towns/cities v development (particularly in relation to the almost obsessive concern by ICOMOS over preserving "Sight lines" to/from outside inscribed areas!) has not been positive from the point of view of those not at that end of the spectrum and certainly not from the view of Government - The Tower of London, Westminster, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Bath have all come under pressures from UNESCO to cease or significantly alter planned developments. Even tiny Hayle in Cornwall had to defend a supermarket development in 2014! - http://www.cornishman.co.uk/Supermarket-poses-risk-Hayle-heritage-says-UNESCO/story-2 1450216-detail/story.html . Such experiences are not exactly likely to endear "Government" in UK to the idea of more WHS inscriptions.

In every case of course there were those who viewed the UNESCO intervention as positive and some would say that these extra pressures did in some cases result in an improved development which otherwise would not have occurred. Bath is even thinking of gaining a second inscription to include its nearby rural areas as part of the European Spas nomination with the main intention of providing an extra level of protection! But wealthy "middle England" Bath can perhaps afford to take such an approach whilst "gritty" Liverpool needs its developments!

UNESCO's approach to preservation of "developed" cities and towns does seem often to be inappropriate and, given the far greater problems elsewhere in the World, not deserving of the amount of effort it puts into it. I recently came across this article by a "professional" in the World Heritage and Preservation domains arguing that "One of the reasons for this escalation of conflict and sense of frustration may be the way the nomination process, evaluation, management guidelines and subsequent monitoring of the sites prescribed by UNESCO is more or less a one-size-fits-all package." and that the management process required by UNESCO for cities is "probably much better suited to neatly fenced and managed archaeological sites than the complex nature of a functioning city." See - http://theconversation.com/world-heritage-status-can-be-a-poisoned-chalice-for-cities -37784

This is a matter which UNESCO hasn't yet really come to grips with. In the meantime, as the article points out, there are many cities around the World which ARE prepared to face these procedures in order to gain the kudos of a WH Inscription. I fear that this can only be achieved via the operation of a double standard by UNESCO in terms of "management" by which a "blind eye" is turned to e.g Macao but not to e.g Liverpool. If Delhi for instance does gain WH City status the very idea that the same criteria for management and preservation can be imposed there as in e.g Koln or Edinburgh is ludicrous. Developed and under developed cities each have their respective needs which UNESCO ought, openly and publicly, to take account of.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#103 | Posted: 28 Apr 2015 07:55 
pikkle thanks very much for that response, it was really interesting to read. I must admit to not being too familiar with the Commissioners Churches (despite sitting staring at two of them). I am have recently discovered a bit of an interest in how art and architecture are used as a way of building a narrative about a nation, these would seem to play into it very well, so thanks for pointing them out.

I guess in balance to yourself, I don't really have much interest in ecclesiastical architecture (and even less of an interest in Palaces and Staley Homes). However as you say there isn't as much of a recognition of these smaller scale ecclesiastical buildings in the UK's entries, nor of the effect they have had on the built environment of the former empire. Especially if you look at how many Spanish colonial churches are listed. I think the Wren churches of London would make an interesting proposal, and certainly I feel would be worthy of a place on the list, but I don't ever really see it happening.

Likewise with the Inns of Court, I love that area of London, I used to work just up the road from the Hotel you stayed in. The Inns of Court were a constant source of intrigue for me, plus they were also great places to head for lunch. I still feel that area of London is "my London". The sheer quantity of great pubs in the area may also have something to do with my fondness for the it :)

Just to tie two threads together, did you know that Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub across the road from Temple Inns is actually a key point in the preservation of sight-lines of St Paul's. New buildings are not allowed to appear in the view of St Paul's from its entrance. This is the view from the road, you can see the distinctive shape of 122 Leadenhall Street (the Cheesegrater) to the left of St Paul's dome, it is designed in this sloping fashion so that from the entrance to the pub it isn't visible. You have to stand pretty close to the wall for it to disappear from view but it isn't visible from the entrance.

Author meltwaterfalls
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#104 | Posted: 28 Apr 2015 08:54 
On further investigation it seems that the protection of the view from Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese isn't actually one of legally protected views. But it is seen as being informally respected as it may cause issues with gaining planning permission. Another thing to add to the pile of apocrypha associated with that pub.

Author elsslots
Admin
#105 | Posted: 10 May 2017 00:23 
A critical view of Lake District's nomination: "Britain's greatest national park is a sheepwrecked monument to subsidised overgrazing and ecological destruction"

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/09/lake-district-world-heritage-si te-george-monbiot

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