The Heritage Protection datasets include snapshots of two separate databases: the Record of Scheduled Monuments (RSM); and the Listed Building System (LBS). Both databases are subject to continuous updating as a result of authorized additions, amendments and deletions. Snapshots were taken in 2004 for the RSM, and 2005 for the LBS.
Scheduling of nationally important archaeological sites and monuments gives legal protection against disturbance, destruction or unecessary interference; it also supports the formal system of planning consent for any work to a designated monument. Buildings in use as dwellings or places of worship are not included, and scheduling is applied only to sites of national importance. The scheduled monument is a legal concept and does not always reflect archaeological classifications. Scheduled monuments are not graded, and form a small proportion of the total national stock of ancient monuments.
The RSM database was originally built to facilitate the administrative processes involved in scheduling, but it also holds data which is of use to those involved in ancient monument casework- recording and monitoring what happens to monuments. The process of scheduling began in 1882. The first computerisation of the process began in 1980, using the county-based data aready gathered from a variety of sources. By the late 1980s, English Heritage had embarked on a programme to review both existing scheduled monuments and unscheduled archaeological sites of potential national importance. This was the Monuments Protection Programme (MPP) The RSM dataset therefore includes two different systems of scheduled monument data: the Old County Number (OCN) system containing the earlier data, predominantly from 1882 to the present day but also including pre- legislation data from 1060; and the newer MPP system under which the data capture standards were formalised and consistently applied from the late 1980s when the programme commenced.
Listing of buildings is a means of ensuring that the special architectural and historic interest of the building is considered before any alterations are agreed to its exterior or interior, or before consent to demolish can be granted. The emphasis is on structures still in use or capable of re-use and uses a system of grading. The original criteria for inclusion on the list defined three grades in terms of priority for preservation; in subsequent developments the grading indicated 'relative importance' and allowed only the consideration of buildings over 30 years old. From 1987 the exercise of planning controls applied equally to all grades and the definitions of the principles of selection were expanded to include: architectural interest, historic interest, close historical association and group value. The current system reflects the expanding scope of conservation interest to include a wider range of buildings of later periods, and consideration of the interiors of buildings - not just the exteriors - resulting in the listing of externally unremarkable buildings not previously considered.
The LSB database was originally developed as an enquiry and information tool to complement and improve access to the official statutory record. The official record remains the paper List of Buildings of Architectural or Historical Interest in England, issued by the Department of Culture Media and Sport. This paper list is a register of special buildings and takes no account of cost of maintenance, unsuitability for modern needs or current state of repair. The dataset includes buildings constructed in the 1st century to the 20th century. The earliest printed source referred to in the dataset is from 1332, although most are from the 16th century onwards. The List entries themselves begin in 1900 and continue to the present day.
The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.