Department of the Environment, Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings, 1972-1987
Department of the Environment, Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Special Services, 1970-1972
Ministry of Public Building and Works, Ancient Monuments Branch, 1962-1969
Ministry of Public Building and Works, Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Special Services, 1969-1970
Ministry of Works and Buildings, Ancient Monuments Branch, 1940-1942
Ministry of Works and Planning, Ancient Monuments Branch, 1942-1943
Ministry of Works, Ancient Monuments Branch, 1943-1962
Office of Works, Ancient Monuments Branch, 1912-1940
Administrative / biographical background:
Responsibility for the protection of ancient monuments was given to the Office of Works under the Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882, which authorised the appointment of inspectors to report to the Commissioners of Works on the condition of monuments and the best ways of preserving them. Only one inspector, Lieutenant-General Pitt Rivers, was appointed, and he was not replaced after his death in 1900.
Powers to prevent damage to, or destruction of, monuments were given under the Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act 1913, and the office was empowered to purchase any ancient monument with Treasury consent and to accept the guardianship of any such monument offered to it. It was also required to compile and publish lists of ancient monuments based largely on the recommendations of the Ancient Monuments Boards established by the Act.
An Ancient Monuments Branch was established within the Office of Works in 1912, and from 1914 the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate which was attached to it had a Chief Inspector and separate inspectors for England, Scotland and Wales. A number of assistant inspectors were added later, and the Scottish inspector had the support of a separate administrative branch in Edinburgh. The administrative staff of the Ancient Monuments Branch drew on the services of the Architect's Branch and the regional superintendents of works for advisory and executive work on the maintenance and repair of buildings. The inspectorate consisted of trained archaeologists and became responsible for advice on preservation, the carrying out of excavations, the scrutiny of plans for housing and other developments which might effect protected sites and the preparation of guide books to ancient monuments.
Liaison was maintained with the standing royal commissions on ancient and historical monuments, the National Trust and other voluntary bodies, and with the National Buildings Record. The Historic Buildings Councils established in 1953 were provided with secretarial services by the branch as well as the advisory services of the architectural and archaeological staff. In 1969 a Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Special Services was established, incorporating the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings. Within the Directorate, the Ancient Monuments (Presentation) Branch was responsible for the commercial management of ancient monuments and public buildings.
In 1969 responsibilities for ancient monuments in Scotland and ancient monuments in Wales were transferred to their respective secretaries of state, under the Transfer of Functions (Wales) Order (SI 1969/388) and the Transfer of Functions (Scotland) Order (SI 1969/383).
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