Catalogue description Office of Works and successors: English Heritage: Heritage Protection Datasets

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Details of WORK 93
Reference: WORK 93
Title: Office of Works and successors: English Heritage: Heritage Protection Datasets

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.

Date: 1995-2005

Record of Scheduled Momuments (RSM):

Hardware: It is likely that the Oracle server ran on a SUN system with Oracle client access from PCs running Windows. An earlier incarnation of the system used the DEC system 5400.

Operating System: Solaris 7 for the database server, and on Solaris 8 for the application server.

Application Software: Oracle database, processed using Oracle 8i, Oracle 9i Application Server, Oracle Developer Forms 6i and Reports 6I software.

User Interface: Windows-based application that was accessed via a browser. Data was mainly input digitally via transfer from a satellite system into holding tables, and then into the live system.

How data was originally captured and validated: Data was collected in the field by Monuments Protection Programme Archaeologists (MPPAs) working to a uniform set of data standards, and edited to ensure conformance to these standards. For some fields there was validation on the satellite system from which data was transferred; also validation in holding tables prior to loading and at the point of transfer to the live system. Further validation, editing and quality-assurance of text in particular, took place according to house standards and standards agreed with the Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport).

Listed Building System (LBS):

Hardware: HP Compaq Pentium 4.

Operating System: Windows XP.

Application Software: The system was created using Oracle version 7, and edited and processed using Oracle version 8.17.

User Interface: Windows-based. The system was accessed by staff connected to the intranet, using Internet Explorer. A logon was required to access the system.

Logical structure and schema: The LBS dataset comprised a large number of administrative tables of various sizes. Not all of the tables in the original database were exported for the snapshot as sent to NDAD.

The LBS dataset is dynamic in the sense that it is a live database (active since 1995), and the dataset transferred to NDAD constitutes a snapshot.

How data was originally captured and validated: Data in the LBS dataset was validated by controlled terminology, data input manuals, and peer quality control methodology. It was regarded as a complementary information and enquiry system, operated alongside the official statutory record, which remained in paper form.

Related material:

Register files relating to ancient monuments and historic buildings are in WORK 14

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in The National Archives: CRDA/64
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, 1984-

Physical description: 3 datasets and documentation
Restrictions on use: Some elements in the Record of Scheduled Monuments dataset are closed under Section 40 (2) (Personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act. These data are closed for 84 years and are scheduled to open in 2089. This closure ruling has also been applied to items in the documentation. The Heritage Protection datasets and documentation are subject to Crown Copyright; copies may be made for private study/research purposes only. Subject to registration under the Data Protection Acts.
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

In 2010 the United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets

Custodial history: Originally transferred from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage) in 2006. The United Kingdom National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD) then held the datasets until 2010 when they were transferred to The National Archives (TNA).
Selection and destruction information: Selected under Acquisition Policy: section 3.2: Interaction of the state with its citizens and its impact on the documentation of the physical environment as defined in Operational Selection Policy on Preservation of the Built Environment (no 17).
Accruals: Series likely to be accruing both by the addition of new databases and of five-year tranches of existing selections.
Publication note:

Many publications on the work of English Heritage are available, including publications which can be downloaded from the English Heritage website.

Unpublished finding aids:

Extent of documentation: 34 documents, Dates of creation of documentation: 1986-2004

Administrative / biographical background:

Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended by the National Heritage Act, 1983 the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport is responsible for compiling a schedule of ancient monuments. Under the Planning (Listed Buidlings and Conservation Areas) Act, 1990 the Secretary of State also has a statutory duty to compile lists of buildings or groups of buildings in England which are of special architectural or historic interest. Prior to this date there had be no obligation, just an empowerment to list.

The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission (known as English Heritage) was established as an independant body sponsored by the Department of the Environment (DoE) under the National Heritage Act 1983. Formal operation began in 1984, taking over from the DoE's Directorate of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings responsibility for the care and preservation of England's national monuments. English Heritage was from its inception the statuory adviser to the Secretary of State, who retained responsibility for decisions affecting private property (listing and scheduling, and preservation orders) and planning control where it impinges on ancient monuments and historic buildings. Its role was to advise on listing and scheduling proposals, applications for scheduled monument consent and the designation of areas of archaeological importance. Sponsorship of English Heritage passed to the Department of National Heritage (DNH) in 1992 (from DoE) and to the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) in 1997. In 1999 English Heritage merged by administrative action with the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCAHME).In April 2005, English Heritage (rather than DCMS) became the organisation responsible for the administration of the listing system.

Scheduled monuments:

A schedule of monuments has been kept since 1882, giving preservation of these designated monuments priority over other land uses. The current legislation ( Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979) supports a formal system of Scheduled Monument Consent for any work to a designated monument. Scheduling is the only legal protection specifically for archaeological sites. The term 'scheduling' describes the process through which nationally important sites and monuments are given legal protection by being placed on the list, or schedule.

Since the late 1980s, English Heritage has been engaged in the Monuments Protection Programme (MPP) to review both existing scheduled monuments and unscheduled archaeological sites of potential national importance against standard national criteria. The aim was to produce a new schedule which would provide improved information for those involved with consent procedures (owners and occupiers of scheduled monuments) and assist those engaged in the case work at English Heritage.

Listed buildings:

Listing a building does not mean that it will be preserved forever in its existing state. It merely ensures that the architectural and historic interest of a building is carefully considered before any alterations are agreed.The original criteria for listing, issued in 1947, had defined three grades in terms of priority for preservation. The principles of selection and the definition of grading were then revised through DoE Circulars in 1974, and 1987. The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 provided specific protection for buildings and areas of special architectural or historic interest; and the Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 (PPG 15), published in 1994, indicated that statutory building controls apply equally to all listed buildings irrespective of grade. PPG 15 also expanded the criteria for listing to encompass concepts of historical association relating to the use of the building by groups and individuals.

  • Grade I buildings are those of exceptional interest.
  • Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest;
  • Grade II buildings are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them;.

Since 2000 English Heritage have embarked upon a Heritage Protection Reform programme, which aims to bring together in one simple list the separate regimes for listing buildings, scheduling monuments, and registering parks, gardens, battlefields and protected wreck sites.

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