Rudhall Rings

Richard Offen richard at
Wed Nov 15 05:08:24 GMT 2006

Reflecting on this, it illustrates how complex decisions on 
preservation and tuning can be - what really counts as significant? 
what really needs to be preserved? where does quality come into the 
equation? and (most of all) do those charged with decision-making or 
in advisory positions have the knowledge and information on which to 
make sound judgments? In case anyone reads this as me saying "I'm the 
only person with the knowledge - it should be me" can I just stress 
this is not at all what I am saying. But I do believe that we 
historians should avoid misleading comments like the Prestbury one 
cited and look instead to providing information suitable for decision-

I entirely agree with Chris.

Here in Western Australia we define heritage as:

"Those things from the past which are valued enough today to save for 
future generations."

We are certainly not alone is using this definition, or something 
similar, which is intended to invite careful thought, research and 
debate as to what exactly we do consider valuable enough to hand on.

For a number of years it has seemed to me that some of those who have 
considerable influence over heritage issues in the UK have replaced 
this mantra with,

"Everything from the past must be saved for future 
generations ...untouched"

To quote from the English Heritage web site, "Listing is not intended 
to fossilise a building."   Oh that some of their own staff would 
take that statement on board!

Whilst there is no doubt that the last hundred years has seen 
destruction of heritage buildings at unprecedented levels, many have 
become so precious about the preservation of remaining items that we 
are in danger of completely stultifying what we hand on to future 
generations.   If previous generations had been so cautious many of 
our churches and cathedrals would not be the rich mixture of 
architectural styles that they are, and that would be to everyone's 



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