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Centre for Sustainable Heritage (CSH)

Guest Lecture - December 2012

On 13 December 2012, Professor Andrew Watkinson gave a guest lecture titled: 'A changing sense of place: heritage and environmental change'.

Download the lecture slides (pdf)

Listen to the lecture:

Go to the Guest Lectures webpage

Response to Q&A

On 4 January 2013, Chris Wood, Head of Building Conservation & Research Team at English Heritage responded to the question at 75 mins, 45 secs of the recording. Read the response below.

I would not normally respond to a debate that I did not attend, but I must answer some of the questioner’s assertions, which frankly, I do not recognise. English Heritage were very pleased to be asked to participate and in order to respond quickly and effectively given our stretched resources, we commissioned consultants to carry out detailed surveys and propose a scheme of upgrading. This would have produced a calculated improvement the building of 60% whilst retaining the great many original features which unusually, had survived. Sustainability was another of our objectives and this scheme would have incorporated sound materials for this and future generations to enjoy. Indeed, in order to achieve the thermal improvements, external wall insulation was proposed; this is not something which often finds favour with us.

We were told that this scheme did not go far enough and that Camden was aiming for between 80% - 90% notional improvement in energy efficiency. As the questioner said, this meant gutting the building and the destruction of much that was usable and distinctive. Not unnaturally, our interest waned.

As to the inference that English Heritage: does not promote secondary glazing, but prefers householders to rise an hour early in order to use insulated blinds and promotes a return to living conditions of the 18th century, I am really struggling to find out what has stimulated these falsehoods. We have avidly supported the use of secondary glazing ever since our Framing Opinions Campaign of the early 1990s and carried out many tests and publicised how effective it can be. But we have also promoted other methods of improving the performance of historic windows in order to encourage their retention. Different situations demand different solutions. We would recommend a visit to our website and read the information there.

Chris Wood