There are seventeen UNESCO sites in England, five in Scotland, three in Wales and 1 in Northern Ireland. Our historical town centres are an encyclopaedia of the lives of our ancestors. Spanning generations of innovation through every age of architectural change.
The UNESCO castle and cathedral of Durham was described by the architecture critic Nicholas Pevsner as “one of the great experiences of Europe”. The Cathedral, built around the relics of St Cuthbert the father of English Christianity, is regarded as the finest Romanesque building in Europe and is still a major pilgrimage site. The historical urban centre set on the riverbank, coexists on sacred ground with a historic line of learning and scholarship from the venerable Bede to today’s University students, and embraces a location of outstanding natural beauty.
To walk around Oxford (perhaps the most beautiful of English towns), is to enjoy an anthology of European architectural styles. Developed from an Anglo Saxon settlement in the 12th Century, with rich royal and ecclesiastical endowments, sprang the great University of today where you can see The Gothic towers of Hawksmoor, the Baroque domes of Gibbs and the Modern St Catherine’s of Arne Jacobsen.
Bath, the site of an Iron Age spring, was developed into “baths” by the Romans, and encircled by superb examples of elegant Palladian design is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage site of historical and cultural importance.
As we see, each historical urban centre has its own unique individual character and architectural personality, which is evolving with each generation. With respect for our past, and care for our future, it is our generation’s turn to safeguard our patrimony and “keep Britain clean”.