HISTORIC SCOTLAND STAKEHOLDER RESEARCH
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Over the last 50 years successive Governments have given high priority to conserving and protecting the country's built heritage. There is now an extensive legislative and policy framework that provides for the conservation and protection of the built heritage.The main elements of this framework include:
Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953;
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979;
Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997; and
Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.
The legislation covers the listing of buildings, the scheduling of ancient monuments and the designation of conservation areas, amongst other measures designed to protect and conserve the built heritage.Responsibility for exercising these powers rests with a range of different organisations most notably Historic Scotland and local authorities.
2.2 In addition to the primary legislation there are also the Memorandum of Guidance on Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas and two important National Planning Policy Guidelines (NPPGs) - NPPG 18 which deals primarily with listed buildings, conservation areas, world heritage sites, historic gardens, designed landscapes and their settings and NPPG 5 which sets out the role of the planning system in protecting ancient monuments and archaeological sites and landscapes.NPPG 18 sums up the value of the built environment as follows:
"The historic environment is a fundamental part of Scotland's cultural heritage and exists as an irreplaceable record which contributes to our understanding of both the present and the past……. It has tremendous visual appeal, provides inspiration and enjoyment and helps reinforce a sense of local, regional and national identity. The historic environment is of immense importance for education, recreation, leisure, tourism and the wider economy".
2.3 As well as recognising the intrinsic value of the built heritage it has increasingly been seen in terms of the contribution it can make to environmental stewardship and sustainable development which has been at the heart of Government policy for a number of years.The role of conservation and protection of the built heritage in promoting sustainable development was set out in the Stirling Charter. The Charter sets out broad principles for the conservation and protection of the built heritage in Scotland.Article 1 of the Charter states:
"Actions taken in respect of Scotland's built heritage should secure its conservation for the benefit of present and future generations" (Historic Scotland, 2000)
2.4 The Stirling Charter makes it clear that Scotland's rich and diverse built heritage encompasses ancient monuments, archaeological sites and landscapes, historic buildings and townscapes, parks, gardens and designed landscapes.It also states that the built heritage is valuable in a number of different ways.These values are expressed as follows:
"In addition to its own intrinsic worth, the heritage is vital to an understanding of our archaeology, history and architecture. It provides a sense of place and national identity and contributes to the fascinating diversity of townscape, landscape, ecology and culture of Scotland. It is also an important social, economic, recreational and educational resource. It is a rich source of enjoyment and inspiration, touching most aspects of everyday life and offering lessons from the past for the present and the future".
Public attitudes towards the built heritage
2.5 There is currently no single source of reliable statistical information about the Scottish public's attitudes towards the built heritage.It is, however, possible to gain an indication of society in the UK's views towards the built environment from three key sources:
a major public opinion survey conducted by English Heritage;
ad-hoc surveys conducted in three cities in England and Scotland; and
proxy indicators such as visitor numbers to historical properties and viewing figures for TV programmes about the built environment.
English Heritage Public Opinion Survey
2.6 In February 2000 English Heritage was asked by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, to co-ordinate an important and wide-ranging review of all policies relating to the historic environment in England. A Steering Group, chaired by English Heritage Chairman Sir Neil Cossons, oversaw the work of the Review. It included members of key heritage and environment bodies in England, as well as observers from both Government Departments.
2.7 As part of the review process English Heritage commissioned MORI to undertake some research into the public's attitudes towards the built environment. The objectives of the research were to gather information about:
general perceptions/attitudes towards the concept of heritage and what it means to people;
people's participation in heritage activities; and
attitudes towards the heritage among people of ethnic minority background.
2.8 The research involved four distinct approaches:
omnibus survey research of residents in England;
a face to face quantitative survey of residents in England;
a series of three focus groups, among specifically invited audiences; and
analysis of data contained in MORI's Socioconsult Monitor.
2.9 The research findings showed that there was strong support for heritage amongst those that were surveyed. Amongst the key findings were the following:
98% think the heritage is important to teach children about our past and that all schoolchildren should be given the opportunity to find out about this country's heritage;
96% think the heritage is important to teach us about our past;
95% think heritage is important for giving us places to visit and things to see and do, for encouraging tourists to visit (94%) and creating jobs and boosting the economy (88%);
77% disagree that we already preserve too much of this country's heritage; and
76% agree that their lives are richer for having the opportunity to visit and see examples of this country's heritage.
2.10 Respondents were also asked to state the importance of the heritage in relation to a number of other issues including its contribution to job creation, regeneration, tourism, culture, and to 'teaching us about the past'. The responses to these questions are shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1 - Importance of heritage
How important do you think the heritage is in...?
Not very important
Not at all important
Teaching children about our past
Teaching us about our past
Encouraging tourists to visit
Giving us places to visit and things to see and do
Creating jobs and boosting the economy
Enhancing English culture
Promoting regeneration in towns and cities
The most important tasks of the heritage are seen to be its educational value and its importance in generating tourism. Heritage was seen as being less important in terms of creating jobs and boosting the economy and promoting regeneration in towns and cities.
2.11 The findings of the English Heritage survey are supported by the results of another MORI survey conducted on behalf of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE, 2002).This found that the vast majority of respondents (85%) said they were interested in how the built environment looks and feels, with 34% saying they agreed strongly.A similarly high proportion of respondents said they felt that the quality of the built environment made a difference to the way they felt and helped improve the quality of life.
2.12 The research conducted for English Heritage asked people whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about heritage. The key responses to these questions were as follows:
the vast majority of people (85%) agreed with the statement that ' heritage plays a valuable role in the life of the country'. This included 37% who said that they agreed strongly with the statement. It also found that around three-quarters of people agreed with the statement that 'what I love about Britain is its heritage';
very few people agreed that too much of the heritage is already preserved and nearly nine in ten (87%) are quite happy for public funds to be made available to preserve the heritage in this country;
over three-quarters of respondents (76%) agreed that their lives are richer for having the opportunity to visit or see examples of this country's heritage. For four in five people (82%), information about the heritage adds to life-longlearning, the ability to carry on learning new things; and
four in five people said they agreed that more effort should be made to make the heritage more accessible to them. The people most likely to strongly agree were those most likely to be affected by issues of cost and access - people over the age of 65, those in the DE social groups, people with an annual household income under 9,499 and people with a disability. This finding implies that the vast majority of people expect those responsible for the preservation of heritage to do more to improve access.
2.13 To help determine the factors that prevent people from experiencing more of their heritage respondents were asked what could be done to make heritage more relevant to their lives. These results are shown in Figure 2 below.One-fifth of all people said that there is nothing that could be done to make heritage more relevant. Nearly two in five (38%) however, mentioned access issues including reducing the entrance fees charged and making the heritage more accessible generally.
Figure 2 - Making heritage more accessible
Improving access generally
Cheaper entrance fee
Cheaper for families
Better transport facilities
Improve disabled access
More accessible for families/children
More access for all/appeal to a wider range of people
Cheaper for elderly/OAPs
Source MORI (2000) for English Heritage
Attitude Surveys in London, Liverpool and Glasgow
2.14 English Heritage has also conducted surveys in Liverpool and London to gather information about local people's attitudes towards their heritage.In the Liverpool survey local residents were asked what sort of things they associated with the word 'heritage'.The responses to this question are shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3 - Things associated with heritage
Historic buildings and stately homes
Art galleries and museums
Historic gardens, parks and cemeteries
Canals and rivers
2.15 The survey of London residents found similar results with almost two thirds of respondents (65%) saying that they associated heritage with historic buildings. This was by far the highest response and was followed by 'local places and history' (26%), art galleries and museums (10%) and ancient monuments (10%).
2.16 The two surveys in London and Liverpool also confirmed the findings of the national survey conducted by English Heritage showing that people place a high degree of importance on the built heritage.In the London survey 86% of respondents said that they agreed that heritage played an important part in the cultural life of the city. This included 62% of respondents who said that they agreed strongly.The equivalent figures in the Liverpool survey were 86% and 34%.These figures can be compared with the fact that very few respondents to either survey said that they had no interest in the heritage whatsoever - 8% in London and 12% in Liverpool.
2.17 As well as recognising the cultural importance of the built heritage residents in both London and Liverpool could recognise its importance in relation to regenerating towns and cities.In London 84% of respondents said that they thought heritage could play an important role in regeneration (including 53% who said that they agreed strongly).The equivalent figure in Liverpool was 89% although here only 36% said that they agreed strongly.
2.18 The importance placed on the heritage as a means of regenerating towns and cities by the people who responded to the surveys in London and Liverpool supports the findings of a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which linked the maintenance of local buildings and heritage as a key factor in social cohesion and urban inclusion. Indeed, in relation to one research site the report concluded that:
'the closure/deterioration of 'landmark' local buildings has led to a loss of pridein the area's heritage, feelings of powerlessness, and a lack of confidence'. Joseph Rowntree Foundation (1999)
2.19 Glasgow City Council conducted a survey of its Citizens' Panel members in 2001 as part of a Best Value review of its heritage functions.This survey found that the vast majority of respondents (73%) said that they were aware that the Council was involved in protecting the city's heritage. The level of awareness rose with age, and was more pronounced among better off and more middle class households.The survey also found that a high proportion of people were aware of terms relating to the protection of the built heritage such as 'listed buildings' (93%) and 'conservation areas' (86%).
2.20 Like the surveys conducted in England, the Glasgow survey showed that there were very high levels of support amongst local residents for the need to protect the built heritage.Overall, 97% of respondents to the survey said they agreed that it was important to protect Glasgow's built heritage, including 71% who said they agreed strongly.Residents also agreed that the built heritage was important in terms of attracting investment and jobs to the city (86% agreed) but were slightly less likely to say the built heritage enhanced their enjoyment of the city. Although 69% of respondents did agree with this statement only 30% said they strongly agreed.
2.21 As well as agreeing that it was important to protect Glasgow's built heritage, the vast majority of respondents also agreed that the City Council should spend money to do so.While the intensity of feeling was a little lower (only 54% strongly agreed) over 90% said they agreed with the council spending money in this way.
2.22 Research commissioned in preparation for the BBC2 television series Restoration provided a recent insight into public attitudes to the built heritage.The research was based on a self-completion questionnaire that was completed by over 4,500 people including 321 in Scotland.The key findings of this research can be summarised as follows:
two-thirds of respondents said they were very or quite interested in the history of buildings in the area they lived in;
interest in the history of local buildings was substantially higher amongst older people (45+) and higher socio-economic groups;
13% of Scottish respondents said they were very interested in the history of local buildings and a further 50% said they were quite interested;
the majority of respondents felt it was important to save a wide range of different types of buildings, however, more importance seemed to be placed on the oldest and highest profile buildings, including stately homes, castles and churches;
45% of respondents said that historical buildings should be restored wherever possible, compared to only 19% who said they should only be restored if they had a practical use today and 8% who said they should be knocked down to make way for something new;
two-thirds of respondents claimed to visit a historical building at least once a year; and
respondents were particularly interested in seeing what historical buildings looked like in their 'heyday' and finding out about the role of the building in history and about people who used to live in the buildings. They were less interested in facts and figures about how it was built and the architectural or artistic importance of the building.
Visits to heritage attractions
2.23 Another source of evidence about the public's attitude towards the built heritage is their likelihood to visit heritage attractions and the claimed frequency of these visits. There are a number of reports that show that visiting heritage sites is a popular activity amongst a large proportion of the population.
2.24 The Heritage Monitor Report completed for the English Tourist Board in 2000/2001 estimated that 54 million people had visited heritage sites during the year and that two-thirds of these visitors had been UK residents.The latest Tourism in Scotland report produced by Visit Scotland shows that visiting castles, monuments and churches is the single most popular activity with both UK visitors (39%) and overseas visitors (83%).
2.25 The MORI survey for English Heritage found that a total of 48% of respondents said that they would visit at least one historic/heritage site in the next year.However, the survey also found significant variations in those saying they would attend an historical/heritage site based on age and social class.Those aged between 45 and 64 were more likely than average to say they would visit an historic garden or park (51%) or go to an historic building or palace (49%). The 16-24 age group, on the other hand, are particularly likely to say they will not visit such sites. Those in social groups A and B, and to a certain extent C1s, were significantly more likely to say they were likely to visit historic sites than those in groups C2DE. Those with children in their household, and non-whites were also less likely than average to think that they will visit an historic garden or park, building or palace, or ancient monument.
2.26 The figure of 48% saying they expected to visit at least one heritage site in the next twelve months was mirrored by the same proportion claiming to have visited at least one historic building or palace in the last three months. In fact, 13% said they have visited three or more such properties in that time period. Among all visitors, the average number of visits was 2.2. Again the highest average number of visits was among ABs (21% claimed to have made at least three visits) and people with degrees (30%).These figures can be compared with the fact that in the same survey around half (48%) had been to the cinema in the last three months, averaging 2.8 visits each.
2.27 These figures were supported by the results of a survey of visitors to Historic Scotland's own properties conducted in 2002 (Historic Scotland, 2003).This found that while almost two-fifths of the sample had not made any other visits to historic properties in the last year the average number of visits was 3.3. The types of visitors more likely than average to visit other historic sites included Scottish residents (5.2 visits), day trippers (5.6 visits) and repeat visitors (4.8 visits). Another survey commissioned by the English Arts Council in 1991 found that 33% said they visited historical or stately homes 'nowadays'.This was higher than for any other single category of cultural activity other than going to the cinema. Of those who said they did visit historical properties, 30% did so 2 or 3 times a year and 20% claimed to make visits 4 or more times a year.(Arts Council of England, 1991)
2.28 A 1999 survey for the Scottish Tourist Board and Scottish Natural Heritage (System 3, 2000) found that 65% of visitors from England and overseas associated Scotland with 'interesting history and culture'.The same survey found that in terms of the range of activities undertaken while on holiday in Scotland 69% said they had visited a built heritage site, whilst for 30% visiting castles, historic houses and stately homes and gardens was the main activity of their holiday. This was by far the most popular of all of the main activities listed in the survey.
2.29 Another indication of the appeal of the built heritage is the success of the annual Doors Open Days. Originally launched in 1990 in two locations - Glasgow and Ayr - it has now expanded to be a national event featuring several hundred properties.Given the nature of the event, it is difficult to estimate the number of people who visit participating properties.However, in 2001 visitor surveys were distributed to over 19,000 people visiting participating properties.This survey also revealed the strength of support amongst a section of the population for Scotland's built heritage.Amongst the key findings were the following:
96% of respondents said they thought Scotland's built heritage was important;
88% of respondents agreed that public money should be spent on preserving the built heritage; and
94% of respondents thought architectural and built heritage issues should be taught to children.
While this was clearly a self-selecting sample of people who were interested enough to visit a property during the Doors Open Days programme, it is another indication of the strength of support for Scotland's built heritage.
TV programmes relating to the built heritage
2.30 Another indication of the public's interest in issues relating to the built heritage is the popularity of a number of television programmes about heritage related issues.There has been a substantial increase in the number of programmes relating to the built heritage in recent years on both terrestrial and satellite/cable television channels. Many of these programmes have attracted substantial numbers of viewers across all age ranges and social groupings.Channel 4's Time Team archaeological programme, for example, regularly attracts between three to four million viewers for every programme shown.The final of the BBC's recent Restoration programme attracted 2.7 million viewers, with 2.3 million voting for the various properties featured.In fact, the most popular programme was a programme that featured three Scottish properties - The Burra Croft in Shetland, the TB sanatorium in Aberdeenshire and Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rhum.This programme attracted some 3.4 million viewers of whom 86,000 voted for one of the three properties.
Young people's attitudes towards the built heritage
2.31 A number of the surveys and reports described above have highlighted the fact that the built heritage appears to be less important to younger people than to older people. This is evidenced by the fact that young people are less likely to say they have visited a historical property and are less likely to say they agree that it is important to protect the built heritage.For example, in the Glasgow City Council survey while young people were as likely as older people to agree that the built heritage was important, they were substantially less likely to 'strongly' agree.
2.32 The English Heritage survey suggested that one reason for this might be that there were clear differences in time perspective between older and younger people, and this had implications for what counted as an historic site or building. Thus, for example, younger people in the survey were much more likely to feel that buildings and objects dating from the 1950s and 1960s counted as 'heritage'. The authors of the report also stated that that their research suggested that when young people think about heritage, they focus on the individuals and the personalities involved and are less engaged with the building or the physical site involved.
2.33 This view is echoed by Burke et al. (2001) who state that 'young people' and 'heritage' do not sit very comfortably together. They argue that "Heritage doesn't somehow seem a youthful word" and that for many young people heritage conjures up images of 'day-tripping pensioners visiting country houses'
Summary of key findings
2.34 While there is limited hard evidence about the attitudes of the Scottish public towards the built heritage it is possible to identify a number of key issues based on the evidence from elsewhere as well as other ''proxy'' indicators.These can be summarised as follows:
there appears to be strong public support for conserving and maintaining the built heritage.This can be seen in the results of the various surveys conducted by English Heritage as well as the survey conducted by Glasgow City Council;
people seem to value the built heritage in terms of its importance to tourism and as a way of encouraging people to learn about the past as much as for its intrinsic architectural or historical merit.They are less likely to value the importance of the built heritage as a way of promoting regeneration or creating employment;
there is strong public support for spending public money on maintaining and preserving the built heritage.However, the literature reviewed does not provide evidence about how people would rate spending money on the built heritage against other competing priorities for public expenditure;
there is some evidence to suggest that older people and people from higher social groupings are more likely to place a high importance on maintaining and preserving the built environment.They are also more likely to spend some of their leisure time visiting built heritage attractions;
the built heritage is a key element of Scotland's tourism infrastructure. This can be seen in terms of the factors which attract overseas visitors as well as the numbers of domestic tourists who say that they have visited a built heritage attraction; and
the viewing figures for television programmes such as Time Team and Restoration, the growth in the civic trust movement and the success of events such as Doors Open Days can all be taken as indicators of a growing awareness about and interest in the built heritage.