Valued National Asset

Preserving the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2008

Nigel Crowe

Head of Heritage Nigel Crowe examines British Waterways’ approach to its 2,600-plus historic structures

British Waterways manages 2,200 miles of canals and river navigations, and one of its core objectives is to conserve their heritage on behalf of the nation. BW is responsible for the third largest collection of listed buildings and structures in the UK, exceeded only by the National Trust and the Church of England. In addition to 2,792 listed buildings, BW has 45 scheduled monuments, 300 miles of linear conservation areas and many thousands of archaeological sites. BW’s historic estate also bisects or adjoins eight historic battlefields, 24 registered parks and gardens, and four World Heritage Sites. In this context, it is interesting to compare BW with other national bodies. English Heritage’s latest Biennial Conservation Report lists 24 departments and non-departmental bodies that hold important historic estates. Amongst these, BW is one of the few to have a developed operating framework for heritage with a heritage policy, management direction, heritage standards, acti…

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