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Heritage, leisure and city tourism

Image: Silversea cruise liner at Greenwich Reach

The first in our series of round tables looking at the future of cultural tourism for the UK is being hosted at Historic England, in London on 6th July with the organisation's Director of Planning, Ian Morrison speaking.

Ian was previously Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) where he successfully expanded the charity's advice, grants and loan services to help meet the growing demand of enterprising communities that wish to repair and re-use historic buildings they value. Previous to this, Ian was Head of Historic Environment at the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Trained as an archaeologist, Ian has helped run numerous excavations in the UK and Middle East.

Historic England are currently featuring ten places chosen by BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz that bring to life England's rich history, art, architecture and sculpture. Among them are the powerful Angel of the North, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and St Paul's Cathedral. The latter, Historic England states, is 'the jewel in the crown of London's iconic skyline ...and remains one of the country's most cherished icons'. The cathedral was part of a major rebuilding programme in the City after the the Great Fire of London. To save it from being burnt to the ground again, it was loyally defended by civilians during the Blitz of the Second World War.

Such is the affection for particular buildings and the significance they hold not only for UK citizens but tourists, it isn't surprising the devastation that has been felt up and down the country for the burnt out Glasgow School of Art, which has been largely destroyed by fire this weekend. Its' library that was destroyed by flames and then restored four years ago was thought to be the finest example of Art Nouveau in the world. At our January 'Art, Investment and Cities' RIBA forum, James Knox, Director of the Fleming-Wyfold Collection spoke of the special environment that the city creates for developing artists.

Future Cities Forum will be looking at the importance of our heritage and how it is maintained and developed as a driver for UK tourism post Brexit.

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