2016 -The Year of (in) authenticity

  2016 has been the year of (in) authenticity. Politicians have been described as authentic because they are plain-speaking and inauthentic because they are conducting ‘post-truth’ campaigns, the TV programmes Westworld and Humans blur ideas of real and fake, the words authentic, artisan and heritage are the adjectives of choice describing everything from cities, to…

Heritage Theme Park Britain? I blame the bunting.

Other people’s places on my mind: An empty meadow near Morecambe, a cornfield in Dorset, Taksim Square in Turkey, a villa in Tuscany where my baby Great-Niece tries to stand for the first time. I’ve worked in heritage for many years and from stately homes to Bake-Off it is my passion, but over the past…

A steam train to Bodiam Castle: I seem to have something in my eye

Other People’s Places: Hitchhiking to the South of France in 1975 and feeling disappointed with Nice, all roads leading to Anglesea. Riding on a steam train somehow evokes vintage and filmic memories, such as the ‘Brief Encounter’ line “Oh dear, I seem to have a smut in my eye” or the whistled message and writing…

Gilding the goldfish: The painted past

Other People’s Places: New York in the 70’s, The Galapagos Islands, a flat above a butcher’s on Garrett Lane in the early 1990’s, where we used to live. I went to the Defining Beauty Exhibition at the British Museum. It reminded me that classical statues were once decorated with paint, material and, in some cases,…

An outpouring of anniversaries – Places in the sky

Other People’s Places: The Battle of Waterloo. Runnymede. An airfield in WW2. Flying Fortresses. This lunchtime, my father, who is 91, put down his soup spoon, muted the news and lifted a finger, indicating we should listen to the sound of distant thunder. His ear was once attuned to this particular sound. He got to…