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Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places

A Historic England campaign supported by specialist insurer, Ecclesiastical  

England’s historic buildings and places bring our extraordinary history to life. Identifiable spots, big and small and spread across the country, have shaped both our nation and our world. Since June 2017 Historic England, in partnership with Ecclesiastical has run a fascinating campaign to explore the places that mean the most to people and that tell the diverse stories across different aspects of the country. The campaign invited people to nominate the historical hotspots that they love, or that are local to them that they want the world to know more about.  

Divided into ten categories, the nominated places have been judged by celebrities known for their connection to that category including The Very Reverend David Ison, Dr Bettany Hughes, George Clark, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. Each judge selects ten places which are presented in a series of podcasts by Emma Barnett and Suzannah Lipscomb.  

All 100 places will feature in a glossy coffee table book; “Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places” penned by professional history writer Phillip Wilkinson and will be published in September 2018. 

Categories and podcasts 

  • Science & Discovery

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    England is a hotbed of innovation and creativity from the world’s first commercial nuclear power station to where the first vaccine was developed. 

    Lord Robert Winston has selected these places: 

    • Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London
    • Brown Firth Research Laboratory, Sheffield
    • Former ICI Laboratory, Widnes, Cheshire
    • Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes
    • Ouse Washes, March, Cambridgeshire
    • Calder Hall, Sellafield, Cumbria
    • The Jenner Hut, Berkeley, Gloucestershire
    • Water Pump on the corner of Broadwick & Poland Streets, Soho, Lonodn
    • Former MRC Biophysics Unity, Kings College London
    • Jodrell Bank Observatory, Macclesfield, Cheshire

  • Travel & Tourism

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    From Brunel's railways and Telford's bridges, to salty seaside piers and Hi-de-hi holiday camps. Where are the places that launched and harnessed the great English boom in travel and tourism? 

    Historian, author and broadcaster Bethany Hughes has selected these places:

    • Roman Baths and Pump Room, Bath, Somerset
    • The Fosse Way, Exeter to Lincoln
    • Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham
    • Scrooby Manor House, Scrooby, Nottinghamshire
    • Skerne Railway Bridge, Darlington, County Durham
    • Helvellyn, Cumbria
    • Caister Holiday Camp, Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk
    • Clevedon Pier, Clevedon, Somerset
    • Dreamland, Margate, Kent
    • Grand Hotel, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

  • Homes & Gardens

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    It's not just about Capability Brown gardens and grand stately homes. From public parks with fountains and follies to subterranean cave dwellings beneath our streets.

    Architect and TV presenter, George Clarke has selected these places:

    • The Hospital of St Cross & Almshouse of noble Poverty, Winchester, Hampshire
    • Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire
    • Great Somerford Free Gardens & Allotments, Great Somerford, Wiltshire
    • Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
    • Birkenhead Park, Wirral, Merseyside
    • Osborne House, Isle of Wight
    • Port Sunlight, Wirral, Merseyside
    • RHS Wisley, Woking, Surrey
    • Wake Green Road pre-fabs, Moseley, Birmingham
    • Park Hill, Sheffield

  • Sport & Leisure

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    Our time at play is precious, and the spaces we play in well-loved. From the terraces of ‘the beautiful game’, to the gleaming lidos of summer and the picture palaces where an extra-terrestrial stole our hearts. 

    Paralympian, crossbench peer in the House of Lords, motivational speaker and broadcaster, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE has selected these places:

    • All England Club, Wimbledon, London
    • Lord’s Cricket Ground, St John’s Wood, London
    • Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
    • Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool
    • The Mall, London
    • Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Lancashire
    • Saltdean Lido, Brighton
    • Twickenham Stadium, Sheffield
    • The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
    • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, East London

  • Music & Literature

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    Lennon, Larkin, Bronte, Behn. When poet and place met, magic was made. People have been telling their stories through music and song since the waves first lapped England's shores.   

    Writer and novelist Monica Ali has selected these places:

    • Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
    • Abbey Road Studios, St John’s Wood, London
    • Jane Austen’s House, Chawton, Hampshire
    • The 100 club, 100 Oxford Street, London
    • George Orwell’s home, Islington, London
    • The Hacienda (former nightclub and music venue), Manchester
    • The Bronte Parsonage, Haworth, West Yorkshire
    • Handel & Hendrix homes, London
    • Charles Dicken’s home, Holborn, London
    • Chetham’s Library, Manchester

  • Loss & Destruction

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    England wears its battle scars from thousands of years of conflict and disaster. From Marston Moor, the site of the largest battle ever fought on English soil, to the Oak colliery disaster in Barnsley that changed English law.

    Professor, Classicist and Writer, Mary Beard OBE has selected these places:

    • Hillsborough Football Stadium, Sheffield
    • Wreck of the SS Mendi, 11.3 nautical miles off Saint Catherine’s Point, Isle of Wight
    • Farfield Inn, Sheffield
    • The Crystal Palace, London
    • The Monument, London
    • Must Farm Bronze Age Settlement, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire
    • Ruins of Greyfriars Monastery and the village of Dunwich, Suffolk
    • The Mary Rose, Portsmouth
    • Euston Arch, King’s Cross, London
    • Ruins of Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

  • Faith and Belief

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    The places in England that have witnessed some of the most important historic events connected to a belief; mythological, supernatural or spiritual. 

    Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison has selected these places:

    • Stonehenge and its landscape, Amesbury, Salisbury
    • Holy Island of Lindisfarne, Northumberland
    • Brick Lane Mosque, Spitalfields, London
    • St Andrew’s Church, Ongar, Essex
    • Canterbury Cathedral and St Martin’s Church, Canterbury, Kent
    • Jewish Cemetery, Penryn, Falmouth, Cornwall
    • Lady’s Well, near the village of Holystone, Northumberland
    • Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick, near Birmingham
    • Farfiled Quaker Meeting House near Ilkley, West Yorkshire
    • Fountains Abbey, Ripon, North Yorkshire

  • Industry, Trade and Commerce

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    Napoleon called England a nation of shopkeepers.  For millennia, England has bartered, built, forged and fabricated its way around the globe.  

    Historian, Broadcast Journalist, Director of the V&A Museum and former Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristrum Hunt has selected these places:

    • The Old Furnace in Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire
    • Cromford Mill, Matlock, Derbyshire
    • The Rochdale Pioneers Shop, Toad Lane, Rochdale, Greater Manchester
    • The Piece Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire
    • Castlefield Canal Basin, Manchester
    • Dunston Staiths, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear
    • The Lloyds Building, Lime Street, London
    • The Blue Anchor, Helston, Cornwall
    • Middleport Pottery, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent
    • Former Morris Garage, Oxford

  • Art, Architecture & Sculpture

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    The artist and her muse are synonymous. But often the muse is a place and not a person. 

    The 'matchstick men' painter, LS Lowry, took his inspiration from the people and sights of Pendlebury in Lancashire where he lived and worked for more than 40 years. The Cornish fishing town of St Ives inspired Barbara Hepworth's sculptural work for many decades. 

    BBC Art’s Editor, Author and former Director of Tate Media, Will Gompertz has selected these places:

    Coming soon…
  • Protest & Power

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    The struggle for suffrage, suppression of strikes, houses of power, scales of justice. Where are the buildings which house our institutions? Which places have witnessed civil movements, or moments of social upheaval and mobility? 

    Historian, writer and broadcaster, David Olusoga has selected these places:

    Coming soon…
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