2015 Yearbook

3 FOREWORD In principle, and this is something politicians are acutely aware of, especially in an election year, one should be wary of making predictions. Those of you who recall my piece here last year will realise that indications of my departure were grossly exaggerated! Nevertheless, an additional year as your president has given me the gratification of seeing through the start of our new method of governance. I have dubbed this ‘experimental evolution’ because, having listened to your views, your fears and, most importantly, your aspirations for this institute, we on council felt that a gradual reworking of the way we operate provides an opportunity to better utilise the amazing breadth of experience and knowledge our membership possesses. If successful, this should fulfil the objectives you have expressed and see our position as the pre-eminent built heritage professional body in the UK continue to develop and expand. I am incredibly indebted to our director Seán O’Reilly for getting us to this stage. His insight, his perception and attention to detail they occupied – an essential extra dimension that more often than not supplies their raison d’être . Innovative approaches, such as characterisation, cross-disciplinary practices and the use of new technologies help plug these gaps. Perhaps more importantly they are also often capable of being employed by local residents and schoolchildren, allowing them to ‘see’ their sense of place and, by doing so, to foster an appreciation of the need to preserve knowingly, conserve knowledgeably and redevelop sympathetically. If this also encourages an appreciation of the need for conservation professionals like ourselves, that is a bonus we surely would applaud. My applause, of course, is for all of you and the sterling and amazingly diverse work you do. Please keep it up! Trefor Thorpe IHBC President have delivered the format we will be following for the coming year or so as we progress our way through this experiment. For my part I have merely crossed ‘t’s and dotted ‘i’s here and there and offered counsel derived, I like to think, from rather too many years of practice at the coalface. Whatever, I urge you all to embrace this important development. If you have any conviction that the cause of your chosen profession is just and worthwhile, then consider getting involved and taking part in ensuring that we maintain our voice, our position and our mandate. Ultimately, it will benefit you as much as the organisation. The IHBC’s exponential rise in influence and activity, and this at a time when we are facing critical contraction in one significant area of our field of influence – local government conservation services – is remarkable but not entirely unforeseen. We maintain the moral high ground on issues such as the Green Deal, where our arguments and the headlining of more and more horror stories about the pitfalls of cavity wall insulation at last seem to be hitting home. On VAT too, we have been an important voice of reason. Where else but the Treasury and the boardrooms of the major house builders is there any doubt about the justification for change there? Diversity is the theme for this edition of the Yearbook . There were numerous times during my career when I thought that the listing of buildings, the scheduling of ruins and even the delineation of conservation areas were a rather narrow prescription for that part of our built heritage worthy of protection and conservation. None of those measures, useful though they undoubtedly were in their time, properly took into account the broader social, historical and archaeological context of the places