Monday 14 October 2019

Facebook link for Walled Towns Heritage and Berwick Booklet

Updates on current progress are usually first posted on Facebook - but this is the text of the participants booklet


Opening Minds – Overcoming Barriers

“Schoolchildren and their teachers are set to play a central role in a symposium. In the company of experts from across Britain and Ireland, the focus will be on the need to inspire the Greta Thunberg generation with enthusiasm for heritage and culture. ‘Opening Minds and Overcoming Barriers’ will be as much about the adults listening to the children as about explaining to them the importance of walls for the walled town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.” (Berwick Advertiser 10th Oct 2019)

Hosted by the Berwick-upon-Tweed Conservation Areas Advisory Group (CAAG)- a Forum that comprises organisations and representatives from the local community, from elected Members and from the local planning authority. Originally created in 1999 as a partnership forum with the former Berwick Borough Council, it superseded a partnership’, whose principal remit was to oversee Berwick-upon-Tweed and Holy Island of Lindisfarne Conservation Areas. Its interests cover the three Conservation Areas at the mouth of the River Tweed - Berwick, Tweedmouth and Spittal. 

Facilitated by “Walled Towns Heritage”, an initiative set up in 2017 with the patronage of Peter Osborne MBE founder and former President of the Walled Towns Friendship Circle. Its objectives are to support heritage education and activity with young people through schools and other youth organisations in walled towns in Ireland and UK. The initiative is led by a small group of experts and enthusiasts of Walled Towns.

Chair of the Meet-Up - Vicky Macdonald MA

Vicky has been a member of the European Walled Towns and Walled Towns Friendship Circle for over 20 years attending many symposia in walled towns all over Europe. She is also a member of the local Walled Towns Link with Denbigh, Conwy, Beaumaris and Caernarfon. She is a Councillor on Conwy Town Council and has been Mayor of Conwy and Constable of Conwy Castle twice.  She is Chairman of the Deganwy History Group and gives local history talks throughout the area. She has a book about the Deganwy Bathing Pool, 1933 -1962, currently at the printers.

Keynote - Dennis Rodwell,
Drawing on experiences working in historic cities across Europe and beyond, Dennis will discuss the challenges and opportunities of engaging both the interest and active contribution of young people in the multiple values that can be attributed to urban heritage, encapsulated as: community, resource, usefulness, and culture (broadly defined). In this, he will make connections beyond the conventional focus on archaeological, architectural and historical interest to key agendas of our time, including the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and subsuming environmental awareness and climate change, with which young people are increasingly and vocally engaged.
Dennis Rodwell, consultant architect-planner based in the Scottish Borders, works internationally in the field of cultural heritage and sustainable urban development. Following a series of assignments 1998 onwards for UNESCO and others, he has been closely involved in the evolution of initiatives directed at promoting a holistic and inclusive approach to management of historic cities. He researches, writes and publishes widely on the theme of conservation and sustainability in historic cities alongside issues of energy efficiency and climate change.

Website,; uploaded publications,,; website,

After lunchtime discussing the questions posed (see last page)

Presentation by Tweedmouth West First School, School Council. 6-8 pupils with Head teacher Mrs Anne Robertson

Bill Hill – “The York Walls Festival (August 2019): how it has involved young people and how they can be further engaged”
includes a short outline of the heritage represented in York’s city walls, then shows how the Friends of York Walls have used their National Lottery Heritage Fund grant in 2019 to put on an enhanced York Walls Festival. Illustrating how this has involved young people, Bill looks forward to how the Friends intend to develop a deeper engagement of young people with heritage. He will illustrate this with an example of how teachers might be offered a quarry of low-cost but stimulating learning materials from which to bespoke their own classroom practice, encouraging focused preparation and follow up to visits to heritage sites like the York walls.
York activities
Bill did a degree in English and Fine Art, then went into a career as a lecturer in further education colleges, eventually becoming a college principal. He was an HMI in further and higher education for 10 years, then went into local government senior management working in education and then regeneration. Since retiring he has been involved in community development and fund-raising in a voluntary capacity, most recently for the Friends of York Walls.

Brian Wilkinson “The Engine Shed, Historic Environment Scotland’s Building Conservation Centre.” 
Caring for the historic built environment calls for conservation skills that are in short supply. The Engine Shed is Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre, based in Stirling. Run by Historic Environment Scotland, it serves as a central hub for building and conservation professionals and the general public. In this talk I will illustrate how work undertaken at The Engine Shed is helping to encourage a greater understanding of traditional building materials and skills – and inspire future generations to continue to care for Scotland’s built heritage.
Brian is Activities Manager at The Engine Shed, Scotland’s Building Conservation Centre, in Stirling where I look after the Activities Team. We are responsible for helping visitors, the general public and the conservation and construction sectors find out about Scotland’s Traditional Buildings, Materials and Skills. Over the years I have carried out learning roles for a variety of heritage organisations including council museum services, national museums, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, and The National Trust for Scotland. I’ve undertaken freelance work making educational resources and activities for heritage bodies such as Archaeology Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland.

Jane Hebblewhite “Using the Walls - Chester’s Approach”

Despite the economic potential, archaeology and heritage is sometimes seen as a barrier to economic growth because it imposes restrictions on the opportunities for new development.    In Chester, projects such as the City Walls have been able to consider such restrictions as catalysts for innovation, encouraging us to develop new ways of thinking.     However, whilst there have been a number of successful interventions for the City Walls there continues to be a number of challenges that have yet to be overcome.   This presentation will look as some of the successes and ‘failures’, the barriers to engagement, and potential opportunities going forward.
Jane is an archaeologist and Senior Heritage Officer for Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) with specific responsibility for heritage assets, projects and community engagement.  She specialises in the heritage interpretation of archaeological sites, historic buildings and places.  Jane has worked on a portfolio of regeneration schemes, including the enhancement of Chester’s City Walls, the interpretation of Chester’s Amphitheatre and the Roman Gardens.  She has significant experience in stakeholder consultation, which includes policy makers, developers, end-users, and other heritage professionals, working closely to show how heritage can be seen as an added value.

Tour of the walls and town of Berwick-upon-Tweed with Derek Sharman, Town Guide.

Berwick c.1790
Stephen Scott, Chair of the Chamber of Trade: “Berwick’s approach to its Town Walls”
Text Box: On the walls of Chester
Berwick’s Town Walls are a unique asset,  expenditure on the Walls should be seen as an investment.  How do we get a return on this investment? The Walls need to be enjoyed by both local residents and tourists alike. How do we make this happen? Local businesses working with our heritage assets is crucial to the success of both. Why is this difficult and how do we overcome these challenges? Are there lessons that we can learn from the past or are there things that we have just forgotten? Let’s be open minded on how to utilise our heritage assets. Imaginative use of buildings is key to allow visitors and local residents to appreciate them. What are the ingredients to realise these opportunities?
Stephen, a former IT Director for a large education company,  moved to Berwick in early 2015 and now run a small Bed & Breakfast business in the town. “This puts me in a position where I speak to visitors to Berwick every day which provides an interesting and informed view of what they think of our lovely town. I am also in my first year as Chair of Berwick Chamber of Trade, which represents over 100 small businesses in Berwick this provides an informed view of the status of the local economy.”

Tel : 07764 232865

David Bruce “Student Field Trips to Walled Towns in Wales and on the continent - their value to the students and to the towns
Undergraduate and post-graduate students in tourism have for many years completed part of their studies through field tips. As their lecturer planning, developing and leading field tips, what works well for their learning and for the host walled town's appreciation of how outsiders see them, emerges as a co-operative form of tourism with benefits for visitor and town. "Seeing ourselves as others see us” as Burns put it is part of the value for the town; - the students produced formal analysis of aged> of the town- transport, accommodation, retail or entertainment but also poems and diaries, sometimes beautifully illustrated. They presented their findings in preliminary summary form to officers and councillors of the town they were visiting.
David is Secretary and convenor of “Walled. Towns Heritage" Former Principal Lecturer in Tourism and Visiting Research Fellow in Walled Towns at University of West of England, Bristol. With degrees in History and Political Economy as well as Town Planning, his career spanned transport planning and marketing and researching the impact of tourism on historic towns. He was involved with the Walled Towns Friendship Circle and European Walled Towns as Projects Co-ordinator and Academic Adviser 1990-2017 and has published articles and other papers on tourism in walled towns

Discussion Questions for Meet Up participants

1)    What might 16 or 12 or 8 or 20 or 24 year olds want to find in exploring an historic walled town and its walls', in contrast to what other age cohorts and adults might want? Are these place (Berwick, York, Chester, Conwy, Tenby or other) specific or more generic?
2)    What educational purposes might be served by introducing 16 or 12 or 8 or 20 or 24 year olds to an Historic Walled Town and its defensive walls?


DMB 13-Oct-2019

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