Walled Towns Heritage Commission

We are pleased to announce a new initiative launched in Berwick-upon-Tweed 19th October 2017

Walled Towns Heritage Commission:
a proposal to develop local Walled Town
‘Advocates’.

In July 2017, Peter Osborne MBE, Life President of Walled Towns Friendship Circle, founded in 1989 in Tenby (now European Walled Towns) proposed funding what he has called a ‘Walled Town Heritage Commission’. Contact point is David Bruce.

Peter Osborne’s vision is for each walled town to keep their heritage alive through the generations by getting the children of the town to inspire their parents and elders. But who will inspire the children? Working with or selected from among primary and middle school heads and teachers, or perhaps more specialist secondary teachers, local walled towns heritage ‘Advocates’ will be charged with this role.
To generate this series of essentially local initiatives, David Bruce on behalf of Peter Osborne has invited a small group of Walled Town heritage specialists, all active and/or former members of European Walled Towns or associated with member/former member towns to form a Walled Towns Heritage Commission to appoint a roving ‘Commissioner’ who will prepare guidance for and visit walled towns to promote the initiation of the local advocates as well as developing longer term funding proposals to extend the initiative. Based on earlier versions of this paper a meeting was convened in Berwick-upon-Tweed on 18th October 2017, at which the Walled Towns Heritage Commission was established.
The purpose of the Commission has been specified as:
To generate a series of local initiatives, within the isles of Ireland and Britain[1] for identifying local advocates of the heritage of the walled town, particularly for local schools, as well as developing longer term funding proposals to sustain the activity.
This purpose is to be achieved in the light of and building on the three foundations of the Piran Declaration, the Canterbury Accord and the objective “to have a continuum beyond our own lifetimes” (John Price MBE) of ‘The Young in the Shelter of the Walls’.
To achieve this purpose, these invitees, as individual Members of the Commission (not normally as representatives of their towns) are making arrangements to fund and manage the work of the roving Walled Towns Commissioner (WTC).

The Founder Members of the Commission are
Peter Osborne, MBE
Founder and Life President of Walled Towns Friendship Circle (now European Walled Towns) has been appointed
Patron and Honorary Member
Anne Scicluna

(apologies for absence) Associated with Chichester and a Vice President of EWT, nominated and elected in telephone contact with the Berwick meeting as
Chair and Member
Margaret and Bernard Shaw
Associated with Berwick-upon-Tweed; nominated and elected as
Treasurer and Member
David Bruce
Associated with walled towns research and academic adviser to EWT; nominated and elected as 
Hon Sec and Member
Jane Hebblewhite
Associated with Chester Museum and as an Officer implicitly representing Cheshire West and Chester (CWaC)
Member
Trevor Hallett
Associated with Tenby and origins of Walled Towns Friendship Circle
Member
Mark Lusby

Associated with Friends of Derry Walls and PhD student of walled towns heritage
Member
Vicky Macdonald

Associated with Conwy and Associate Members of EWT
Member
Medwyn Jones
(apologies for absence) Associated with North Wales Walled Towns
To be re-invited
Eamonn McEneaney
Associated with Waterford Museum, Ireland
To be invited


Trevor, Vicky, Jane and Mark - four members of the WTHC
 Further co-options may be made in due course.
Should any one of the Members taking on paid work for the Commission, he or she will need first to resign their Membership of the Commission. Membership of the Commission is limited to twelve.
The Commission’s plans are grounded in the work of Walled Towns Friendship Circle (now European Walled Towns) starting with the Piran Declaration (1998)
Walled Towns are unique inheritances from times long past
 and should be treasured, maintained and safeguarded
from neglect and destruction
and passed into perpetuity as irreplaceable
'Timestones of History‘                         Peter Osborne MBE 
Developing the declaration we can say that each walled town is a unique inheritance[ ] from times long past. Emphasising the importance of conservation and heritage interpretation to treasure, maintain and safeguard from neglect and destruction each walled town needs plans and programmes to pass on that heritage into perpetuity as irreplaceable 'Timestones of History’.

Similarly we can incorporate the Canterbury Accord, agreed by the WTFC Symposium in 2008,
Walled Towns in the Friendship Circle are expected to evolve as sanctuaries of Conciliation and Peace   Peter Osborne MBE

This will help ensure that different heritages, present or potentially present in a walled town are fully and fairly included. To quote UNESCO’s NARA Declaration (1996) “the heritage of one is the heritage of all”. There is risk that local heritage can just encourage a chauvinism, inimical to outsiders, migrants and refugees.
Some years ago, UNESCO performed the role of the catalyst for the town in Piran/Pirano which led on to the WTFC 2006 project “The Young in the Shelter of Town Walls” (2006). The invaluable experience of working with schools in the walled towns of the project including Chester (which incorporated the SEEN project) was shared with five other European towns and can be built on for the current proposal. As the then President of WTFC, put it
The Young in the Shelter of Town Walls” Intent
is to give
the cultural heritage of each Walled Town
 “a continuum beyond our own lifetimes”.
John Price MBE
Scrolls of the Piran Declaration, Canterbury Accord and “The Young in the Shelter of the Walls” Intent, adapted to the individual walled town might be awarded to school children or others associated with this project.
In England, each Walled Towns Heritage Advocate will in many cases be able to work with a local councillor ‘Heritage Champion’ as promoted by English heritage[2] but will be distinguished from that role as (1) independent of the local authority and not time limited by the electoral cycle and (2) focussed on the walled town or walled town centre itself and the associated gates and towns walls.
Similar relations with local authorities and national heritage bodies are expected to be built up in Ireland, Wales and Scotland. CADW in Wales is understood to favour a similar approach.
Recognising that every walled town will be at a different level of heritage awareness and have different patterns of schools and colleges, the work of the roving Walled Towns Commissioner (WTC) will be expected to adopt appropriate approaches, using existing and developing local walled town contacts. The aim will be to identify the local advocate and support him or her carrying on the work of promoting walled towns conservation to future generations. The WTC’s work might be rather like that of the Education Officer of a Museum.

The Proposal for 2018

The Commission is setting a brief to develop and realise the work of the roving ‘Walled Town Commissioner' (WTC). This work of researching and generating the Teaching Pack/App for the use of the local ‘Advocate’ of walled town heritage, will initially be funded from a small fund managed by the Walled Towns Heritage Commission. The work will include developing the concept, making personal contact with relevant and useful people in each walled town and bidding for continuation funding.
A proposal for a tightly drawn brief to be drafted by Members to commission such a Teaching Pack/App is being discussed and agreed by the Members of the WTHC



A Teaching pack / App
for (final) year of Primary/ Middle Schools close to or within walled towns.
Each walled town will be encouraged to appoint a local Walled Town Heritage Advocate
In consultation with ‘Advocates’ set up in at least four walled towns in Ireland and UK working with say (or at least) six primary or middle schoolsthe Teaching Pack/App will be local but must also be more broadly applicable and capable of being replicated and developed year by year into the future.
The Teaching Pack/App will have physical - card, picture, verbal, modelling even origami or edible elements for children to work with and create
AS WELL AS
digital elements and virtual tours etc. perhaps giving substance to the phrase ‘artificial inheritage’[3] coined at the Berwick symposium.






















An individual commissioned to fulfill this brief will be given the title of ‘’Walled Towns Commissioner’ and will be paid for successful intermediate outcomes and for the Teaching Pack/App itself within a specified time limit.
The work throughout will be guided by and reported to the Walled Towns Heritage Commission (WTHC).

The Walled Towns Heritage Commission will thus mark, in Ireland and Great Britain, the 20th Anniversary of the Piran/Pirano Declaration by promoting and conserving the walled town heritage and passing it ‘on into perpetuity'. Supported by the work of the Walled towns Commissioner, the ’Advocates’ appointed will explore the history and heritage of their own specific walled town with their own young people - generation by generation. Local schools, particularly primary and middle schools will be the key to transmitting that walled town heritage, in effect making it a localised part of the 'national' curriculum.




Time schedule

2017
Jul           Peter Osborne MBE, Life President of Walled Towns Friendship Circle (now European Walled Towns) expresses the idea.
·         Aug/Sept             David Bruce develops the proposal and responds to Peter 0.
·         Sep                        Invitations to steering group to respond with comments.
·         Oct                         Publically announced proposal at Berwick Heritage Days 18th-19th October.
o   initial discussion among those present and keeping others touch, officers elected and  minutes produced
·         Nov Dec 2017     Propose and develop brief and procedures for WTHC by email
o   set up 'constitution' and bank account
2018
The Twentieth Anniversary of the Piran Declaration and Tenth of the Canterbury Accord.
-          a speculative programme which could be accelerated with WTHC in place earlier
·         Jan agree Budget the funds available
·         Feb agree patterns and procedure for the work of the Walled Towns Commissioner WTC. Begin establishment of Website and social media
    2nd Meeting of WTHC
·         Mar-Final agreement of Brief for work of WTC.
·         April-. WTC begins work , with funds to be made available
·         May - Prepare for and plan for WTC visiting selected Walled Towns in UK & Ireland
·         Jun, July WTC visits to a small number of towns
·         Aug-[pause]
·         Sept - Draft applications to funding trusts etc.
·         Sept - First report and presentation to the European Walled Towns symposium.
·         Oct - Report to Berwick-Upon-Tweed Heritage Days, which will include draft or even published Teachers’ Pack/App for their local walled town heritage with trial implementation at selected schools local in or close to a Walled Town.
(Future programme to be developed)
DMB/PO                                               30th October 2017




[1] In the light of expected BREXIT in 2019, we feel that an ‘all islands’ approach including both the UK and the Irish Republic is best as it will retain an overlap with both the European Union and the UK, which is very important to certain of the walled towns and important to all of them in these islands.
[2] https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/planning/local-heritage/heritage-champions/what-is-a-heritage-champion/ for details of this role and a wealth of advice on general heritage promotion.
[3] This phrase seems to be original but ‘inHeritage’ (sic) is used as the name of a heritage interpretation consultancy www.inheritage.co.uk and @inheritage.eu on Twitter. As a word OED lists ‘inheritage’ as a rare synonym for heritage and/or inheritance. An arcade game from Tinker games is called INheritage:BOE (sic), based on a music album of 2012