Category Archives: Subjects to explore

UK heritage Open Days 2018 – focus on interiors

East Building Of Central Market, London
East Building Of Central Market, London, by Stevekeiretsu, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

There’s not long to go now until Wiki Loves Monuments returns in September 2018, when you can start uploading your photos of heritage monuments in the UK and try to win one of our prizes!

As we’ve been running the competition for several years now, we already have external photos of quite a few of the top tourist sites.  But we’re still missing images of many interesting local or lesser-known sites. And we have very few high-quality photographs of interiors.  With that in mind we thought we would write an update on last year’s blogpost on heritage open days to suggest places you can go to take photos of interiors.

England

For England, check out the Heritage Open Days website here. The open days this year are on 6-9 & 13-16 September and you can search for events in your area here or by region here. This is the first time that the events will be held across two weekends, as more and more places are participating.

This year there are a number of archives taking part, which you can see on this map, and there are lots of other suggestions on the website for outdoor events, family friendly events, museum events and much more. You can also read about National Trust properties which are participating in the Heritage Open Days programme on their website.

The theme of this year’s event is Extraordinary Women to mark the centenary of Women’s Suffrage, and there are a number of places to visit that tell the stories of great women such as Gertrude Bell and Marianne North.

Other events giving you a rare look into heritage sites in September include Open House London (22-23rd September).

Scotland

In Scotland the website to look at is Doors Open Days. You can see the list of events here. For more ideas, see this page.

Wales

Events in Wales are organised by Cadw. See the list of events here. For more ideas, see this page.

Join us

If you are planning on taking photos at one of these events, why not get in touch and let us know? If you are a member of Wikimedia UK (only £5 a year! Join us here). You can also borrow photographic equipment for free to help you take photos for the competition. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about how to get involved or submit your photos!

John Lubbock

Exploring WLM: mills

When someone mentions mills you might think of picturesque windmills or massive textile mills of the Industrial Revolution. Both are often protected historic sites in the UK, and Wiki Loves Monuments has plenty of impressive photos.

Herringfleet Windmill” by Fuzzypiggy is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Herringfleet was built in the early 19th century and today is a Grade II* listed building.

C Station Pump House” by Msemmett is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.
Derwent Valley Mills East Mill Belper” by Danielloh79 is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.
Elstead Mill” by Ainslie is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.
“Hartford Mill Oldham” by RevDave is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.

North West England is particularly well known for its role in the Industrial Revolution.

Jesmond Dene Mill” by PaulTurner is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.
Bridge over Hebden Water at Gibson Mill” by RevDave is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.
Thames Tunnel Mills” by King of Hearts is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.
Tone Mills Dyehouse” by Msemmett is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.

Tone Mill in Somerset was part of the largest woollen mill in South West England.

Abbey Mill from north” by Rodw is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.
Saxtead Mill” by Kevinwailes is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.
Water Mill, Ludlow, Shropshire” by Vincemc is licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.
Mapledurham Watermill” by Msemmett is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.
Broadstone Mill, Reddish” by Stevekraken is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.

Find out what historic sites are just round the corner and take part in the world’s largest photo competition!

War memorials, Wikipedia, and why you should care

The First World War caused carnage on a scale not seen before or since. In its aftermath, thousands of memorials were erected in Britain as in the other countries involved. They started as a way for communities to mourn their dead, given that the vast majority of bodies were never repatriated, and became a focal point for local remembrance ceremonies which continue a century on.

I have been editing Wikipedia since 2009 with a particular interest in military history. About two years ago, I was looking for a project related to the First World War centenary and noticed that Wikipedia’s coverage of war memorials was patchy. I decided to start with the works of Edwin Lutyens.

Lutyens is probably best known today for his country houses, but the war profoundly affected him and much of his work from 1914 onwards focused on commemorating the casualties. He designed around 50 memorials in towns, cities, and villages across England as well as one in Wales and dozens of memorials and cemeteries in France and Belgium. His most famous memorial in Britain is the Cenotaph on London’s Whitehall and this served as the model for many of his other works, including memorials in Southampton, Rochdale, and Manchester. I began by creating articles for those of Lutyens’ memorials that didn’t already have one, starting with the Gerrards Cross Memorial Building.

Gerrards Cross Memorial Building” by Harry Mitchell is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.

I started there because I’d been to Gerrards Cross with a friend and fellow Wikipedian Chris McKenna and because it’s an anomaly among Lutyens’ memorials (it was the only war memorial he designed with a functional purpose). Being a perfectionist and having a full-time job, it took me a few months but all 43 of Lutyens’ free-standing war memorials in Britain now have a Wikipedia article and I’m working my way through those that already had articles. These are taking longer because they tend to be big city centre monuments with a lot of detail to cover. So far I’ve taken five war memorial articles (Northampton, Devon County, Spalding, North Eastern Railway, and York City) to featured article status, the highest level of recognition an article can be granted by the community, which comes after months of detailed review and criticism. Eventually, I’m hoping that those will be joined by several more and that these can be showcased on Wikipedia’s main page, hopefully on major anniversaries.

Ayscoughfee Hall Gardens” (Spalding War Memorial) by Richard Croft is licensed CC BY-SA 2.0.

So how can you get involved?

Well, war memorials are everywhere. Even tiny rural villages often have a war memorial and in my opinion these are often more poignant than many of the memorials in big cities – in some cases, you can see more names on the memorial than houses in the village, which truly shows the scale of the First World War. The simplest and easiest way to get involved is to take a photo of your local war memorial or any other war memorial you pass. The good news is that many of them are listed buildings and Historic England are listing more throughout the centenary, which means you can enter photos of them into the Wiki Love Monuments Competition. It is the world’s largest photography competition, and was started to share images of our heritage. If you add your photos of war memorials near you, you are helping the whole world share in this important part of history.

Lindisfarne War Memorial” by Iain Lees is licensed CC BY-SA 2.0.

For the more adventurous, many of the listed memorials will be notable enough that you can write a Wikipedia article about them. Memorials in big cities or by famous architects will probably already have an article but there might be new information you can add. There are over 1500 memorials currently listed and Historic England are aiming to list another 1000 – there will presumably be dozens or hundreds more in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – so the chances are you won’t have to look far from home for inspiration.

Use the Wiki Loves Monuments map to enter photos into the competition.

Open days in the UK 2017

Heritage sites are opening their doors around the UK during september, giving you a chance to see some quirky, iconic and hidden places that the public does not ordinarily get to see. Most of the events are free to attend.

Around the UK, the open days are slightly different. In Northern Ireland the events take place this weekend, on the 9th and 10th of September. Over 300 properties are open during the weekend, and you can check them out here. They include Dunlace Castle, Greencastle, Drumalis country house and Rams Island.

Dunluce Castle in c.1888, from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland with no known copyright restrictions.

Open Doors in Wales is run by Cadw, the Welsh heritage body, and you can browse the events on their website here. Events run throughout the month of September, so check to see when particular places are open. Many events are on the 9th and 10th also, such as open doors at Ruthin Castle hotel, Aberdulais Tinworks, Penrhyn Castle, Dharmavajra Kadampa Buddhist Centre and Tredegar House.

Tredegar House” by Celuici is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.

In Scotland, the open days are the 23rd and 24th, and the Doors Open days website has a list of places you can see during the weekend. It has a handy map so you can browse places nearby:

Around England you can search for events on the heritageopendays.org site. Events run from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th September. Open buildings include Nottingham’s Victorian police station, Wren Library in Cambridge, Alderman Fenwick’s house in Newcastle and the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough.

In London, Open Doors takes place on September 16/17. You can apply to visit Downing Street, Gray’s Inn and Lancaster House as well as the lesser known Buddhapadipa Temple, Crystal Palace Subway, National Liberal Club, Valence House and Stationers’ Hall. There are over 800 buildings open to the public in London alone, which you can browse on the Open House London site.  

Of course, all this creates an amazing opportunity for people to go and take photos of heritage for #WikiLovesMonuments 2017! So what are you waiting for? Don’t forget to add your images with the Wiki Loves Monuments online tool.

Exploring WLM: prehistory

With 1.3 million visitors in 2014, Stonehenge is just about the most famous prehistoric site in the UK. There are some striking monuments which have withstood the elements for thousands of years, and some examples from the previous editions of Wiki Loves Monuments are below.

"Wayland Smithy Long barrow" by Msemmettis licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Wayland Smithy Long barrow” by Msemmett is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
"Badbury Rings" by Dormouse14is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Badbury Rings” by Dormouse14 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

There are about 3,500 hillforts across the UK from the Iron Age and Late Bronze Age. They can be absolutely huge, as big as 20 hectares and you often need some distance to appreciate them.

"Gwal y Filiast" by Karen Sawyeris licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Gwal y Filiast” by Karen Sawyer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
"Silbury Hill,nr.Avebury" by Dave Yatesis licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Silbury Hill,nr.Avebury” by Dave Yates is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This prehistoric mound is part of a landscape designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes Avebury and Stonehenge.

West Kennet Long Barrow – Interior” by Ark3pix is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

You don’t often get to see inside a prehistoric monument.

"Ring of Brodgar, Orkney" by Stevekeiretsuis licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Ring of Brodgar, Orkney” by Stevekeiretsu is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Orkney is renowned for its prehistoric sites, including Skara Brae (a Neolithic settlement) and the ring of Brogdar, a stone circle.

"Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumbria" by SusieAnnais licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Castlerigg Stone Circle, Cumbria” by SusieAnna is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
"4 Ballynoe Stone Circle 1" by Irishdeltaforceis licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
4 Ballynoe Stone Circle 1” by Irishdeltaforce is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
"Woodhenge, Wiltshire, Inglaterra, 2014-08-12" by Diego Delsois licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Woodhenge, Wiltshire, Inglaterra, 2014-08-12” by Diego Delso is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
"Stonehenge from the Distance" by ExtraMilePhotoUKis licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Stonehenge from the Distance” by ExtraMilePhotoUK is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

And of course no trip through the UK’s prehistory would be complete without Stonehenge!

Exploring WLM: Romans

The UK is rich with heritage and the Romans left behind their mark on the landscape. Below are some striking pictures from the UK’s first two editions of Wiki Loves Monuments. Will you be adding your photos to the mix this year?

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Termas_romanas_de_BATH.jpg
The Roman baths at Bath. “Termas romanas de BATH” by Francisco Conde Sánchez is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Bath is a very popular subject for photographers, and it’s easy to see why!

Hadrian's Wall by Tilman2007
08-Hadrians Wall-034” by Tilman2007 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Marking the northern extent of the Roman Empire, Hadrian’s Wall stretches for miles.

Remains of the Roman baths in Leicester
The Jewry Wall in Leicester. “Remains of a Roman bath house” by Purusothaman is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Masonry of the Jewry Wall by Purusothaman
Masonry of the Jewry Wall. “Roman bath house232” by Purusothaman is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Banded masonry at the Jewry Wall by Purusothaman
Banded masonry at the Jewry Wall. “Roman bath house40-1” by Purusothaman is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Roman baths at Leicester have distinctive bands of red brick

North Leigh Roman Villa by Lolalatorre
North Leigh Roman Villa” by Lolalatorre is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
A Roman capital reused as a font at St Andrew's Church, Wroxeter
A Roman capital reused as a font at St Andrew’s Church, Wroxeter. “THE FONT A RECYCLED ROMAN CAPITAL” by HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Two Roman columns reused as gate piers at St Andrew's Church, Wroxeter by HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014
Two Roman columns reused as gate piers at St Andrew’s Church, Wroxeter. “WROXETER CHURCH OF ST ANDREW” by HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Roman buildings provided a handy source of building materials, and the buildings were often dismantled for the stone to be used elsewhere.

Chester Roman amphitheatre by Emdee314
Chester Roman amphitheatre. “Roman Amphitheatre” by Emdee314 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Every good Roman town needed an amphitheatre. There were at least 230 across the Empire.

York city walls with Roman foundations by Mkooiman
York city walls with Roman foundations. “York UK Wall Roman Foundation” by Mkooiman is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Roman walls made a good foundation for later buildings, as seen here at York.

The Roman lighthouse at Dover by Brendaannc
Roman light house Dover” by Brendaannc is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Roman walls of the fort at Portchester, later adapted into a medieval castle. Photo by Johan Bakker.
The Roman walls of the fort at Portchester, later adapted into a medieval castle. “1229190-Portchester Castle” by Johan Bakker is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The defences of an abandoned Roman fort made an easily reused site for later castles.

The Roman town walls at Colchester by Maria
Colchester’s Roman walls. “The Roman Town Wall” by Maria is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
The baths within the remains of Wroxeter Roman city by Stewart Watkiss
The baths within the remains of Wroxeter Roman city. “Wroxeter Roman City remains” by Stewart Watkiss is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Want to know more about Roman Britain? Wikipedia has a wealth of information about it, including a recreation of a Roman fort by Rotherham Museums and Archives. Get snapping ready for September!