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From the Wash to the White Cliffs: The Contribution of the Heritage Sector to Society and the Economy

Gill, David W.J. and Kelleher, M.E. and Matthews, Peter and Pepperell, Tallulah Maait and Taylor, Hannah and Harrison, Mark and Moore, Christopher and Winder, Jon (2022) From the Wash to the White Cliffs: The Contribution of the Heritage Sector to Society and the Economy. Project report. Eastern Academic Research Consortium, Kent, UK 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.96160. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.96160) (KAR id:96160)


This report reviews the contribution of heritage to the region defined by the counties of Kent, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. It identifies four key themes that link the heritage in the region: coastal defence; Christian heritage; historic houses; and historic landscapes and natural heritage. The region contains one UNESCO World Heritage Site at Canterbury. Heritage is supported by the development of several Heritage Action Zones and High Street Heritage Action Zones across the four counties.

Heritage features in the strategies for the two regional Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), as well as countywide and local authority heritage and cultural strategies. The report identifies examples of good practice.

Several research themes have been identified that link to the interests of the three sponsoring universities of East Anglia, Essex, and Kent. Coastal heritage across the four counties is facing the threat of the climate crisis and assets are being lost due to coastal erosion. The impact of rising sea levels is also assessed. Heritage and cultural property crime affects the sustainability of heritage and cultural property across the region. Five case studies are presented: damage to churches, including lead roof theft; illegal metal-detecting and the disposal of finds; architectural theft; vandalism; and the use of technology to facilitate crime against heritage assets. The third research theme relates to the way that the DCI sector works with heritage organisation to record and interpret assets. The development of a county based Digital Heritage Strategy for Suffolk is highlighted.

The economic benefits of heritage are explored through the award of National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) grants to heritage projects. Between 2013 and 2020 the EARC region was awarded over £190 million for heritage projects by NLHF. In addition, the report explores visitor trends and identifies the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism economy for the region. Historic England estimates that the heritage sector accounted for 140,000 jobs in the south east, and eastern England in 2019.

The social benefits of heritage align with the UK Government’s Levelling-Up agenda. This is explored through a number of sub-themes: health and well-being; pride in place; digital connectivity; education and skills.

The report concludes with a reflection on the challenges facing heritage across the region. This includes encouraging public participation with museums and archives.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Project report)
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.96160
Uncontrolled keywords: heritage archaeology Kent Essex Suffolk Norfolk climate change coastal erosion digital creative industries crime cultural property tourism economy levelling-up
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: David Gill
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2022 11:21 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2022 13:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Gill, David W.J..

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Kelleher, M.E..

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Matthews, Peter.

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Pepperell, Tallulah Maait.

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Moore, Christopher.

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Winder, Jon.

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