Upcoming Events

Keep informed about heritage issues and projects across the Commonwealth by joining us online at our next online talk. We do not charge a fee to host these talks but if you would like to make a donation it would be greatly appreciated.

Previous Talks

The Singapore Botanic Gardens was an exemplary site for colonial botany. Scientists sent from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew worked in the institution – founded in 1859 – to identify Southeast Asian flora while also acclimatizing foreign species to support efforts to promote plantation agriculture in the region. The work undertaken in the Gardens ultimately […]
This event features two short talks about the AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden – Past and Present, Marine Bellégo; the Roxburgh Project, Nilina Deb Lal. The Calcutta Botanic Garden: Past and Present - Marine Bellégo, PhD. This paper focuses on the intermingling of past and present in the Calcutta garden and the ways in which […]
This illustrated lecture will look at the history and heritage of South Africa’s old botanic gardens, those which survived and those now gone. It will include the old Dutch East India garden in Cape Town, which dates from the 1650s; the network of British colonial botanic gardens in the Cape and Natal (KwaZulu-Natal) and the […]
Book your free ticket here. Find out more about the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a stunning surviving Victorian glass and iron building. The Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is perhaps the finest surviving Victorian glass and iron building in the world. One of the earliest prefabricated buildings, the Palm House […]
Book your free ticket here. For more than 300 years Britons and other Europeans came to India seeking fame and fortune. Some achieved success and reward and returned ‘home’, others including family members found their last resting place in the subcontinent. Life for many was just two monsoons. Around two million souls lie in hundreds of cemeteries […]
Book your free ticket here. Since its inception in 1727, the court of Jaipur with its every reign, has taken on challenges of new growth and development. Adopting new mindsets and modern technologies has meant that the courtly culture of Jaipur has been at the forefront of innovations. But it has done so with careful negotiations with […]
Book your free ticket here. Calcutta / Kolkata – erstwhile capital of British India, is considered to be a city worthy of world heritage status. With an abundance of nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings, an ambience, lifestyle and culture unique unto itself, Calcutta’s heritage consciousness is of relatively recent provenance, having found a voice only in […]
The Forum is working in partnership with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on a £4.5 million programme to train young people in heritage and craft skills and develop up to 20 practical conservation projects across the Commonwealth. It is the largest Commonwealth heritage project ever undertaken and will be launched in mid-May to mark H.M.The Queen’s […]
Digital technology such as laser scanning, photogrammetry, and aerial survey, are becoming increasingly common in the fields of architecture and allied fields of the built environment. Digital technology promises faster, more accurate ways to capture and represent historic building information.
Book your free ticket here. Camilla Nichol details our presence on Antarctica for the last two centuries and challenges posed to heritage in this extreme context. The last two centuries of human activity in Antarctica has seen a rapid evolution from discovery to exploitation; heroic exploration and a geopolitical arms race for sovereignty and today through international […]
Book a free ticket here. “Character” comprises a number of different elements that combine to create the overall significance and value of a building or place.  This webinar will address character in the built environment, considering what contributes to character and how it might be assessed.  Developing understanding of what is special about a place will […]
Book a free ticket here. Booking closes at 12:00 tomorrow.This talk, by Isatu Smith, will address Bunce Island's history including its phases of construction, uses and life on the island, and preservation efforts. Bunce Island is one of forty slave forts operated by Europeans along the West African coast. It was operated as the headquarter for British […]

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Our International Launch

The evening attracted a full house, including High Commissioners from many Commonwealth countries, members of both houses of parliament, and leading architects and conservationists.

After warmly welcoming everyone, His Excellency George Brandis QC, the High Commissioner for Australia, spoke eloquently about the importance of working together across the Commonwealth to preserve our past and define our future. He stressed that ‘our family of nations share not only an architectural past, but a common future for the built environment’.

Our founding patron, Sir Rodney Williams, the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda, a passionate believer in Commonwealth values, then gave the inaugural address: ‘we are the guardians of a unique heritage for those that come after us,’ he said. ‘Much is vulnerable, and we need to pass it on to future generations in a better state than we found it. Understanding this legacy, and the buildings and places that bear witness to it, is a crucial part of our individual identity and collective sense of belonging’.

Sir Rodney highlighted the challenges faced by small island states – climate change, hurricanes, fire, neglect, dereliction and inadequate resources. He welcomed the access to specialist expertise that the CHF could offer.

We were fortunate to have Yasmeen Lari, one of our most eminent International Advisory Committee members at the launch. Yasmeen was in London to collect the prestigious Jane Drew Prize for Women in Architecture. She told the audience about the pioneering work the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan had been doing in Karachi to promote the co-ordinated restoration and repair of shared heritage buildings where there is keen interest in setting up a local chapter of the CHF.

Chair of the CHF, Philip Davies explained that our shared built heritage had been crafted by local people over many generations. It is a key aspect of the national identity of many Commonwealth nations and the links that bind us together. ‘Each’, he said, is part of an extended family of nations whose lives, histories and futures are all deeply intertwined.’

Philip took the opportunity to announce a partnership with Oxford Brookes University and Texas A&M University to help countries prepare registers of heritage at risk starting with a pilot project in Barbados. This will involve working with local heritage bodies to train young people and volunteers in specialist techniques, which in turn will build local skills, employment opportunities and resilience.

The CHF can make a real difference.

Photos by David Madden @ www.dmphoto.co.uk

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