Upcoming Events

Keep informed about heritage issues and projects across the Commonwealth by joining us online at our next online talk.

Catch up Talks

In case you missed our heritage talks, you can watch them here.

Government Houses of the Commonwealth by Jeffrey Hyland
4th February 2021

This talk looks at the unique histories of some of over fifty Vice-Regal Residences of the Crown across the Commonwealth.

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The Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew by Francis Maude
18th February 2021

The Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew forms part of the World Heritage Site and was recently magnificently restored.

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The slave fort of Bunce Island, Sierra Leone by Isatu Smith
4th March 2021

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.

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Character Assessment in Historic Towns and Cities By Karin Taylor
18th March 2021

Character comprises myriad different elements that combine to make a place or building distinctive. Karin Taylor explains how in Fiji she worked with local volunteers using techniques of character assessment to understand the qualities that make it special.

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Antarctica: Heritage at the Extreme By Camilla Nichol, CEO UK Antarctic Heritage Trust
27th October 2021

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 scientific programmes and questions of global sustainability.

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Leveraging Digital Technology: Impacting Buildings Research & Management By Brent R. Fortenberry, Tulane University
2nd November 2021

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.

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Kolkata’s heritage and the Alipore Green City Project By Nilina Deb Lal, PhD
10th November 2021

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 1990s.

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Steering Change: 3 Maharajas of Courtly Jaipur By Dr Vibhuti Sachdev, PhD
24th November 2021

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 its age old traditions, making each change albeit radical appear seamlessly aligned with its past.

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Historic European Cemeteries in India: Tapping the Potential By Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, MBE and Charles Greig
8th December 2021

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.

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Our International Launch

Australia House in London provided the venue for our hugely successful international launch on the evening of the 11th March 2020.

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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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