Manchester Lecture - Heritage, World Heritage and UNESCO: a view from the North West of England

Henry Owen-John
6th June 2019, 7:00pm

UNESCO was founded in 1945 with the aim of building peace in the minds of men and women and one of the ways in which it works towards this aim is through the 1972 World Heritage Convention.

This convention currently brings together 193 countries that have committed to collaborative working to identify, conserve, protect, interpret and transmit the values of cultural and natural heritage that is recognised as being of “outstanding universal value”.  31 properties in the UK and its overseas territories have been inscribed on the World Heritage List, including the Hadrian’s Wall, the Lake District and Liverpool, while the nomination of the Jodrell Bank Observatory will be considered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in July 2019. Henry Owen-John will explore what World Heritage status means in practice and will consider some of the challenges the UK and our World Heritage Sites in the North West of England face in satisfying the terms of the Convention, which the UK government ratified over 30 years ago.


About the speaker

Henry Owen-John is Head of International Advice at Historic England, the government’s adviser on all aspects of the historic environment of England. This role involves him in providing advice to government and others on how the terms of international heritage conventions which have been ratified by the UK government can be met.  An archaeologist by profession, Henry was the Deputy Director of the Glamorgan Gwent Archaeological Trust, before joining English Heritage (now Historic England), where he was Planning and Conservation Director for North West England from 2004 to 2014, when he took up his current role. From 2006 to 2016 he served on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, of which he was the Vice Chair from 2012. He is currently a trustee of The Blackden Trust in Cheshire which looks after the Old Medicine House a medieval timber framed building that was saved from destruction by the author Alan Garner and his family and friends.