The Heritage Trust
Writing in Spears today, William Cash quotes Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, as saying –
‘They [the labour Government under Gordon Brown] were going to announce that the Stonehenge project was cancelled; that was what George Osborne wanted to do as well,’ recalls Thurley. ‘I was literally on the phone to the Treasury as Danny Alexander was heading into the chamber of the Commons to stop him from saying that the project would be cancelled. I got him to say that “No public money would be used”.
Which was all fine — but if he wanted the project to proceed, he had to find the money from somewhere and prove that English Heritage could indeed fund its projects. The only good news was that Thurley did have £5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a further million from a private donor. Only £21 million to go.
‘So, we had to go out and raise every single penny of it from somewhere else, and the Stonehenge project that is breaking ground later this year will be built without any government money, and I think that was quite a lesson for the government.’
How did he pull it off? ‘There were a small number of very wealthy individuals who had private trust foundations who gave us money, and the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to double their grant. We had to undertake one or two commercial activities. We sold some land actually, sold some property. And we’ve managed to get it all to stack up.’
Is this the future of Heritage GB or is there an alternative?
Full article here.