Annual report and accounts

Professor Keith Lilley writes about the past year's activities of the Historic Towns Trust

HTT management and governance

The HTT welcomes two new Trustees, Dr Keith Parry and Dr Alice Prochaska. Dr Parry is also the Honorary Treasurer of the HTT, having taken over this role from Mr Anthony Weale, who has served as Treasurer for the HTT for over forty years. Dr Prochaska’s role as Development Trustee is also key, and together with Dr Parry the HTT has secured two very dynamic and experienced Trustees. As a mark of Mr Weale’s long service to the HTT he was presented with a framed print by the Board of Trustees in March 2018. Mr Weale continues to serve as a Trustee and now chairs the Strategy and Fundraising Group (SFG).

The HTT Board of Trustees met twice between October 2017 and September 2018. Key areas of decision-making by the Board include future strategy for the British Historic Towns Atlas (BHTA). The Board has seen and approved a strategy document prepared by the Executive Sub-Committee (ESC) and SFG, identifying key criteria for the development of new BHTA projects and to provide a framework for new publications projects for the next 5-10 years. To progress the business of the HTT and the Board, the ESC and SFG continue to meet regularly, every few months, and oversee its day-to-day operations. To further support the HTT the decision was taken by the HTT Board in September 2018 to resource a new salaried position, a Project Development Officer, for a fixed term of two years.

Publications and projects

The British Historic Towns Atlas, Volume VI, Winchester was published in November 2017. The editors of the volume, Professor Martin Biddle and Professor Derek Keene are to be congratulated for the completion of the atlas, which was launched in Winchester on 15 November 2017. The atlas and launch event were supported by the Winchester Excavations Committee (WEC), and the HTT is very grateful to the WEC for this. The atlas follows the very successful HTA of York (Volume V), published in 2015. We look forward to the publication of our next BHTA, Volume VII for the City of Oxford, which is also progressing well.

Other significant publications by the HTT include a completely new and revised Map of London c.1520 now published under the title A Map of Tudor London. Thanks to a very generous grant of £8000 received from the London Topographical Society, the republication of the out-of-print London c.1520 historical map involved reformatting the map into the new HTT Town & City Historical Map series, rescaling and re-projecting it, and updating significantly the content of the map through new research.  The map was launched in June 2018, and also features in the highly regarded Layers of London online digital resource. As well as publishing the map of Tudor London, the HTT also published this year the Historical Map of York, taking the opportunity to reprint the previous edition entirely in colour and also reformat the map. Both maps are selling well.

 

New atlas projects for the BHTA series are being explored, including an atlas of Canterbury. Map projects for Bristol, Cambridge and Coventry, updating previous HTA maps of these cities, are also under discussion.

Public engagement and outreach

The HTT continues to advance its work through events and public outreach activities. This year these included attending the Oxfordshire Family History Fair in October 2017, and also collaborating with Dr James Davis (Queen’s University Belfast) in four public events as part of the British Academy funded Medieval Street Life project, one each in Norwich (21 January 2018), Bristol (18 February), York (23 February) and London (16 March). These included talks about the HTT and our publications. Continuing our collaboration with the Irish Historic Towns Atlas (IHTA), the HTT co-convened the IHTA Annual Seminar in Dublin in May 2018. This year’s topic was 'Modernising Townscapes: Urban Evolution in Ireland and Great Britain from the Reformation to Industrialisation, 1540–1840'. The programme included a presentation of the British Historic Towns Atlas, volume IV, Windsor and Eton to the British Ambassador in Dublin, as well as a workshop on the creation of digital HTAs.

Professor Keith Lilley (left), presents the British Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland with a copy of BHTA Volume IV

(courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy)

Already plans are in place for marking 50 years since the publication of the first British Historic Towns Atlas, in 1969. The first British HTA was also the first European Historic Towns Atlas, and the BHTA continues to make an active contribution to the European project, both through our publications and also through involvement with the International Commission for the History of Towns, the body that connects the various national European HTAs.

Keith Lilley

October  2018

 

The HTT's accounting year runs from 1st October to 30th September. The report and accounts for the Historic Towns Trust for the year ended 30th September 2017 are available below to view as a PDF. The accounts for the year 2017-2018 will appear in the early part of 2019.