Recording & listing historical sites
You can help to record Second World War sites in the New Forest or Hampshire and submit them to be considered for protection.
One of the more common questions often asked when people first start learning about discovering WW2 heritage locally is how protection and status works. The key thing to remember is just because a historical aspect (such as a pillbox) is known about locally, it doesn’t mean it’s protected as a piece of heritage.
But that’s where you can help.
You can help to record WW2 sites in the New Forest and Hampshire and also submit them to be possibly considered for protection.
Chris Kolonko, an archaeologist specialising in UK’s Second World War home front and defences, has created the following guide which explains how it works.
How to record a site of historic interest
Perhaps you want to help record preserve a military site you have found in Hampshire? Or it could be that have you found something you think isn’t recorded anywhere? What you need to do is get in touch with the Hampshire Archaeology and Historic Building Record (HAHBR) – details further down the page.
This can make a positive difference to the preservation of wartime sites in Hampshire by providing your observations, photographs and other sources of information to the HAHBR (here’s a great explainer).
The HAHBR is the Historic Environment Record (HER) for the county of Hampshire. This is a curated database of information relating to historic buildings, archaeological sites, archaeological finds, and sites of historic value in the county.
This is also Hampshire County Council’s definitive record and the information is central to informing the planning process; ensuring planning applications and development work causes as little damage as possible to archaeological sites, historic buildings, and other important features and where possible, are preserved or incorporated into new building developments.
The information is also used to inform preservation strategies for significant and important archaeological sites. HER data is also often used to inform the process of applying Listed/Scheduled status to significant monuments.
Most HERs, and their equivalents, are desperate for up-to-date information regarding 20th century military sites to help aid their work informing the planning process. Due to a lack of engagement with local HERs, we are now seeing that the archaeological record for many wartime sites is not adequate in terms of ensuring preservation by record or showing significance at a local level.
It is more important than ever to contact your local HER, add new information such as site descriptions and photos, and most importantly make your voice heard to show that wartime sites are important.
You can find contact details for the Hampshire Archaeology and Historic Building Record over on the Heritage Gateway site by clicking here.
The Hampshire Archaeology and Historic Building Record can also be searched online via Heritage Gateway or Hantsweb.
If a historical wartime site is not on the HER, then it isn’t recorded. This means that unrecorded sites or structures can be vulnerable to demolition during development. HAHBR should always be the first point of contact for finding information or recording a site.
You can find out more about the role of the HERs in the UK in this guide from the UK Second World War Heritage’s HER Guide.
By submitting any historical spots to local HERs you can help with the preservation of wartime sites. HERs need direct contact with the people responsible for providing the information to ensure as much information as possible is recorded.
How to record a site
When recording a site, the more detail the better. But even basic information can prove very useful to your local Historic Environment Record (HER).
Generally, information of the site’s location in the form of a grid reference (British National Grid or Easting and Northing), a description of what you’re recording, and some photographs of the site at the time of survey can be very helpful.
You can find some basic recording guidance in the ‘Submitting information to the HER’ section of the UK Second World War Heritage websites’ HER Guide.
For a more detailed look at archaeological site recording, please consult Chris Kolonko’s online guide.
Listing and scheduled Monuments
Listed Buildings and Scheduled Monuments are forms of Statutory Protection that offer significant, unique and historically important sites and structures additional protections during the planning process.
On a national level, Listed and Scheduled Monument status is controlled by Historic England.
Anyone can submit a site or structure to be considered for listing or scheduled status online. However, the site or structure must meet the criteria outlined by Historic England.
You can find out more information about Listing in Historic England’s What is Listing? Guide
As well as guidance on how to submit a site for Listing in the How To Get Historic Buildings or Sites Protected Through Listing guide.
The most important thing to take into account is whether a 20th century military site meets the required criteria for listing before submitting an application. The criteria for Military Structures is outlined in Historic England’s Military Structures Listing Selection Guide.
It is vitally important to understand the listing process and the criteria for listing selection before submitting a site for consideration. Essentially, you must prove in the application how the site meets the required criteria, as outlined above, and provide evidence to support the application.
The process is straightforward, and an application can be submitted online. However, time must be taken to ensure the application clearly demonstrates how the site or structure meets the required criteria.
The New Forest National Park (NFNP) has started a new initiative to encourage people to submit sites for Local Listing. Local Listing provides recognition for locally significant sites and buildings at a county, or sub-county level, rather than national level. Again, this helps to ensure an important site or building receives additional consideration during planning applications.
For more information and guidance on how to submit a site or structure to the NFNP, please consult their Local List of Heritage Assets page.
And finally… simple advice to keep you safe
Engaging with 20th century military sites can be fun and exciting but it’s always best to stay safe.
You can find some simple good practice guidelines and advice on what to do if you find unexploded munitions, over on the UK Second World War Heritage website- Good Practice Guidelines
About Chris Kolonko
Chris Kolonko has previously completed national archaeological projects for Historic England and the Council for British Archaeology focussing on researching, recording and interpreting 20th century military sites in the UK. You can visit his website or follow him on Twitter.