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Historic illustrative value

Definition: The ability of an asset to illustrate its original purpose and the activities it supported. On a broader scale, they may also illustrate the influence of regional or national events, laws, economics, politics, religions, fashions, technology, geology, landscape and connectivity on the lives of local people.

Examples could include the way in which a church and its churchyard, boundary walls and lychgate contributes to our understanding of religious practices and traditions, the way in which Victorian purpose-built cemeteries reflected burial reforms in response to a national health crisis, or how the earthworks of a deserted medieval village tell us about its layout, population size, and relationship with the landscape.

Factors that might affect the level of the value include:

  • the rarity of the asset type
  • how clearly it conveys its purpose or reveals historic activities and uses
  • if it is still in use for its original purpose
  • the survival of historic fixtures and fittings
  • its relationship with other associated assets and contribution to a wider understanding

For example, the cottage below was built in the late 19th century by the landowners for their estate workers. The attention to architectural detailing and the investment in quality materials and finishes shows a clear commitment and financial investment to providing quality housing for estate workers. This illustrates not only the standing and prosperity of the landowners but the wider philanthropic movement in Victorian society at the time of a moral and societal duty to improve the lives of those less fortunate.

An old victorian house with a small garden


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