Philip Venning

In 2012 Philip retired after 28 years as fulltime Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). Previously he was a journalist, Latterly as Assistant Editor of the Times Educational Supplement. He has been a member of the Westminster Abbey Fabric Commission since 1998; and is a former Council member of the National Trust, former Vice President of the National Churches Trust, and former member of the Expert Panel of the Heritage Lottery Fund. He was a founder trustee of Heritage Link (now Heritage Alliance) and was an adviser to the BBC2 series Restoration. In 2011, he was awarded the Queen Mother Memorial Medal for contribution to building craftsmanship, and in 2012 accepted on behalf of SPAB an EU Cultural Heritage Prize Europa Nostra Award. He has lectured extensively in the UK, and to a lesser extent abroad, to a wide range of audiences. He is currently a member of the East of England Committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) and the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He was awarded an OBE 2003

 

Old Buildings: Fakes and Fallacies

Historic buildings are often not what they seem, or how we confidently and wrongly believe they ought to look. Were old houses ever built with reused ships’ timbers? Are black and white ‘Tudor’ buildings mainly a 19th century fashion? Is the appearance of many familiar historic castles as much the product of the restorers? How many of the claimed ‘secret tunnels’ from the basement to the docks or church actually exist? As well as examining some of the popular myths about old buildings the lecture will discuss the tricky philosophical issues of authenticity, and the point at which a genuine historic building is so renewed that it effectively becomes a replica. Drawing on examples from throughout the country the lecture will challenge some received wisdom, and offer some surprises.