No Going Back – remembering when British archaeology changed forever
In 1990, the UK government introduced guidance relating to spatial planning that transferred
responsibility for the funding of preventative or ‘rescue’ archaeological work from the state to the
developers that were threatening archaeological remains. The publication of this document – Planning
Policy Guidance note 16: Archaeology and Planning, known as PPG16 – led to the single most radical
change there has ever been in British archaeology, with the rapid and unprecedented expansion of
commercial archaeological practice.
This document established that if developers wanted to get permission for their work to go ahead and
that if their work would impact on archaeological remains, then they would be responsible for
mitigating against that impact. This could be through excavation leading to preservation by record, or
alternatively by redesigning the scheme to avoid impact altogether (preservation in situ).While
commercial archaeology had previously existed in the UK, it was on a precarious basis which relied
heavily on voluntary contributions and state support. With the embedding of the polluter-pays
principle, archaeological practice found itself to be in demand, and potentially on a more secure footing.
This paper is the report of an oral history project, where interviews were carried out with key individuals
– archaeologists in the state service and local government who influenced the civil servants and
policymakers of the time – who were the creators of PPG16 and who directly experienced its
introduction. It explores memories, anticipations of and reactions to the creation of the document that
changed the nature of archaeology in the UK more than any other and which has had impact on policy-
making across Europe and beyond.
What was the thinking behind the creation of this seemingly innocuous policy? Who shaped it,
archaeologists or politicians? To what ends? Did they realise the impact that it would have, the way
that it would change the very nature of archaeological practice across the country? Did they anticipate
the enormous growth of the professional archaeology? Were those changes welcomed by
archaeologists, by the then government or by society as a whole in 1990? And are they welcomed by
these same stakeholders two decades later?
Part I: Collecting Memories
Planning and Archaeology is a Planning Policy Guidance Note (number 16). It was published by the UK
government in 1990 (DoE 1990b).
Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPG) were statements of the Government's national policy and
principles towards certain aspects of the spatial planning framework in England (similar documents
presented policy in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales). They were introduced by the Town and
Country Planning Act 1990 and have been progressively replaced by Planning Policy Statements (PPS)
under the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
PPGs were guidance to local authorities (which had to be followed) in the preparation of their Local
Development Framework (previously Structure Plans and Local Plans) which set out the rules by which
applications for planning permission – applications to build on land or change the use of land or
buildings - must be decided.
PPG16’s great significance for archaeological practice was that, following its publication, the
Government’s “rules” established that the presence of archaeological remains had become a material
consideration in planning decisions, and that this would have to be taken on board by all local planning
authorities – and that if a site was not to be preserved in situ, the developer would have to arrange for
the site to be excavated and recorded.
Para 25 – Where planning authorities decide that the physical preservation in situ of
archaeological remains is not justified in the circumstances of the case and that development
resulting in the destruction of the archaeological remains should proceed, it would be entirely
reasonable for the planning authority to satisfy itself before granting planning permission, that
the developer has made appropriate and satisfactory provision for the excavation and recording
of the remains. Such excavation and recording should be carried out before development
commences, working to a project brief prepared by the planning authority and taking advice from
archaeological consultants (DoE 1990b, author’s emphasis).
The implementation of PPG16 then led to a massive and unprecedented expansion of commercial
archaeology, initially in England and then across the rest of the UK when comparable planning guidance
was subsequently introduced.
Its introduction came at time when there had just been a drop in the number of people working in
archaeology in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was partly the result of the end of the Manpower
Services Commission (MSC)’s Community Programme in 1988 (McAdam, 1995: 98). The MSC Community
Programme was a governmental unemployment relief scheme which had provided a source of funding
for archaeological research projects and increased individual participation. The drop in archaeological
employment was also partly the consequence of an economic downturn in 1990 which led to a
reduction in the amount of construction work being undertaken and a consequent drop in associated
archaeological fieldwork (CBA, 1991: 1).
Furthermore, the contents and potential impact of PPG16 directly influenced the contents of the
Valletta Convention (Willems, 2006).
There has been relatively little published about the genesis of such an important document – Geoffrey
Wainwright discussed it in his valedictory article “Time Please” (Wainwright, 2000), but not the whole
process of its creation. At the time that this research was carried out (in 2008), the document was
reaching the end of its working life and those that contributed to its preparation were themselves
imminently becoming part of the archaeological record! As well as secondary sources, this work has
primarily relied upon interviews with Mike Parker-Pearson, Paul Chadwick, Graham Fairclough and Geoff
Wainwright. The author also would like to thank Dai Morgan-Evans, who was also interviewed but who
has not been quoted as extensively below.
Interview with Mike Parker-Pearson – claims of authorship
This author’s first awareness of PPG16 was as a Masters student at the University of Sheffield in 1996.
Teaching the Heritage Management course, Mike Parker-Pearson proudly told the class that he had
written this document.
Mike Parker-Pearson had started work for English Heritage in 1984, as an Inspector of Ancient
Monuments. At that time English Heritage were moving away from core funding organisations to
supporting fieldwork on a project-by-project basis. In the 1980s, there was no high-level guidance, but
English Heritage were trying to get local authorities to adopt appropriate local policies – and some
progressive authorities, in the south of England, were beginning to do this.
A number of people at English Heritage were involved in thinking about policy, and a key player was Paul
Gosling, formerly of English Heritage and now retired. Paul Gosling actively sought to engage with local
authorities in doing this, and in particular he worked closely with Paul Chadwick, the then Berkshire
County Archaeologist, looking to get clauses into the Berkshire structure and local plans.
Paul Gosling was the first person to talk cogently about planning guidance and archaeology, but was
unlikely to ever write this down, and so Mike Parker-Pearson recognised that it needed to be formulated
and set in context. There was a certain level of tension at English Heritage over the lack of central
control as this process was going on, and one of Mike Parker-Pearson’s closest colleagues was Graham
Interview with Graham Fairclough – drafting and shaping
In January 1987, Graham Fairclough was starting to write a “planning circular”, and by June 1987 there
was the first mention of planning guidance to be published by English Heritage. It is important to
recognise that planners see guidance as being a way to ensure that the planning process is correctly
followed, not as a significant economic or environmental political tool.
Graham Fairclough and Mike Parker-Pearson worked together, drafting an outline on Graham
Fairclough’s kitchen table in St Albans in May 1987. By June 1987, there was a 25 page document, with a
third draft by August 1987. Mike Parker-Pearson had written most of the text, but an IT failure meant
that this first full draft of the document was lost.
A second copy was produced, brought to the English Heritage office – and Geoff Wainwright, the Chief
Inspector of Ancient Monuments (the most senior archaeologist) thought it was not yet the time to
make this public, but that the problem should be tackled ‘by stealth’.
Drafts were then bounced back and forward between English Heritage and civil servants at the
Department of the Environment, Paul Gosling noted to Graham Fairclough that progress was “slow but
satisfactory” and by July 1988, Geoff Wainwright had recorded “Archaeology and Planning” as its title.
By January 1989, the preferred title had changed to “Ancient Monuments and Planning”
Following debates in the House of Commons on 15 May and 15 June 1989 (Hansard 1989b, 1989c), the
Minister to announce that new guidance would be issued that summer. By September 1989, it was
being rewritten again by the civil servants; English Heritage was trying to make sure it stayed as strong
as possible - emphasising preservation, as they recognised that the government would dislike the
elements that related to financial provisions.
This draft was circulated for comment in October 1989 and a public consultation draft was issued in
February 1990 (DoE 1990a). There were still concerns about the references to the funding of
archaeological work at this time.
Interview with Paul Chadwick – implementing policies on the ground
In the early 1980s, Michael Heseltine (the then Secretary of State for the Environment) actively sought
development areas to the west of Heathrow Airport. This followed his 1980 endorsement a plan to build
8000 houses in Central Berkshire and 4000 in the Bracknell area (Short, Fleming & Witt 1986, 242). This
area of Berkshire between Reading and Bracknell then became known as “Heseltown”. Opposition from
elected members of the local planning authority (Berkshire County Council) to further development
coincided with a review of the Berkshire local, structure and minerals plans in about 1984-85. There had
never been any archaeological policies, so the archaeological advisers to the planning authority were
operating in a policy vacuum.
Paul Chadwick had taken up the post of County Archaeologist 1983. At that time, another Paul, the
English Heritage regional Inspector Paul Gosling was responsible for pump-priming the creation of such
posts in local government, and this meant that Paul Chadwick was located in the planning department
alongside sympathetic planners such as David Scott.
Previously, the case law of Hoveringham Gravels vs Secretary of State in 1975 had established that local
planning authorities could protect both Scheduled and unscheduled archaeological sites by refusing
planning permission: that meant archaeology was a material consideration in planning decisions, but
momentum to implement this decision in wider planning practice was then lost. However, this
precedent meant that plans could be drafted on this basis.
In 1984-5, Tarmac, a major aggregates supplier, wanted to extract gravel at the site of Anslow’s
Cottages, Burghfield. There was no requirement from Berkshire County Council for any
predetermination archaeological work (work before the Council granted permission), which then meant
that the Council gave permission for the extraction to go ahead with a watching brief, which revealed a
well-preserved Bronze Age site (Butterworth & Lobb 1992), which the local media picked up on. The
Council then had to fund the investigation of the site, as in-situ preservation wasn’t an option in this
instance because permission for the gravel extraction had already been granted. The consequence of
this case was to make Berkshire County Council keener to see developers foot the bill for archaeological
work which their actions required.
This then led to the introduction of draft plans, which included novel techniques such as desk-based
assessments of archaeological potential. This approach was completely new, and possibly the first one in
Berkshire was written by Tim Darvill (as Principal of Timothy Darvill Archaeological Consultants) for
Woodcray Manor golf course near Wokingham (this was certainly in the first half dozen desk-based
assessments to be written in England – Tim Darvill pers. comm.).
Such changes weren’t happening in all of Berkshire’s neighbouring counties – this was particularly the
case in counties such as Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire where the county archaeologist was placed
with the county museum service, not with planning service as in Berkshire. He also received significant
support from English Heritage Inspectors like Steve Trow and the aforementioned Paul Gosling.
Interview with Geoff Wainwright – in the eye of the storm
By the end of the 1980s, damage to archaeological sites was becoming a phenomenon in the public eye
– very visibly with the Queen’s Hotel site in York, where a significant depth of urban stratigraphy
extending back through Viking to Roman deposits was destroyed unrecorded (or with the thinnest of
watching briefs) from late 1988 into 1989 (Sheldon, 1989). Here, English Heritage had offered a token
£20,000 to fund recording, which was voluntarily matched by the developer, but there was no scope for
any authority to insist on full and proper recording.
Also at this time there was controversy over the development of the Roman site of Huggin Hill Bath
House in London (Carver 1993, 10), but then the biggest and grandest of protests arose around the site
of The Rose Theatre, on Bankside in London.
Here, permission for development had been granted in 1988 without a full archaeological evaluation of
the site having been undertaken beforehand. However, the developers had agreed to what was
considered to be a routine two month archaeological investigation - and very near the end of the
investigation period, in January 1989, the extensive remains of the 16th-century Rose Theatre were
identified. This attracted a huge amount of international attention, primarily because this site was
historically known to have been a place where William Shakespeare himself had worked and where
several of his plays had their first performances.
While a lot of money and time was diverted into the excavation and recording of the site by English
Heritage, protests and campaigns to preserve the site were joined by eminent thespians; these later
escalated with actors keeping “an all-night vigil on the 12th May turning away the building contractors”
(Carver 1993, 10).
As there was no legal way that planning permission could be rescinded on the basis of unexpected
discoveries during development, the only way that the construction work could have been stopped
would have been if the site had designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. But if that had been the
case, the State would have been liable to compensate the owners, which would have potentially been
addressed through crippling cuts to English Heritage’s budget.
A question had been asked in the House of Commons on February 21st 1989 by Robert Maclennan MP
about The Rose (Hansard 1989a) which was passed from civil servants to English Heritage, where it was
picked up by Jane Sharman, Head of Conservation. She sought information from Geoff Wainwright, the
Chief Inspector and thus the most senior archaeologist within the organisation, who then asked Mike
Parker-Pearson to show her his draft document. Jane Sharman then redrafted this considerably, and
liaised with Harry Knottley, the lead civil servant at the Department of the Environment, who checked
that it would fit with government policy.
The government was always unhappy with suggestions that the financial burden might fall on the public
purse, but also wanted to lighten the load on developers. The crisis of The Rose sped things up, rammed
home the problems and accelerated the resolution of the wider situation. Meanwhile, on the ground,
Geoff Wainwright had to stand up in a public meeting before a hostile crowd to defend English
Heritage’s position, whilst at the same time another Inspector, Dai Morgan-Evans, was deputed with a
staple gun to put up the single notice of non-Scheduling on the hoarding surrounding the site.
Excavation then continued and some of the site was preserved in situ following an expensive redesign of
the building above (Davis et al., 2004).
The day PPG16 was published
PPG 16 was published on 21st November 1990, the day that the main national news story in the UK was
that Margaret Thatcher declared “I fight on, I fight to win” (White 1989). She announced her resignation
as Prime Minister the next day, to mixed but strongly emotional responses across the country.
Ultimately, the document had matched up to the policies of her government – it took the financial
burden away from the state, and simultaneously developers were allowed choice in who might
undertake work on their behalf. These changes then led to the opportunity for privately-provided,
commercial archaeological practice to become embedded in the UK and then to flourish.
Is this correct?
It’s what I was told. KA.
A lull in the housing market in 1991 allowed PPG16 to become established without challenge from the
development lobby, and it ultimately stayed in place long enough to become the oldest unrevised PPG.
Ultimately, it was replaced by the new Planning Policy Statement 5 – Planning for the Historic
Environment (DCLG 2010) on 23rd March 2010, but the impact of PPG16 had been massive. In the twenty
years of its existence, the demand for archaeological work initiated by the planning system increased
exponentially – by 2007, 93% of all archaeological fieldwork in the UK stemmed from planning
requirements (Aitchison 2009, 661), and the number of people employed in archaeological practice in
the UK had more than tripled (Aitchison & Edwards 2008).
Part II: Personalities of PPG 16
As noted above, this chapter is the result of an oral history project. Part of this project involved a
presentation to the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference in Southampton in December 2008,
under the title “Personalities of PPG 16”. This involved invited readers – not the original respondents –
reading text (presented below) that had been transcribed from recorded interviews, and all of the words
are original. While all of the interviews were just between the author and each of the individual
respondents, it is presented here as a simulated composite, five-way conversation between Kenneth
Aitchison, Mike Parker-Pearson [then an Inspector at English Heritage, a Professor at the University of
Sheffield at the time of interviewing], Paul Chadwick [then County Archaeologist for Berkshire, Director
of Archaeology at CgMs Consulting when interviewed], Graham Fairclough [then and now an Inspector
at English Heritage] and Geoffrey Wainwright [then Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English
Heritage, now retired].
Mike Parker-Pearson (MPP): Ok, are we rolling?
KA: Yes. Right. Well. The idea is, my first knowledge of PPG16 was as a student in a class you gave
downstairs here in 1996 at which I think you declared that you wrote the document which then
led to me rushing out to Blackwell’s as was across the road to buy myself a copy.
MPP: You did? Oh well, that will have made the Government some money.
KA: So we are here to find out about what you put into this and what went into writing it.
MPP: Sure. Ok, well, the real architect of the whole thing was Paul Gosling. He took early retirement.
It really all was his idea and others have claimed the credit. You know Mike Griffith? When he
was County Archaeologist for North Yorkshire he says he was already bringing in these kind of
It was really in the 1980s, Paul Gosling working with Paul Chadwick, now he’s a planning
consultant but then he was Country Archaeologist for Berkshire. And until they really got their
teeth into this, we were fairly stymied in that either you could protect a site through Scheduling
or otherwise, under the local planning rules and regs, you could only put on conditions and
those conditions were limited in how severe they could be. You could only ever require that a
certain amount of time was given. You could actually ask, for example, that there was an
evaluation carried out beforehand and you couldn’t ask the developer to make appropriate
Paul Chadwick (PC): I was appointed to the post of Berkshire County Archaeologist in 1983. The
Berkshire Archaeological Unit had just been absorbed into Wessex and the County Council were
setting up an SMR within the planning department.
Berkshire has lots of areas where there is potential for mineral extraction – in the Kennet Valley,
for sand and gravel – and at this time Michael Heseltine was looking for development areas to
the west of Heathrow – the area of Berkshire between Reading and Bracknell became known as
“Heseltown”. Opposition from local elected Council members coincided with a review of the
Berkshire local, structure and minerals plans in about 1984-85. There had never been any
archaeological policies, so Berkshire was operating in a policy vacuum.
At this time Paul Gosling was the regional inspector responsible for pump-priming the creation
of local government posts. He was very keen to see archaeology better protected through the
MPP: Yes, and there was an interesting relationship between Geoff Wainwright and Paul Gosling
because it was, because in Paul’s view, he saw this very much as empowering local authorities
to make their own decisions, whereas I think Geoff was slightly nervous about seeing this loss of
control from central government and yes, there was a certain tension about it all.
PC: I was lucky enough to be in the planning department alongside sympathetic and forward looking
planners like David Scott, and we worked together to draft up archaeological policies that asked
for informed decisions to be made on applications that would affect archaeological resources.
The crucial site was at Anslow’s Cottages, Burghfield in 1984-85, where Tarmac wanted to
extract aggregates. There was no predetermination work, Council gave permission with a
watching brief – and, serendipitously, the very first strip exposed the Bronze Age waterfront,
with waterlogged timber, fish traps. A fantastic, high quality site. The media get hold of it,
Council had to put in money to deal with the site - in-situ preservation wasn’t an option in this
instance because permission had already been granted. This made the Council keener than ever
to see developers foot the bill – the drive now was to pass the buck to make sure the polluter
paid, rather than to prioritise conservation.
So we worked up policy wording in-house which was then passed to Paul Gosling for comment,
we went through a variety of permutations and so by 85-86 we had draft policies in place.
Graham Fairclough (GF): The first person I remember talking cogently about this was Paul
Gosling. He’s the first person I remember saying that we need an AM – Ancient Monuments –
planning circular, because he was keen on planning and how archaeology fits into planning. I
doubt you will get to talk to Paul – he’s been ill on and off for years. This Planning Circular is
what Mike and I, and Paul, started out trying to write.
That’s how it got started, a mixture of ideas about developer funding, archaeology in local plans
and policies and putting the ideas into a circular.
MPP: What then happened was that I realised Paul Gosling was never going to write this down. It was
good as a policy in its own right, and I reckoned this just had to be written down.
KA: So you start trying to write that in … 1987?
GF: January 87 was the first text that we got down, there was a day, Mike and I sat down at my
kitchen table in St Albans in June 87 and drew up a contents page.
**IMAGE – draft contents page**
KA: I love things like that, surviving in that form.
MPP: So we had just been issued with brand new Toshiba laptops. Looking back on them they were
incredibly Stone Age. Tiny little screens. I think it was the summer of 1987 or 88. We had a big
birthday party at my house in Bedfordshire and it was after that, after everyone had gone away,
that I started to write it.
Vicky Fenner, who worked for English Heritage, had arrived with gastric flu and various people
then went down like ninepins, vomiting copiously.
KA: Lovely thing to bring to a party.
MPP: And Karen was in bed, throwing up into a bucket, while I was in the next room typing it, the
policy sentences – and then I lost the whole lot. Just finished it and I completely lost the file.
Because computers in those days didn’t have an automatic save – so I had to type it out all over
KA: The second half of “In Xanadu” is lost when the poet is disturbed …
MPP: So, second copy I did save and brought it into the office and showed it to Geoff Wainwright and
said I think you’ll be interested in this. And he looked at it and said “Oh good grief no” – the last
thing we want to do is make these views public because then DNH – Department for National
Heritage – will get upset and tell us we’re not to do it. He saw this as something we should
tackle by stealth. So it went back in the filing cabinet.
GF: I think of PPG 16 as having two sorts of prehistory – one outside English Heritage, in the slow
realisation among some archaeologists that you can get money out of developers and that if you
ask for it and make a good case, it was possible. It’s difficult to imagine now, but in the early 80s
it just wasn’t thought of as possible. At the time, Brian Hobley came to London – he was a bit of
a businessman, even a bit of a wide boy, and came to MoLAS [Museum of London Archaeology
Service], or whatever it was in those days –
KA: DUA [Department of Urban Archaeology]
GF: DUA, yes – and succeeded in getting increasingly large sums of money, which, on the one hand
showed it was possible, on the other hand people say, “Oh, that’s London, it’s different”. And
that was a common viewpoint through the early 80s.
From the other side, the two important things were the withdrawal in the early 80s of English
Heritage core funding and the switch to project funding, because without that none of this could
KA: Before that there was a responsibility on English Heritage to be funding organisations. So what’s
the date on that change over?
Geoff Wainwright (GW): The place to start, for PPG 16, was about 1981, when I made the
change, which was highly controversial at the time, of moving from funding organisations per se
to project funding. And indeed a number of people didn’t believe me when I said what we were
going to do.
In 1986, I set out a policy statement which set out what were effectively the principles to be
contained in PPG 16. I followed that up with a RESCUE conference in December 1986 in York
where I set out what I saw as the responsibilities of English Heritage with regards to local
GF: Mike wrote the vast majority of the text, he did the main writing job of the draft. Nothing was
then circulated more widely until January 88 – it is remarkable how slowly things moved in the
1980s, no email , what computers we had were really slow, drafts took weeks rather than days
and we had to wait for letters to come in.
The first mention of “preservation by record” is in a comment from Geoff Wainwright in January
1988, and by July 88, he notes “Archaeology and Planning” as a title.
GW: In July 1988 it was necessary for me to write a letter to Helen McLaggan, Chair of ACAO
[Association of County Archaeology Officers], which must be the most quoted letter ever, setting
out policy on rescue funding. This was followed up in March 1989 by a letter from Lord
Montagu, who was then the Chair of English Heritage, to the Times, because by then our policy
had begun to bite. That was – if the destruction of an archaeological site could have been
prevented in the planning process then we wouldn’t fund any excavation or post-excavation
work. And boy, that was pretty tough.
During 1988 and 1989 there were a number of cases that came up as a result of that policy. Let
me see now – Queen’s Hotel in York, Huggin Hill, London, sites in Winchester, Worcester - you
name it, because it was the time, I’m afraid, when the heart was being ripped out of a number
of our historic towns.
Slowly but surely, archaeology was coming into the planning process, but archaeologists
working in the planning process wanted a piece of paper to back them up. They would use my
letter when going to their masters.
And then, lo and behold, the Rose Theatre came along. It could not have been better timed. An
absolute classic case. Everyone knew the theatre was there.
KA: Well, it is on Rose Alley…
GW: Absolutely right! And no thought had been given to preserving it because the Museum of
London Archaeological Service, not only did they do the digging but they also provided the
advice to the planning authorities and that advice was rudimentary and it was always ‘well, we
think that site should be dug’.
It got so much publicity. Actors weeping into handkerchiefs and gangs of people outside
shouting “don’t doze the Rose!” Absolutely wonderful.
MPP: That’s right, so you’ve got Dustin Hoffman and a whole variety of actors making a big fuss and
because they are well-known individuals their case gets listened to in a way that of course
archaeologists or any other pressure group of minority interests would never have been.
GW: And of course it got to Nick Ridley, the then Secretary of State, who called me in and said,
“Look, what the hell’s going on here?” So I explained the background to him and he said “For
Christ’s sake” – he was quite a forthright man – “go away and produce a document”.
So we produced a document that was an expanded version of my letter to the ACAO and I
published a paper in Conservation Bulletin which really was the draft paper.
GF: A full draft is out for preconsultation by local government archaeologists in October 89, who
respond with concern about whether it is a circular or a PPG – a circular would have lesser
standing. David Baker wrote that ”there would be value at this time of increasing ‘greeningness’
to establish a document of equal standing with nature conservation”.
PC: There was a lot of lobbying from the CBI, British Property Federation and even from museums to
get the document watered down.
GW: In February 1990 the consultation draft was then sent out and there were more than 200
responses to that. There were virtually no changes in the final document, which was released,
in Lincoln, on the 21st November 1990 by Baroness Blatch.
KA: And we all remember the next day.
GW: Milk snatcher’s1 demise!
KA: Thinking about the genesis, all the politicians, when they were looking at it – Thatcher
government – what was their political thinking behind doing this? Was it very much about
taking away the responsibility of the state to fund archaeology? Was that what was driving
GW: No. It was a response to a furore, and I think it was genuinely, on their part, a wish to embrace
the polluter pays principle. I know it’s hard to imagine, but that was definitely my impression. I
think they saw it purely in excavation terms, I don’t think they saw it as a means to protecting
KA: That was my next question – was the objective to protect sites, rather than to create a market
for commercial archaeology?
GW: The more extreme thinkers in EH at the time would have preferred to see no excavation at all.
They couldn’t care less about excavation-recording, as long as as many sites as possible were
being protected. Paul Gosling was the Taliban of the Inspectors. He wanted to preserve
KA: So it was always very environmental, always about protecting the historic environment.
GW: It seems so simple now, so straightforward now. But at the time, it was quite revolutionary
PC: Nothing changed in Berkshire when the document was finally published – we were already
doing everything that was in it, and it was hardly noticed in the midst of other changes. I then
left Berkshire in 1991 to go to work for a company of development surveyors.
I am proud of my achievements. I was pleased to be able to work with David Scott, and had lots
of support from Steve Trow and Paul Gosling. On my departure dinner from Berkshire in 1991,
Steve Trow joked about the PPG being “Paul’s Planning Guidance”.
KA: John Walker told me a story from his days in Southampton in the 70s of having an unexpected
letter land on his desk from Lord Montagu – your chair – his estate asking for a price for some
archaeological work at Buckler’s Hard, which was thought as being utterly unheard of – the
orthodox history of competitive tendering in archaeology begins in 1987 at Reading Business
Park, and here is a suggestion going around ten years before, from Lord Montagu. How much
influence did he have on the thinking about these issues?
KA: None at all?
1 Nickname for Margaret Thatcher, who resigned from the position of Prime Minister on November 22, 1990
GW: He was completely supportive, but it would be untrue to say that he had any input into the
document. If he felt strongly about the entrepreneurial approach, he never said so.
In conclusion. There were a lot of big thinkers, big personalities who combined to produce PPG 16, and
many of them quite rightly want to claim credit – proverbially, success has many fathers, and in the case
of PPG 16 this was assisted by the contingency of the Rose ‘event’. . The work that Paul Chadwick was
doing in Berkshire County Council was almost unprecedented, Paul Gosling’s zealous thinking linked
back to English Heritage where Mike Parker-Pearson, Graham Fairclough and others drafted up
documents, always under Geoff Wainwright’s careful reading of the political landscape. There are
many more personalities who contributed – the politicians of the day, and the civil servants who worked
on their behalf. This paper has looked at the particular testimonies and contributions of four
personalities – or five, if we consider the enormous input of the absent Paul Gosling.
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