Historic England asks: 'What do you love about your local high street?'

A busy market day in St Albans in 1972.

A busy market day in St Albans in 1972. - Credit: Historic England Archive, John Gay

Historic England is asking people in Hertfordshire: “What do you love about your local high street?”

It's the first part of a national conversation on the future of our struggling high streets.

From today (Monday, September 20) to Sunday, September 26, the public body is asking people to share what they love about their local high street on social media.

Whether it’s the memory of the place you bought your first ever album, a shop that’s become part of your weekend routine, or a place you go to meet friends and family, Historic England wants to hear all about it.

Those stories will come together to build a national picture of what makes high streets so special and to learn what matters most when it comes to their future.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Throughout history high streets have been our gathering places; centres of commerce, conversation and community. They help make where we live unique and special.

"Nearly half of all high streets were built before 1919. They are one of the most visited and enjoyed types of heritage in the country, a connection to our past and a key to our future.

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"We know they are struggling, and their future is uncertain, and we think this is a timely moment to ask people about their future and consider the part we can all play in supporting these important places.”

Historic England commissioned YouGov to find out how people are feeling about their local high street.

Nearly three-quarters of people (73 per cent) said their local high street is important to them, while 54 per cent were pessimistic about their local high street’s future.

Four in 10 feel motivated to take action to help their high street’s future, and 71 per cent of people said that they feel personal interactions are important when visiting the high street.

Historic England is working to secure the future of more than 60 historic high streets across England as part of the government-funded £95million High Streets Heritage Action Zone scheme.

Later in the conversation with the nation about the future of high streets, Historic England will be seeking to find out what people value about their high street and their hopes for its future.

Having crowdsourced this information, a programme of discussions and commissions will be created to further explore what high streets could be and look like in the future, all with the aim of empowering people to take action for their local high street.


How to get involved

The conversation will take place on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn from Monday, September 20 until Sunday, September 26, 2021.

To share what you love about the high street use #HighStreetLove via @HistoricEngland on Twitter and Instagram, www.facebook.com/HistoricEngland or www.linkedin.com/company/historicengland 


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