In the Ribble Valley, a Victorian mahogany partners desk made by a local firm such as Gillows is both a beautiful piece of furniture and a reminder of Lancashire’s unique history and heritage.
Now, the European Commission has added cultural heritage to its €80bn Horizon 2020 funding programme, making it a priority issue after receiving a petition from more than 6,000 gallery and museum staff.
In its most tangible form, cultural heritage is defined by the physical effects (such as buildings, artworks and furniture) inherited from previous generations and conserved in the present for the appreciation of future generations. Whether it is a stately home or an antique mahogany pedestal desk , the importance of preserving the past cannot be underestimated, as the uniqueness of period buildings and artefacts makes them irreplaceable.
In Lancashire, Cumbria and beyond, custodians are working tirelessly to preserve this heritage. Museums, art galleries, private collectors and organisations like English Heritage and the National Trust have all done their part, often against great odds. Now, a petition drawn up by the Fraunhofer Institute, Collections Trust and other bodies has led to the European government adding cultural heritage as a priority to the Horizon 2020 framework programme, which begins in 2014.
Nick Poole, CEO of the Collections Trust, said:
“This is a real recognition of the contribution the cultural heritage community makes to securing Europe’s position as a global leader in research and innovation.”
He also said that it represented a “significant financial opportunity” for European museums, galleries, libraries and archives.
There is another way to conserve the heritage of Lancashire and Cumbria: buy a Victorian mahogany pedestal desk from a local antique dealer.