Simon Thurley: ‘With Stonehenge we had six days of bedlam. We were victims of our own success’

08 February 2014 .

Simon Thurley describes himself as an historian, archaeologist, curator, writer, broadcaster, museum director and heritage crusader. He is currently Chief Executive of English Heritage.


In November 2013 he published his latest book The Building of England. It is the product of four years’ work, an attempt to write a narrative history of building in England from 410 up to the Second World War.


While many consider his book to be an instant classic he has been criticised for his conservatism.  Richard Morrison from the Times claims that while:


“few are better qualified for the task,….Thurley is inclined to fogeyish nostalgia … Unfortunately, he stops his survey after 1930, as though he can’t bear to contemplate the glass towers that now dwarf his beloved abbeys and terraces … I can see how it suits Thurley’s argument, and his temperament, to end his story on this triumphalist note. But most of us live and work in an England built since then. His failure to engage with that awkward reality diminishes a fascinating book.”


In this article by Start Jeffries in The Guardian, Thurley explains “why he no fogey and why he is proud to be Engligh brutalism’s greatest champion”.  Click here to read more.

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