Growing up in York, I was interested in architecture and old buildings from as early as I can remember. After taking a degree in History at University College London, I worked in York’s libraries and local studies departments, including working on the Imagine York project to digitise the collection of historic photographs held by the city’s libraries and archives. Pursuing an interest in building conservation and heritage protection, in 2004 I undertook the MSc course in Historic Conservation run jointly by the universities of Oxford and Oxford Brookes. Since 2005 I have been Building Conservation Officer for the North York Moors National Park Authority.
A particular interest in the history and practice of urban conservation led me to investigate the history of York’s post-war conservation up to 2007 for my MSc dissertation, Conserving the Historic City: York, the Esher Report and the Future. Taking the ‘Esher Report’ as a reference point, the dissertation looked at the physical state of the city and conservation policy and practice in the 1950s and 1960s; the recommendations of the Report and how far they were implemented; the subsequent pursuit of ‘planning for conservation’ in the 1970s and 1980s; the role of the amenity societies and the cause célèbre of York 2000’s pioneering campaign against the inner ring road; the effect of change in the political leadership and economic climate in the 1980s and 1990s on the city’s built environment; and development and the policy framework at the close of the dissertation in 2007.