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Alan Machin: Tourism As Education
Home page: blogs, introductions, links to main pages
Berlin: Editing a Townscape
... and reading a city that has had many rebuilders
Making Sense of The Travel Learning Experience- 1
1 Information Streams
Making Sense of the Travel Learning Experience - 2
Some basic theories
Back to Basics: Presentation given at the Cuba EduTourism Conference
The CETA Conference in Havana, Cuba, 8/9 November 2010
About the author
Comments - CV - photos
At the heart of the tourist experience
Learning through Landscapes
Exploring Oxfordshire (and a bit of Gloucestershire!)
The Environment As Data: Building New Theories For Tourism
How tourists relate to places
Sail Gives Way to Steam
A return visit discovers just how much has been achieved in this iconic restoration
Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth Reenactment
Visits to Leicester and the battlefield event, 2013
Along The Way
Recollections and Reflections of 60+ Years' Learning about the World and its Ways
On the Edge of the New World
Shaping New England
Exploring Holderness in East Yorkshire; October 2012
Past Historic
Graf Zepplin, Spain 1968, OS History, Much Wenlock Olympics, Chatham Dockyard, Hawes Tourism, Colonial Williamsburg,
A Summer of Travelling / Matthew Starr
Three months' backpacking in Africa, Asia and Australia
East Anglia
The Broads, Pensthorpe natural history, Radar Museum, Caister Lifeboat Service and more!
A Richer Earth
Discoveries in the landscape and attractions of Shropshire
Blog Index Page
Blog pages from 2009 listed
From Strip Map to Sat Nav
'Finding the way' aids to exploration
Showcasing the World
How the Tourist Microcosm took centre stage
Doing A Dissertation
Notes to help students preparing their proposals
The Japanese Tsunami Destruction at First Hand
Sarah and Tom Wadsworth saw for themselves
Showcases: Examples
The range and variety of tourism's focal points examined
Jigsaw: Frameworks of Knowledge
The tourist jigsaw puzzle of - knowledge
Books and other works useful in studying tourism as education
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 2
The development of tourism as education, 1845 -
Tourism's Educational Origins: Part 1
Tourism's educational origins and management
Impressions of Tourism in Cuba
Thoughts on having seen some of the country myself
Captain James Cook: North Yorkshire Days
Tracing the early life of Britain's greatest maritime explorer
Hunting the Hound of the Baskervilles
Tracking down places that inspired the famous detective story and moulded Dartmoor's image
Exploring the Idea of Dark Tourism
What is it? Is it a useful idea?
Talking to Tourists
Visitor interpretation - guide books, visitor centres and other media
Shades of Light and Dark in the Garden of England
An exploration in East Sussex and Kent, June/July 2010
Hunting the Gladiator and the Gecko
A thirteen-year search for a wartime adventure
Steam Up For A Famous Film's Birthday Party
The Railway Children weekend on the Worth Valley line raises questions about heritage presentations
Anne-Marie Rhodes: Making a Difference in South East Asia
Leeds Met graduate of '07 describes her activities
Discoveries in Northumberland, April 2010
Alnwick Gardens; Winter's Gibbet; Holy Island, Cragside, Wallington Hall
Discoveries in the Midlands, March 2010
Bletchley Park National Codes and Cipher Centre; and the Rollright Stones
Alan Machin's Blog - April 2010
The development of tourism as education continued
Jigsaw Puzzle!
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
Leaders Into The Field
People who inspired everyone to explore
Alan Machin's blogs - February and March 2010
Postings on the history tourism as education - redirection
Alan Machin's Blog - January 2010
Tourist photography and souvenirs
Earlier front-page blog postings - January 2010 onwards
Archived after being on the Home Page
News from higher education and - beyond
The Development of Educational Tourism
Key dates in the development of educational tourism
Alan Machin's Blog - December 2009
Christmas Quiz and other postings
Analysing Heritage Tourism
Ideas and perspectives on a hugely important sector
Alan Machin's Blog - November 2009
Visitors' Views of Stonehenge, West Sussex - and other Postings
Are Universities Losing Their Way?
Reflections having retired
Teaching Tourism At Leeds Met
Remembering the Best
Alan Machin's Blog - October 2009
Thoughts about university life and discovery by travel
Alan Machin's Blog - September 2009
Further postings about a trip last month to the USA, and about higher education
Alan Machin's Blog - August 2009
Postings about a trip this month to the USA
Alan Machin's Blog - July 2009
The Story So Far reaches the summer
Alan Machin's Blog - June 2009
The Story So Far looks back on seventeen years at Leeds Met
Alan Machin's Blog - May 2009
Another month of The Story So Far
Alan Machin's blog - April 2009
Yet more of the Story So Far
Alan Machin's blog - March 2009
More of The Story So Far
Alan Machin's Blog - February 2009
The Story So Far - pioneers, people and places
Alan Machin's Blog: January 2009
The Story So Far .... first postings of '09
Alan Machin's Blog: December 2008
The Story So Far .... latest postings
Alan Machin's Blog - November '08
The Story So Far.... continued
Alan Machin's Blog: October 2008
The Story So Far....
No Place Like Rome
The eternal city with the eternal tourists
Charleston, South Carolina
A photo essay about a fine historic city
Idealog - December 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
Idealog - November 2007
Ideas, notes and comments
The Educational Origins of Tourism
Discussion paper
Idealog - October 2007
Coton Military Cemetery; Education and Tourism; Chatham Maritime; Dickens World; Quiz Answers; Tourist Guides; Mediation In Tourism
Idealog - September 2007
Plane Paradox;Tour Guiding; Where in the World?; Do Tourism Students Know Where They Are?; Leeds Met's Wow!; Sea Harrier; Scarborough and Tourism As Education; Doing A Dissertation; Types of Tourist; A Media Lens; Cost of Travelling Alone; Risk of Bias?
Idealog - August 2007
A People Industry; Heritage Interpretation; Lud's Church; Tourists Go Home!; Stone Gappe YHA; Insight Guides; Eyewitness Guides; Bramhope Tunnel; Elizabethan Progress; Information Quality Matrix
Idealog - July 2007
Hidden Heroes, Health Tourism, Holme Fen Posts; Harrogate (again); Whitby Abbey; Dramatic Interpretation; Harrogate Interpretation, Attractions and Royal Hall
Idealog - June 2007
Christian Pilgrimage; Cincinnati Museums Centre; The Coming of the Guide Book; Talking to Tourists - Media, Stages of the Visit, The Service Journey; Tourism's Missing Link; The Final Call; SATuration level; Halifax's Edwardian Window on the World
Idealog - May 2007
Martin and Osa Johnson, Wensleydale Creamery, Malham Tarn, Thomas Cook, Northern Ireland's Tourism Rebuild, Jamestown Festival Park, Cite des Sciences
Idealog - April 2007
The Promenade Plantee, The Jardin des Plantes, Environmental Data, Victorian Beauty Spot Rediscovered, Jamestown, The Anglers' Country Park, Children's Museums, Fairburn Ings
Idealog - March 2007
A Sense of the Past- The 'Amsterdam', The Outdoor Classroom, Film-Induced Tourism, Making Tracks for the Coast and Country, Pictures, Context and Meaning, Classics-on-Sea, Hi Hi Everyone!, Dark Side of the Dream, Holodyne - The Action Cycle
Idealog - February 2007
Don't Go There!, Space Tourism, The Crystal Cathedral, New Books on Tourism, Dark Tourism - Undercliffe Cemetery, Showcase - The Louvre, A Class Act, First Impressions Count, Postal Pleasures, Canaletto in Venice, Serpent Mound, Capsule Culture etc
Idealog - January 2007
Capsule Culture,Seaside Style, Poble Espanyol, Mallorca, Edgar Dale, Children's Holiday Homes, Representations of Reality, Outdoor Education in Germany, Baedeker Guides, Geography Textbooks, Environmental Data Theory etc
Idealog - December 2006
Writers on Landscape, Story Books, The Deep, Flour Power and the Archers,Showcases: Grand Tour, Halifax Piece Hall, Books of Concern about Tourism, Tourist Traces, Tourist Typologies, The Growth of Educational Tourism, The Field Studies Council, etc
Idealog - November 2006
A blog of ideas, comments and notes
Travel To Understand: Belfast
Telling the stories of troubled times
World Quiz 2010
Geography with a tourism angle
The Monterey Bay Aquarium
An outstanding educational facility in California
Chicago: Tourism Re-Imaging
A closer view of an iconic city
Colonial Williamsburg
A Virginia history showcase
A Social Club Outing By Train, 1935
How to do Scotland in 30 hours flat
Going Dutch
Presenting the past in the Netherlands
Keukenhof: Business is Blooming
Using tourism to promote an industry
A View of Italy for the City
Trentham Gardens Revived
A Case Study in Heritage Management
A curious tale of misleading publicity
Old Rice Farm
The story of the house in the 'holler'
Perfection in Paradise: The Eden Project
New page being added: The Eden Project's design for success
Escaping From Slavery: Facing Our Past
The US National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Prague Tourist Shows
Outstanding showcase attractions in the city
Retracing the Steps: Tourism as Education
ATLAS Conference paper given in Finland, 2000
Tourism and Historic Towns: The Cultural Key
A background paper for a Council of Europe Conference
The Social Helix
Visitor Interpretation as a Tool for Social Development, 1989
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 1
Reports and Pictures
Malta Residential, 14-21 Feb 2006 - Page 2
Photos and reports of Friday 17 Feb onwards
Malta Residential, 14-21 February 2006 - Page 3
Reports and pictures from Sunday, 19 February onwards
Tourism Alumni Reunion, 8 March 2003
Leeds tourism students reunion 2003
World Geography Quiz 1
A test of your knowledge
The Adventure of the Timely Tourist
The answers
Tall Ships Race 2010 Converged on Hartlepool
A major event-based boost for tourism in the town
Plymouth: From the Tamar to the Sea
Starting point for explorations round the globe
Plimoth Plantation
A reconstruction of the Mayflower settlers' village of the 1620s on the north east coast of North America
World Geography Quiz 2010 - Answers
Geography with a tourism angle
World Geography Quiz - Answers
Christmas Quiz 2009 - Answers
A day in the city including the Botanic Garden
Tourist Showcases
Examples from around the world

A Case Study in Heritage Management

Heritage Case Study photo

Somebody in a class the other day started a discussion about heritage and how important it was in tourism. I asked if anyone had heard of Robert Hewison’s book “The Heritage Industry”. Not one of them had. Perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising as they were only toddlers when the work appeared in 1987, and it faded from sight after a huge amount of initial publicity in which every columnist and commentator seemed to jump onto a journalistic bandwagon, usually siding with Hewison. I suggested to the students that they should read the book, and also look for Patrick Wright’s “On Living in an Old Country”, published two years earlier, and to my mind a much better book, and David Lowenthal’s “The Past is a Foreign Country”, also from 1985, and a work of great scope. It reminded me of some curiosities about the discussions in the mid-nineteen eighties about ‘heritage’, especially since I recently acquired a copy of Frank Atkinson’s autobiography “The Man Who Made Beamish”.

At the time Hewison’s book appeared I was Public Relations and Marketing Officer for the Calderdale Inheritance Project in West Yorkshire, some notes about which appear on another page in this web site. It was a regeneration project which achieved a great deal, alongside other, longer established work by local Civic Trusts, an organisation called Pennine Heritage, and, indeed, other departments of Calderdale Council, which led the Inheritance Project, and for which I had been Tourism Officer from 1978. Many, many people from voluntary bodies, the Council and what was up to 1986 West Yorkshire County Council, plus some commercial companies, had since the late 1960s been slowly building up a wide range of initiatives to re-use derelict mills, shops and houses, to clean up eyesores in open spaces long abandoned, and to remove some of the highly inappropriate ‘redevelopments’ which had butchered elements in a remarkable industrial landscape. I had quickly come to the conclusion, along with others, I’m sure, that the Calder Valley was an area above most others where the changing effects of the industrial system on human communities in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries could be seen.

Halifax Piece Hall

Halifax Piece Hall:
shops along an 18th
century gallery,
and a detail of one
of the three gates

Calderdale Council was not entirely sure about heritage-based regeneration, which we were about, even though it had taken up the challenge posed by the national Civic Trust in the early 1980s to lead a broad partnership of local interests along these lines. The Halifax Civic Trust, Calder Civic Trust, and above all Pennine Heritage, had led the way. Halifax Borough Council, which was merged with other local authorities in the valley in 1974 to form Calderdale Council, had, by the slimmest margins – a casting vote by a chairman – saved the unique Halifax Piece Hall, which might have been demolished as part of a proposed redevelopment scheme such as had disfigured so many other city and town centres. The Piece Hall was refurbished as a shops, open air market, events arena, art gallery and tourist information centre, and opened as such in 1976. Later, an enterprising Museums Department added a museum to the pre-industrial period, and then another in an adjacent former engineering works to local manufacturing, especially carpets, wire-making, engineering and confectionery such as the Quality Street assortments of John Mackintosh.

The work won prizes from both the Civic Trust and The Times/RIBA for outstanding work. In Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Ripponden and other valley towns local initiatives large and small were achieving influential results. When the Crossley Carpet Mills at Dean Clough, in Halifax, closed in 1982, entrepreneurs Ernest Hall and Jonathan Silver bought them and began the creation of a vigorously expanding business park which also contained arts centres and theatre groups.

Florence Waite and the Crossley Excursion, 1935

Florence Waite, a retired
weaver, recalling a social
club outing in 1935 to
Edinburgh, revelled in her
home town of Halifax now
becoming a similar tourist
attraction. She was proud
that people came to see
her town [see "A Social
Club Outing By Train, 1935"
in the list to the left]

Local people had been tourists for years, travelling to enjoy London, Edinburgh, the Isle of Man, coastal resorts and distant countryside, but they had never thought that their own towns and Moorlands ranked in any way alongside those places. But so it was, and more and more visitors were coming to admire and enjoy the Calder Valley. One of my own projects had been to record, with a video crew from Leeds Metropolitan University, the memories of a 91-year old former weaver at Crossleys, Mrs Florence Waite, who was just such a person who had travelled away on holidays but never rated her own town as special in that way. She was thrilled to see the visitors looking at her town and seeing in its new industrial museum what was effectively her own story being told.


In the middle of this, around the early weeks of 1987, I sat in Halifax Town Hall as an officer attending a committee meeting discussing possible further support for heritage-based regeneration. Immediately in front of me sat a Labour Councillor who I will refer to as Councillor S. He, and other Labour members, were not convinced about these activities. They wanted mills replaced by new manufactories, old industry by new industry. Creating what another Labour councillor called a “Cotswold Tea-Shop Economy” in this Yorkshire textiles community was anathema. I could agree, as could everyone else, that factories would have been first choice, but it was unlikely to happen in a district of narrow roads and corners, high, cramped buildings and a lack of European grant aid as there was at the time. I should add that it so happened that one side of my own family, years back, had worked in Calder Valley mills as weavers, and others as boat people on the canal network. Interestingly, the 'Tea-Shop Economy' Councillor ran, I believe, an antiques shop, which of course has always been one way of exploiting anyone's heritage.

Councillor S rose to speak. I can quote, from memory, his words. “There’s this book coming out which proves what we’ve been saying”, he announced. The ‘we’ was his party, the book was Hewison’s “Heritage Industry”. Of course he hadn’t read it, only advance publicity, and Hewison’s polemic didn’t ‘prove’ anything, only argue a one sided case. As it happens, Councillor S’s view was defeated that night on whatever the motion was, but later it would prevail as he and other Labour members diluted the effectiveness of the Inheritance Project in many ways. The full detail of how that happened is another story, some of which is told on a different page of this web site. The Inheritance Project did achieve huge and lasting successes, thanks to a blend of inspired and creative public relations and marketing by a whole team drawn from local government and the business world.

When “The Heritage Industry” appeared later that year it had a great impact on the media. Its out and out style of attack meant it was very quotable. It wasn’t very long, and it struck chords with many who saw the growth of museums and conservation projects as a wing of the Thatcherite destruction of many basic industries in the 1980s. There were plenty of cheap and nasty schemes being proposed for new heritage centres and museum, often driven by a growing band of consultants who latched on to them to make money and carve out a reputation. Later there would be other schemes supported by money from some public body or governmental agency or other, which would fall flat on their faces after spending millions in badly-thought-out projects. Near to Calderdale would be the Earth Centre in Rotherham, Transperience in Bradford, the National Centre for Popular Museum in Sheffield. But to label everything from national museums to local voluntary society efforts as parts of a ‘heritage industry’ was woefully cheap. The book seemed to me like something aimed at maximum publicity without the depth and solidity of either Wright’s or Lowenthal’s work.

What I found curious was a film presented by Robert Hewison and produced by Roger Burgess in the early 1980s. It was called “The Man Who Made Beamish” and was about the work of Frank Atkinson, its Director during the years of its foundation. Being interested in museums I taped it. Atkinson told Hewison that in 1952 he had toured Scandinavia in order to see what was happening in museums there. In Lillehammer, Norway, he stood on a little wooden bridge in the town’s open air museum one early evening and decided that there ought to be such a museum in England. This romantic little cameo is repeated in Atkinson’s autobiography, which used the same title as that of the film.

Shibden Hall, Halifax

Shibden Hall, Halifax,
is still the home of
the small West Yorkshire
Folk Museum

What is curious is that in those years Frank Atkinson was Director of Halifax Museums. Two years before his vision in Lillehammer, the then Director of Halifax Museums was Robert Patterson. He published that year an article in the Bradford Textile Society Journal which set out the case for a West Yorkshire Folk Museum at Shibden Hall. It had carefully drawn proposals for displays in out buildings which included those for a wood turner, a fulling mill, a potter, a stone mason, and a weaver’s cottage. Mr Patterson’s paper traced the origins of folk museums to Scandinavia, but also pointed to a failed idea for one in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham in 1912. He referred also to existing British examples in the Isle of Man, Scotland, and especially, Wales. He goes on to argue the case for using Shibden Hall because of its particular history and that of Halifax in general. The Editor’s introduction to a reprint of the article says “and what better place for [a folk museum] than Shibden Hall, in the ancient wool town of Halifax?”.

Frank Atkinson had control of Shibden Hall when he became Director of Halifax Museums in 1952 and was responsible for turning the idea for a folk museum into reality. But he wasn’t the man who had the vision – that was Robert Patterson, working within a movement started already. I have looked through Atkinson’s autobiography, but can find no mention of Patterson, or that the folk museum idea already existed very firmly at Halifax. I notice that Mr Atkinson says he had the notion that the Lillehammer concept should lead to establishing such a museum “in England” – the existing ones were in Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland. He did help to establish the West Yorkshire Folk Museum, and it can still be visited.

So it seems to be the case that Robert Hewison, the supposed scourge of a ‘heritage industry’ that falsifies the past in order to make money, had taken part in promoting a misleading piece of history about the museums that he was supposed to know about. Frank Atkinson seems to have forgotten that someone else had already provided the inspiration for what became his own life’s work, and on his doorstep, too, just two years before. And Councillor S decided he didn’t have to read an unpublished book before he voted against proposals he didn’t like, because he wanted to believe it ‘proved’ he was right.

Perhaps all is fair in politics, polemics and self-publicity.

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