Context 164 - May 2020

50 C O N T E X T 1 6 4 : M A Y 2 0 2 0 the director of a small heritage charity. I then have to spend quite a lot of time explaining why we are called the Ancient Monuments Society – we were founded in 1924 when there was no such thing as a listed building – and also why we do not deal with scheduled ancient monuments or archaeology. I am always impressed if they are still following me at that point. What is the biggest frustration in your job? It is probably seeing heritage organisations in the sector, large and small, still being reluctant to work more collaboratively.We are facing so many challenges today that if we fail to come together as a sector, we will not succeed in addressing any of them. Not only can we no longer afford the luxury of competing against each other, working collaboratively is far more enjoyable and gratifying. What would you like to be doing in five years’ time? I very much hope to still be working in the heritage sector so that I can play my part in making places better for the benefit of communities. The historic environment is all around us and can play a part in improving people’s lives. It is up to us to communicate that to as wide an audience as possible. I am also looking forward to helping the sector better define what role it can play in addressing the climate change emergency. What is your favourite building? This changes on a regular basis, but at the moment it is St Paul’s Cathedral, which is very close to my office. I love its boldness and magnificence and, frankly, nothing beats a beautifully executed building in the English baroque style. Otherwise, I do not think anything prepared me for the glory of the Parthenon in Rome, which I first visited in awe and silence, or for the sheer improbability of the modern- day existence of the Forum. Your favourite place? Without hesitation Peckham, where I have lived for over 15 years. I have been on the committee of the Peckham Society for most of that time and am committed to defending and championing our local heritage. I am a strong believer in the ability of communities to play a part in shaping the places in which they live and am a great supporter of the work of Civic Voice. Your favourite book? The Go Between by LP Hartley, which I have read about half a dozen times from the age of 12. ‘The past is a foreign country’: indeed it is. I love the film adaptation directed by Joseph Losey, which features Melton Constable Hall in Norfolk. I understand that the house was in a parlous state when the film was made there in 1971 and suffered from neglect, but all of that was very expertly hidden for the cameras. What do you do in your spare time? I am a great lover of old films and particularly enjoy the British New Wave of the 1960s, with works such as Room at the Top, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,The L-Shaped Room and Billy Liar . So many of those films are brilliant for their portrayal of post-war England, and a great way of discovering how our cities and their environments and landscapes have changed over time. For that same reason I am a big fan of Talking Pictures TV (for those who know what that is). I have always listened to classical music and opera, and go to concerts and performances in London whenever I have the time. I love walking in the countryside, exploring new areas and discovering quiet village churches and characterful country pubs. What organisations are you a member of? The National Trust for Scotland, which gives me access to wonderful places in England, Wales and Scotland. I became a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts last year and hope to become involved in their heritage network, which I have just joined. Which one issue would you particularly like the IHBC to campaign on? Climate change. Unsurprisingly! Lucie Carayon is director of the Ancient Monuments Society, a small heritage charity founded in 1924 to ‘defend historic buildings of all ages and all types’. One of the national amenity societies, it works in partnership with the Friends of Friendless Churches. St Paul’s Cathedral by Canaletto (Image: Paul Mellon Collection)