English Heritage is a registered charity that manages the National Heritage Collection. This comprises over 400 of Englands historic buildings, monuments and sites spanning more than 5,000 years of history, within its portfolio are Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Tintagel Castle and the best preserved parts of Hadrians Wall. English Heritage also manages the London Blue Plaques scheme, which links influential historical figures to particular buildings and it was created to combine the roles of existing bodies that had emerged from a long period of state involvement in heritage protection. The British government gave the new charity an £80 million grant to establish it as an independent trust. Over the centuries, what is now called Heritage has been the responsibility of a series of state departments. There was the Kings Works after the Norman Conquest, the Office of Works, the Office of Woods, Forests, Land Revenues and Works, and the Ministry of Works. Responsibility subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Public Building and Works then to the Department of the Environment and now the Department for Culture, Media, the states legal responsibility for the historic environment goes back to the Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882. Central government subsequently developed several systems of protection for different types of assets, introducing listing for buildings after WW2. The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission was formed under the terms of the National Heritage Act 1983 on 1 April 1984, soon after, the commission gained the operating name of English Heritage by its first Chairman, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. A national register of parks and gardens, was set up in 1984. Registration is a consideration in the planning process. In 2010–2011 it recorded 4.3 million unique online user sessions, in 2012 the section responsible for archive collections was renamed the English Heritage Archive. As a result of the National Heritage Act 2002, English Heritage acquired administrative responsibility for historic wrecks, the administration of the listed building system was transferred from DCMS to English Heritage in 2006. It was retained on grounds of performing a function which should remain independent from Government. However the department also suffered from budget cuts during the recession of the 2010s resulting in a deficit of £100 million. In June 2013 the British Government announced plans to provide an £80 million grant to enable English Heritage to become a self-financing charity, the national portfolio of historic properties remain in public ownership, but the new English Heritage will be licensed to manage them. The change occurred on 1 April 2015 with the planning and heritage protection functions remaining an independent, non-departmental public body. The new trust has a licence to operate the properties until 2023, English Heritage is the guardian of over 400 sites and monuments, the most famous of which include Stonehenge, Iron Bridge and Dover Castle
English Heritage commemorative plaques conference, 2010. English Heritage began administering the London Blue Plaques in 1986.
Stonehenge, one of English Heritage's most famous sites
Stonehenge visitors' centre. Opened in December 2013, over 2 km west of the monument, just off the A360 road in Wiltshire.