Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall collaboration announced

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall

The first step in a collaboration between Hadrian’s Wall and the Great Wall of China will take place in Newcastle this weekend.

From Sunday until next Wednesday, Historic England and Newcastle University will host a delegation from the Great Wall of China, which will see Chinese and British experts in conservation and management of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites share knowledge.

Delegates attending the Wall to Wall: Hadrian’s Wall and Great Wall of China Management Seminar will share their expertise and experience on topics including how to protect and conserve a World Heritage Site and how to attract and cater for visitors.

Both monuments are national treasures and famous worldwide, and were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987. Humphrey Welfare, chairman of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site Partnership Board, said: “The scales of the two walls are very different – the most popular site on the Great Wall has eight million visitors a year – but the issues that we face in the conservation of the remains and in the management of visitors are much the same. We can learn a lot from each other. The developing Wall to Wall partnership offers real opportunities for organisations and sites along Hadrian’s Wall to create a lasting relationship with China.”

Last month, we reported that Northumberland County Council has agreed to up its funding for Hadrian’s Wall in a bid to help it realise its full economic, social and cultural potential.

Carol Pyrah, assistant director of planning at Historic England, added: “This seminar is the first step in developing a closer relationship between the teams working at Hadrian’s Wall and the Great Wall of China. We will be sharing ground-breaking research and conservation approaches from both sides of the globe. Historic England looks forward to collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage on this and other projects in the years to come.”

This new period of collaboration in cultural heritage promises to bring about opportunities in the fields of tourism, heritage management and conservation of the historic built environment.

Professor Sam Turner, head of the school of history, classics and archaeology at Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University has a very long and prestigious record of researching Hadrian’s Wall, as well as researching and contributing to its modern management. We are delighted to host this seminar that also builds on more than a decade of our staff working with heritage colleagues in China to better understand the contemporary pressures on, and uses of, such magnificent heritage sites”.