It’s official: heritage makes you happy!
Heritage plays a significant role in society and enhances wellbeing and quality of life, says new report
Heritage and Society 2016, a new report from Historic England, highlights the importance of heritage in the UK today. The report draws on a number of sources including the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Taking Part Survey 2014/15 to present some interesting conclusions:
- Heritage plays an important part in wellbeing and quality of life: 93% of residents say that local heritage has an impact on their personal quality of life.
- Heritage improves places: 80% of people think local heritage makes their area a better place to live.
- Heritage engages young people: almost two million children visited a historic property as part of a school trip.
- Heritage is viewed positively by the general public: nearly all adults (95%) agree or strongly agree that it is important to them that heritage buildings and places are well looked after.
People who visit heritage sites are happier than those who do not. The Taking Part survey asked respondents to self assess their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is ‘extremely happy’. Between 2010 and 2013, on average, those who had visited a heritage site in the previous 12 months, reported happiness scores 1.6% greater than those who had not. The wellbeing value of visiting heritage sites has been calculated as equivalent to £1,646 per person per year.
The historic environment also offers greater aesthetic value. A 2010 study found that across all age groups, older buildings were favoured as being ‘more beautiful’. The most common reason people gave was that older buildings conveyed a sense of longevity and grandeur. Heritage projects also increased positive feelings of safety.
Nearly all adults (95%) agree or strongly agree that it is important to them that heritage buildings and places are well looked after. Nearly three quarters (75%) agreed that the UK government has a moral obligation to protect our heritage and the majority agreed that heritage contributed to attracting tourists (81%), the economy (73%) and creative industries (61%).
Image: Public Domain