Who is Peter Burman?
Peter Burman’s professional profile and record of achievments speak for themselves, a dedicated and hard-working individual who is one of the top professionals in his field.
Below are only a few examples of his achievements.
‘In October 2010 I organised a conference at Hopetoun House on the study and conservation of The State Bed. In August 2016 I organised a three-day HLF-funded Craft Symposium on the Falkland Estate with the themes of traditional architectural craftsmanship, crafts local to Fife (especially spinning, weaving and working with leather), and crafts associated with the countryside and the home. In August 2017 I organised a second three-day Craft Symposium with twelve distinguished speakers and many craft activities including thatching, plasterwork and hot-lime pointing.’
From 2007-2012 I was Professor of Cultural Management, attached to World Heritage Studies, at the Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus, and at the same time established Peter Burman & Associates as a consultancy for the commissioning of works of art and fine craftsmanship and to advise on heritage matters.
I have been External Examiner for Masters degrees in conservation at University College Dublin, Oxford Brookes University, University of Bournemouth, two Masters courses delivered at the Weald & Downland Museum, near Chichester, and currently at the University of Bath. I have been external examiner of around a dozen doctorates at the Royal College of Art and the universities of Robert Gordon Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling.
From 2002-7 I was Director of Conservation & Property Services at the National Trust for Scotland. I have been a member of three Regional Committees of the National Trust in England and am a passionate advocate of the international National Trust ‘movement’ and its implications for stewardship of the earth’s resources, ideas originating with John Ruskin and William Morris and interpreted for today.
Before coming to Scotland I was Director of the Centre for Conservation, University of York, 1990-2002, and trained a large number of early to mid-career graduates from around the world in how to understand, care for and interpret the heritage, especially buildings, gardens and designed landscapes. Before that I was for 12 years Director of Council for the Care of Churches and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England.
I am a trustee and Archivist of Hopetoun House. I am a member of the Historic Houses Archivists’ Group (HHAG) and Chair of the Scottish Association for Country House Archivists (SACHA).
In 1975-7 Marcus Binney and I organised a major exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, entitled Change & Decay, The Future of our Churches. Prompted by that exhibition, the UK government announced that it would make state grants available for the repair of historically and architecturally significant churches, a real break-through at that time. In 1975, SAVE Britain’s Heritage was founded: I continued as a trustee for 42 years. At around the same time I founded and chaired for seven years the Friends of Christ Church Spitalfields, Nicholas Hawksmoor’s masterpiece on the edge of the City of London, and was co-founder of the Spitalfields Music Festival. The Friends have recently (2017) been wound up as the tasks we set ourselves have been completed, the final climax being the restoration of the 1734 organ.
Other organisations which I have founded include the York Art-Workers’ Association (inspired by the Art-Workers’ Guild in London) and the UK Building Limes Forum.
In England, I have served for substantial periods on committees of the Victorian Society, Georgian Group, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, London Committee of English Heritage, London Heritage Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund’s Historic Buildings & Land Panel, and for exactly twenty years (1991-2011) was Chair of the statutory Fabric Advisory Committee of St Paul’s Cathedral. I am currently on the Fabric Advisory Committee of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
In Scotland I have been Chair of the Buildings of Scotland Trust and of Scotland’s Garden & Landscape Heritage. From 2003-9 I was a member of the Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland, which advised Scottish Ministers on policy and strategy, participating in working groups on Craftsmanship and Churches. I am a Vice-Chair of the Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) and Chair of Historic Environment Working Group through which BEFS does much of its work.
I am Chair of the Falkland Stewardship Trust, responsible for the great mid-Victorian and Arts & Crafts mansion, House of Falkland, the designed landscape and the Stables – where a wide spectrum of programmes relating to craftsmanship and land management, strongly based in the local community, is offered. I am in my second year as Chair of the Falkland & Newton-of-Falkland Community Council.
I am the author of a book on St Paul’s Cathedral. I have researched extensively into Philip Webb and other members of the Arts & Crafts Movement. I produced the published Conservation Management Plan for the Cathedral & Abbey Church of St Alban and in Cottbus I taught courses on Researching and Writing Conservation and Management Plans, Heritage Tourism, Cultural Management, Fundraising & Funding the Heritage and (a particular interest) Contemporary Transformation of Museums
My exemplar is John Ruskin (1819-1900) who advocated sound stewardship of the earth’s resources and – through the Guild of St George, of which I am a Companion – sharing the cultural and natural heritage with everyone. I also believe we have a duty to add a layer of beauty and interest to what we have inherited from the past.
I have done much over forty years to foster British-German collaboration in heritage conservation and there is now a constant exchange of specialists between Germany and Britain arising in large measure from an initiative I took as long ago as 1981.’