The Historic Environment Record
The Historic Environment Record (HER)(formerly known as the Sites and Monuments Record) is a Geographical Information System (GIS) and linked database of more than 18,000 records compiled and maintained by the Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit (GMAU) at the University of Manchester on behalf of the ten Greater Manchester authorities.
Development of the Greater Manchester HERGMAU has maintained and enhanced the Greater Manchester Sites and Monuments Record since 1980 and it is now an invaluable planning and research tool. A vigorous policy of enhancement has seen the database expand from 1500 records in 1989 to over 18,000 today. Whilst all periods of archaeology are represented, GMAU have made particular efforts to record sites from the industrial period both above and below ground, reflecting the area's world importance during this period. This record is the principal data source for objective decision-making prior to delivery of advice to local authorities and other agencies.
GMAU has endeavoured to develop the HER and advice services in line with national standards so that it now runs on MS Access based software provided by exeGesIS, with a MapInfo Geographical Information System, and is being transformed into a Historic Environment Record so that it is a comprehensive data audit on the Greater Manchester Historic Environment, which includes designations such as Scheduled Ancient Monuments, Listed Buildings, Conservations Areas, Parks and Gardens, buildings and features of local historic interest, historic landscapes, as well as archaeological sites. But the HER does not only consist of a computerised database, it also comprises a paper archive and photographs relating to archaeological projects undertaken in Greater Manchester. These form a significant teaching and research resource, as well being the cornerstone of development control work.
The Archive comprises:
StaffingThe Historic Environment Record Officer post was made permanent in 2007. Recently, GMAU took on two Historic Landscape Characterisation Officers to undertake a three year project mapping the modern and historic character of urban and rural Greater Manchester. This project, funded by English Heritage and AGMA, is called the Greater Manchester Urban Historic Landscape Characterisation Project.
The purpose of the HERThe HER is a comprehensive archive of sites of archaeological significance in the Greater Manchester and is a key tool for archaeological mitigation in the planning process. Further guidance for developers planning work in Manchester is available on our developer pages. The HER also has an important role as a research tool for archaeologists and archaeology students, members of the public, schools, and heritage/amenity bodies. The HER is used to inform strategic planning and policies at local authority/statutory undertaker level.
The rich heritage of the area is reflected in the diversity of the HER records. We have records of: prehistoric flint tools, Bronze Age barrows, lowland mosses, Iron Age defended enclosures and stone heads, Roman forts, roads and civilian settlements, Anglo-Saxon crosses and place-names, medieval castles, churches, moated sites, halls, iron working sites, hollow-ways and field systems. From the post-medieval period there are records of water powered mills, farmsteads, country houses, historic parks and gardens, chapels, weaving cottages and packhorse routes. The industrial period is also well represented by data about railways, canals, turnpikes, steam powered textile mills, finishing works and warehouses, industrial communities, hat works, engineering works, coal mines, quarries, and even World War II pillboxes.