When in Rome...?
Richard Hodges looks at the Pompeii controversy and asks if Britain does any better.
In November 1992, shortly after taking over as Chairman of English Heritage, Mr Jocelyn Stevens set about the now familiar restructuring of a British organisation. Inevitably, monuments would have to be dropped by English Heritage, and jobs would go. Mr Stevens' plans, possibly to his surprise, generated a ferocious reaction. He fought back. In an interview with The Guardian (November 6th, 1992) he described how he had accepted the charge of restructuring English Heritage from Mr David Mellor, then Secretary of State for Heritage. The public debate fizzled out. But the problem remains.
Amazingly, in The Guardian's second front section on January 13th,1993, the same David Mellor published an essay entitled ‘Up Yours, Pompeii’. One paragraph of this provocative piece merits citing at length: