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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

To be listed, a public monument or sculpture must be of artistic or historical importance. It need not necessarily be by a famous sculptor; it could also be listed as an example of stylistic, social or technical innovation, or it could be associated with a significant historical event. In England and Wales, there are three grades of listing: Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II, denoting different levels of quality:

Grade I means that an object is of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important.

Grade II* means that an object is particularly important and of more than special interest.

Grade II means that an object is nationally important and of special interest.

English Heritage produce a guide to the criteria used for deciding that a commemorative monument or sculpture is worthy of listing. You can download a copy of this from their website. It would be useful to read this before embarking on an application for listing.
Commemorative Structures Selections Guide 2007

Who is responsible for listing?

Any member of the public as well as groups and societies may nominate a monument or public sculpture for listing. Those of architectural and historical importance in England are listed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who has a statutory duty to consult English Heritage. In Scotland, listings are made by the Secretary of State for Scotland, advised by Historic Scotland. In Wales, listings are made by the Secretary of State for Wales, advised by CADW.

How old must a public monument or sculpture be to be listed?

Any monument or sculpture over 10 years old may be listed, however work less than 30 years old are not normally listed unless they are under threat of demolition or alteration and are found to be potentially Grade I or II*. Listing of objects made after 1945 is highly selective and these are often the pieces most at risk.

How can I check if a public monument or sculpture is already listed?

The lists themselves are held centrally at the National Monuments Record in Swindon. The NMR enquiry line is 01793 414600 or you can email: nmrinfo@english-heritage.org.uk . Relevant local sections of the lists are held by planning departments of local authorities and in public libraries. It is best to check whether a public monument or sculpture is already listed before embarking on your research. The English Heritage website Images of England also has images and details of many listed monuments, but is not yet a definitive list.

How do I nominate a public monument or sculpture for listing?

The easiest way to nominate a public monument or sculpture for listing is to use the online application form on the English Heritage website. To use this facility you will first need to create what is termed a ‘Heritage Passport'. This is easily done by registering on the relevant English Heritage webpage. The Online Application Form can be returned to whenever you wish before finally submitting it.

Your application must be accompanied by good photographs of the object showing general views and any specific important detail. You must also provide information about the precise location. Indicate in your application why the object is artistically or historically important. The more relevant information you send, the quicker and easier it will be for the matter to be dealt with. Useful questions to address are:

• When was it designed / built / sculpted?
• Who designed it / built it / sculpted it?
• Who owns it?
• Did the piece play an important role in history?
• Was the design innovative or unusual?
• Is the significance local, national, international?
• Why does the object need listing? (eg threat of alteration, demolition, neglect or a recent change in ownership)

How do I find out about the monument or sculpture? 

Look for information in the local history library, local archives and the planning records of the local authority. Local history or other amenity groups may also be able to help with information. Details of designers, architects, sculptors and other individuals may also be found in the online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Details of how to access this service can be found on their website.

How can The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association help?

If you wish to receive advice and support from the PMSA for your application, you will need to send copies of all of your documents and photographs to us. Please ensure that you do this before you submit your application to English Heritage. Please send your documents and photographs to Casework and Listing Committee, Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ. We will then assess whether we are able to support your listing application. 

Who else can help?

It is usually advisable to also seek the support of the local authority via the conservation section of the planning department. Letters of support from the owner of the object and any experts in the field will also be of assistance.

How can I follow up my application?

It may take several months or longer for an application to be processed. Whilst a monument or sculpture is under consideration for listing, it is not protected by the legislation which applies to listing and the local authority can still grant permission for demolition or alteration. It is important for you to monitor the situation and if the case is becoming urgent, contact the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the PMSA with details.