General view showing crescent and former caretakers cottage with members of Almost Synchro - synchronised swimming team.
Heritage At Risk 2022 (HAR) Cleveland Pools, Hampton Row, Bath, Somerset. © Historic England Archive. DP348287.
Heritage At Risk 2022 (HAR) Cleveland Pools, Hampton Row, Bath, Somerset. © Historic England Archive. DP348287.

Heritage and Pride in Place

Part of the Heritage Counts series. 4 minute read.

In this article, we explore recent evidence that shows that heritage is an important source of pride for communities by reflecting the unique histories of places.

The public see heritage as an important source of pride

The term 'pride in place' refers to "the feeling of pride people can have for places they identify or associate themselves with" (Bonaiuto et al, 2020). The concept has been at the forefront of discussions around the Government's 'Levelling Up' policy, which recognises the role that culture and heritage can play in shaping people's relationships with places (DLUHC, 2022).

  • A poll completed by Public First in November 2021 asked a representative sample of respondents what fostered pride in their local area. The results of the poll showed that:
    • Historic buildings were the third most important source of pride for respondents (20% agreed), after local parks/green spaces (36%) and people (35%). The high street (16%) and industrial heritage (13%) came fourth and fifth respectively
  • This evidence closely aligns with evidence from the DCMS Taking Part data that showed that history is the third most quoted factor that makes people most proud of Britain: 35% of nearly 8,000 surveyed adults felt proud of our history. According to the Taking Part Survey, ‘the British countryside and scenery’ (53%) was the top factor that makes people proud of Britain, followed closely by the British health system (52%), then history (35%). 15% agreed that architecture and historic buildings make them proud of Britain (DCMS, 2019)
  • Similarly, survey data collected by YouGov for UK in a Changing Europe (2022) shows historic buildings and monuments ranked above local pubs and football clubs/sports teams. Albeit significantly below parks and green spaces and people which scored the highest in terms of importance to pride
  • A survey of public attitudes towards the local high street was commissioned as part of Historic England’s evaluation of the HSHAZ programme. 42% agreed that historic buildings and monuments make them feel proud of their local area (Kantar, 2022) of the approximately 4,000 who were surveyed by Kantar between April and June 2021.
  • Recent research from the National Lottery Community Fund (Britain Thinks, 2022) in which members of the public were asked about the importance and benefits of heritage also showed the following:
    • Community heritage was as important or very important for 69% of the public for its role in instilling local pride and bringing communities together
    • When asked why heritage was important to them personally, 35% said that it makes them feel proud of their local area
  • It is not just the buildings and places themselves, but what happens in them that is important. A review of quantitative and qualitative evidence concluded that activities that take place in community hubs or heritage buildings or places can improve a sense of belonging and pride (What Works Centre for Wellbeing and Happy City, 2019)

Taken together, these results indicate that investing in the maintenance and upkeep of historic buildings can support feelings of pride in place. The National Lottery Community Fund recent report on what helps to boost pride recommends the restoration and reuse of heritage buildings to enhance people’s connection to place, family and history (Community Fund, 2022).

Learning and interpreting local heritage can help us to feel proud of where we live

Evidence shows that when people are more aware of their area’s history, it leads to greater pride and a connection to place:

  • An evaluation of Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme found that the majority of teachers involved in the programme believed that learning about heritage increased pupils’ sense of pride in their local area (Historic England, 2022). Heritage Schools is a school-based intervention designed to embed local heritage into the curriculum
  • Recent research concluded that heritage has the unique potential to contribute to pride in place through providing opportunities for fostering identity and belonging. This study was commissioned by Historic England and undertaken by The Institute for Community Research and Development (ICRD, 2023) using qualitative research methods to study seven case studies of projects connecting young people and heritage
Heritage allows young people to not only learn more about a place but to view that place in new ways, to explore new forms of identity and belonging in relation to that place, and to construct collectively new visions.
ICRD, 2023
  • Initial findings from Historic England’s pilot ‘place markerscheme found that as young people explored their local area and discovered its history, their perceptions of place changed and evolved. Young people expressed an increased sense of pride and ownership in where they lived as well as greater respect and appreciation of its heritage. (Historic England, 2023 (forthcoming))


  1. Bonaiuto, M., Ariccio, S., Albers, T., Eren, R. and Cataldi, S. (2020). ‘Pride of Place: definitions, causes, effects and relevance for the rural context. A framework produced as part of the Erasmus+ Project “Pride of Place”.’ Available at: PoP_IO1_full_web.pdf ( (Accessed: 25.04.23).
  2. Britain Thinks (2022) ‘The National Lottery Heritage Fund: Strategy development research’. Available at: National Lottery Heritage Fund Strategy Development Research ( (Accessed: 15.08.23).
  3. Community Fund (2022) ‘From neighbours to neighbourhood: learning on how to boost pride in place’. Available at: From neighbours to neighbourhood ( (Accessed: 25.04.23)
  4. DCMS (2019) ‘Ad-hoc statistical analysis: 2019/20 Quarter 1 Things that make adults (aged 16+) most proud of Britain, 2017/18, England, Taking Part survey’. Available at: (Accessed: 09.09.19)
  5. Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (2022) ‘Levelling Up White Paper’. Available at: Levelling Up the United Kingdom - GOV.UK ( (Accessed: 25.04.23).
  6. Historic England (2022) ‘Learning about Local Heritage: A study of the impact of the Heritage Schools programme’. Available at: Learning about Local Heritage: Impact Study of Heritage Schools Programme ( (Accessed: 25.04.23)
  7. Historic England (2023) Place Market Pilot Key Findings (Forthcoming) 
  8. Institute for Community Research and Development with Arts Connect and Historic England (2023) ‘Young People’s Engagements with Heritage: Tackling Inequality & Other Opportunities for Public Policy’. Available at: Young-People-and-Heritage_Final-Report.pdf ( (Accessed: 17.08.23)
  9. Kantar (2022) Historic England High Street Heritage Action Zone Attitudinal Survey (Forthcoming). 
  10. Public First (2021) ‘Levelling up Poll’. Available at: Levelling_Up_Poll.pdf ( (Accessed: 25.04.23)
  11. UK in a Changing Europe (2022) ‘Levelling Up: What England thinks’. Available at: (Accessed: 15.08.23)
  12. What Works Centre for Wellbeing and Happy City (2019) ‘Understanding Thriving Communities’. Available at: Understanding-Thriving-Communities-reportV5-9Oct19.pdf ( (Accessed: 25.04.23)