Ouse Washes picked by Professor Robert Winston for his top 10 of England’s science and discovery places
- Credit: Archant
The Ouse Washes have been chosen by Professor Robert Winston as one of top 10 science and discovery places in A History of England in 100 Places campaign
This huge water channel was cut in the 1630s to drain the fenlands and make a temporary floodwater storage area between Earith in Cambridgeshire and Denver in Norfolk.
It is one of the most important, largest and oldest drainage engineering structures in the country. It was created by Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden, whose ingenuity enabled the creation of the ‘food basket’ of the UK, because it protects approximately 29,000 hectares of agricultural land from flooding. This mid-17th Century feat of engineering is striking in its beauty when flooded between the banks built to hold the water and is a unique habitat for all kinds of animals, making it a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Professor Winston, who has judged the science and discovery category, is the first expert judge in Historic England’s campaign, from a panel including Mary Beard, George Clarke and David Olusoga, who will choose 10 places from a long list of public nominations.
The year-long campaign aims to find the 100 places which best tell England’s remarkable story and its impact on the world.
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Together, the selected places in the science and discovery category demonstrate that England has long been a hotbed of invention, innovation and creativity.
Also among Professor Winston’s chosen places are the humble hut in Gloucestershire where the world’s first vaccination was pioneered, the laboratory in Sheffield where stainless steel was invented and the site where Alan Turing built the world’s first electronic computers that cracked the Nazi Enigma code.
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All 10 places picked by Professor Winston will be explored in a new podcast series, launched and at the end of the project a book will be published by Historic England.
Hosted by Emma Barnett, the podcast series will begin by taking listeners on a journey to the extraordinary places which Professor Winston decided best demonstrate the importance of Science & Discovery to the identity of England, and help tell our national story. Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England said: “These remarkable 10 places, carefully chosen by one of our expert judges, Professor Lord Robert Winston, demonstrate that England has had a long tradition of meeting challenges and finding creative solutions to problems of worldwide significance.
“Many of the inventions and discoveries in this list have changed the world and remind us how regions across England have broken new ground. It’s vital that we remember these places and events as an inspiration to continuing our national tradition of experimenting, inventing and creating.”