Historian and Chief Executive of English Heritage

Welcome to my website and thank you for looking. This site tells you a bit about me and what I have done over the last 25 years as an historian, archaeologist, curator, writer, broadcaster, museum director and heritage crusader – although not necessarily in that order. It also tells you a bit about the rest of my life.

This website links to a separate one about Clifton House where my wife Anna and I live. It is open to the public at certain times of the year and you would be most welcome to come and visit it.

Latest News

Kenwood House wins Georgian Group Award

Our project at Kenwood House has just won the Georgian Group award for the best restoration of an historic interior. There are not many awards around for restoring historic buildings so it is very nice to win one. This is the Duke of Buccleuch presenting the certificate to me.Simon recieves Georgian Award from the Duke of Buccleuch


Men from the Ministry out in paperback

menfromtheministryMen from the Ministry has just come out in paperback. I have been so pleased that a seemingly obscure subject has found so much interest, and has been so well received.

David Lowenthal said of it in the TLS recently ‘Thurley’s text- knowledgeable, subtle, supple, by turns celebratory and sardonic’. Very kind of him.

The new edition corrects various errors that were pointed out to me after the hardback was published and has much better captions to the photographs. So you might need to buy the paperback even if you have the hardback!

The Building of England

Cover of The Building of England by Simon ThurleyUpdate: The Building of England has won Spear’s Magazine Book Awards ‘Heritage Book of the Year 2014.

‘Substantial, well-written, well-illustrated and comprehensive history of architecture in England’ Frank Kelsall, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain

The Building of England is my latest book – published 15 November 2013. This is the product of four years’ work, an attempt to write a narrative history of building in England from 410 up to the Second World War. It is aimed at the general reader, but I hope that scholars and students will find it of use too. There is a little bit more about the book on my Books page.

A.N. Wilson, The Evening Standard ‘A truly stupendous achievement… an instant classic’

Michael Prodger, The Sunday Times, ‘This is an impressive book – for its scholarship, for its easy didacticism, for the care with which Thurley has thought things through, and for its inclusiveness’