Simon Thurley CBE

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Dr Simon Thurley CBE has extensive experience in the heritage sector, including 13 years as chief executive of English Heritage. He was appointed Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund on 1 April 2021.

Simon is a distinguished historian and heritage expert. He serves on the Delivery Authority for the Restoration and Renewal of the Houses of Parliament, is a trustee of the British Library and chairman of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Between 2002 and 2015 he was chief executive of English Heritage, responsible for the National Heritage Collection of 420 sites including Stonehenge and Dover Castle, as well as for the National Heritage Protection system, including the listing of buildings. He played a role in setting up the Canal and River Trust, where he was a trustee until 2015, and masterminded the transition of English Heritage into a charitable Trust. 

For five years from 1997 Simon was director of the Museum of London, the world’s largest city museum, and its archaeological unit MoLAS. For eight years in the 1990s he was Curator and Surveyor of the Fabric at Historic Royal Palaces, leading various projects including the Restoration of the Privy Garden at Hampton Court.

As a historian Simon has written thirteen books including a history of English architecture, The Building of England, and the story of heritage protection, Men from the Ministry.

In 2011 he was made CBE for services to heritage. He is married with two children and lives in Norfolk.