The Tinkers' Heart is a heart-shaped setting of quartz stones embedded in the tarmac of what was formerly a junction of the A815 and B839 roads, near Cairndow, Argyll & Bute. The public roads have been realigned and moved to the E, leaving the heart within a pasture field. The site serves as a location for meetings and celebrations such as weddings and christenings among the Traveller community.
Petition: Give the Tinkers' Heart of Argyll back to the Travelling People
A petition was lodged on 29 May 2014 with the Scottish parliament to call on the Scottish Government to direct Historic Scotland ‘to investigate what action can be taken to ensure the restoration and preservation of the Heart’. The petition was signed by over 1,100 people in spring 2014, many from the Traveller community, as well as many members of the general public. The petitioner is Mrs Jess Smith, herself from the Traveller community and an author on Traveller culture and history.
Assessing the monument’s cultural significance
The representations made to Parliament have highlighted the importance of the site to the Traveller community and people of Argyll. The strength of that evidence led Historic Scotland to re-examine the evidence for the cultural significance of the site. We undertook a fresh review of the case through sites, visits, new research and a public consultation carried out between 9 March and 15 May 2015.
This new research allowed us to re-evaluate the value of the monument to the people of Scotland. We consider the site is of national importance and intend to place the site on the Schedule of Monuments. The recommendation report and two analysis reports that informed our decision are available for download:
Tinkers' Heart - Desk Based and Field Research Report [PDF, 472kb]
Tinkers' Heart - Consultation Analysis Report [PDF, 56.2kb]
Tinkers' Heart - Scheduling Recommendation [PDF, 59.4kb]
We wrote to the Petition Committee on 18 June to inform them of our of decision and also update them on our wider work with the Travelling and local community.
The letter is available for download:
Tinkers' Heart - Letter to Petitions Committee [PDF, 121kb]
Equalities and scheduling
The issue of whether the scheduling assessment of the Tinkers' Heart took adequate account of equalities issues was raised in recent parliamentary questions. One of the issues in these questions is how the Scottish Government recognises or consults the Gypsy/Traveller community when undertaking assessment of cultural significance to sites such as Tinkers’ Heart.
Historic Scotland supports and celebrates the full spectrum of cultural diversity in all of its activities, and this includes the Traveller community. Diversity is a key principle in all of Historic Scotland’s developmental programmes and in its induction package for new staff. As a main Agency of the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland contributes towards the Scottish Government's equality outcomes and mainstreaming report which is published on their website'.
Scheduling criteria are intended to be as objective as possible and set out to be entirely non-discriminatory. The requirements for equality impact assessment are laid out in The Equality Act (2010) Specific Duties (Scotland) Regulations 2012. A listed authority (such as Historic Scotland) must, where and to the extent necessary to fulfil the equality duty, assess the impact of applying a proposed new or revised policy or practice against the needs mentioned to comply with the section 149(1) of the Act.
We undertook an assessment of our scheduling process. While we did not find evidence of discrimination in the scheduling policies themselves we did identify that the way in which we gather associative information about certain sites and how we value that information could be strengthened.
The reports are available for download:
Tinkers' Heart Scheduling Process - EQIA Report [PDF, 424kb]
Tinkers' Heart Scheduling Process - EQIA Record [PDF, 863kb]
Recording the Tinkers’ Heart
The Heart was surveyed and recorded by Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland in 2012 and is now in the National Monuments Record for Scotland. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service added it to the Historic Environment Record for Argyll in 2012 to help ensure its protection through the planning system.
The scheduling of cultural heritage sites
The United Kingdom has had legislation in place to protect ancient monuments since 1882. Currently, nationally important monuments in Scotland are protected under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The sole criterion in the 1979 Act for inclusion in the Schedule is that a monument is of ‘national importance’.
Scottish Ministers’ current criteria for determining national importance were developed following public consultation in 2004. They were published in Scottish Historic Environment Policy 2006 (SHEP), which was revised and re-issued in 2011: Annex 1 - Criteria for and guidance on the determination of ‘national importance’ for scheduling.
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