John Lubbock, a British member of the Parliament, led to the first law to safeguard Britain' s heritage—the Ancient Monuments Bill. How did it happen?
By the late 1800s more and more people were visiting Stonehenge for a day out. Now a World Heritage Site owned by the Crown, it was, at the time, privately owned and neglected.
But the visitors left behind rubbish and leftover food. It encouraged rats that made holes at the stones’ foundations, weakening them. One of the upright stones had already fallen over and one had broken in two. They also chipped pieces off the stones for souvenirs and carved pictures into them, says architectural critic Jonathan Glancey.
It was the same for other pre-historic remains, which were disappearing fast. Threats also included farmers and landowners as the ancient stones got in the way of working on the fields and were a free source of building materials.
Shocked and angry, Lubbock took up the fight. When he heard Britain’ s largest ancient stone circle at Avebury in Wiltshire was up for sale in 1871 he persuaded its owners to sell it to him and the stone circle was saved.
“Lubbock aroused national attention for ancient monuments," says Glancey. “At the time places like Stonehenge were just seen as a collection of stones, ancient sites to get building materials.”
“Lubbock knew they were the roots of British identity. He did for heritage what Darwin did for natural history. ”
But Lubbock couldn’t buy every threatened site. He knew laws were needed and tabled the Ancient Monuments Bill. It proposed government powers to take any pre-historic site under threat away from uncaring owners, a radical idea at the time.
For eight years he tried and failed to get the bill through parliament. Finally，in 1882，it was voted into law. It had，however, been watered down; people had to willingly give their ancient monuments to the government. But what it did do was plant the idea that the state could preserve Britain' s heritage better than private owners.
Pressure started to be put on the owners of sites like Stonehenge to take better care of them.
31.According to the text, Stonehenge in the late 1800s was _____.
[A]a royal property
[D]a public property
32.One stone in Stonehenge fell over because _____.
[A] rats weakened its foundation
[B] farmers cut it to build houses
[C] visitors carved pictures into it
[D]visitors chipped pieces off it
33.Lubbock proposed a bill to _____.
[A]push people to learn history
[B]ensure government function
[C]enforce ancient site protection
[D]push visitors to behave properly
34.When the bill was voted into law in 1882, it had been made less _____.
35.This text is mainly about _____.
[A] a famous British Parliament member
[B] the value of ancient heritages in the UK
[C] the history and protection of Stonehenge
[D] the origin of the Ancient Monuments Bill
31.B 32.A 33.C 34.A 35.D
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