Nairita Chakraborty, Lady Jane Gibson, David Laing, Sir Jonathan Marsden and Robert Sackville-West were appointed Commissioners of Historic England

Nairita Chakraborty

Nairita has over 16 years of heritage, cityscape and design experience. She has experience in ensuring the sustainable use of historic buildings while undertaking large-scale refurbishment, housing and infrastructure projects. She has authored significant work on the adaptation and repurposing of large and complex listed buildings, as well as inner city, public space and heritage projects.

She recently established her own practice, Revive and Tailor, which focuses on innovative and imaginative integration of existing buildings into refurbishment proposals. Nairita serves on Historic England’s Advisory Board alongside Havering and Kensington and Chelsea’s Design Review Panels. She is a full member of the Royal Town Planners Institute and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

Lady Jane Gibson

After graduating in Drama and English from Hull University in 1985, Jane worked in London in theatre, film, television, radio, the recording industry and marketing and PR. During this time she was housekeeper to novelist Doris Lessing.

She moved to the Northeast in 1996 where she founded Joined Up North, a consulting firm specializing in strategic development, regeneration and location marketing through culture, heritage and tourism projects.

After moving back to her home county of Yorkshire in 2009, she now works in non-executive positions. Jane is Chair of Spirit of 2012, the London 2012 Legacy Charity set up in 2013 by the National Lottery Community Fund with a £47m endowment. She is also Chair of the Partnership Committee for Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage. She is Director of the York & North Yorkshire LEP.

She was founding Chair of Make It York, a destination management and business development company, and most recently led the Culture & Place Strategic Advisory Group in Hull. She was also a member of the National Trust Yorkshire & North East Regional Committee until 2014.

David Laig

David’s background is in the built environment, heritage, culture, governance and ethics. Trained as an architect at UCL, he worked with Sir Basil Spence before setting up a private practice and chairing a listed housing association. He fully restored the Grade I house and gardens at Mackerye End and then the 17th-century house and historic park and garden at Fermyn Woods Hall.

He is Chairman and Trustee of major philanthropic charities, as well as those supporting heritage, community, culture, arts and the environment. In contrast, he directed the development of Adrenaline Alley; Europe’s largest indoor skate/BMX park and home of the British Olympic champions. The charities have supported the restoration of the Royal Albert Hall, Coventry and other cathedrals, commissioned a Jim Butler bronze from Denny Windows at Barrow-in-Furness and a ballet for the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

He is a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Northampton and was Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire from 2014 to 2020 to develop awareness and interests of the county’s buildings/heritage/culture and economy. He has served as Chairman of Academy Trusts and Trustee of one of the largest Multi-Academy Trusts and of St. Andrew’s Healthcare.

His 4th volume of poetry will be printed later this year!

Sir Jonathan Marsden KCVO, FSA

Jonathan Marsden was Director of the Royal Collection and Appraiser for the Queen’s artwork from 2010 to 2017, having previously served as Deputy Appraiser since 1996. He previously worked for the National Trust for 11 years representing historic buildings in North Wales and Oxfordshire. He has been a Trustee to several arts and heritage organizations including Historic Royal Palaces, the Georgian Group, the Art Fund and the City & Guilds of London Art School. He has published and lectured extensively on sculpture and the decorative arts and is the author of the forthcoming Catalog of European Sculptures in the Royal Collection.

Robert Sackville-West

Robert Sackville-West studied history at Oxford University, where he read history, and London Business School before pursuing a career in publishing, creating illustrated books for an international market. As Chairman of Knole Estates, the property and investment company which looks after Knole alongside the National Trust, he has experience in land management, planning, conservation management, listed buildings and public access. As of 2021, Robert is also Chair of the Kent Community Foundation which raises funds and distributes grants to around 400 voluntary charities in Kent. He has worked in both the private and government sectors in education, as Governor of Sevenoaks School and Knole Academy and as a former UK Chair of the International Baccalaureate.

Robert has a keen interest in British history and is committed to instilling that interest. His experience at Knole led him to write two critically acclaimed books on aspects of English history: Inheritance (2010); and The Disinherited (2014). His most recent book The Searchers (2021) is broader. It tells the stories of Britain’s quest to recover, identify and honor the missing soldiers of WWI and looks at the lasting effects of WWI on British society.

Commissioners of Historic England are paid £4113.00 per annum. These appointments were made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointment process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointed employee in the past five years must be accounted for. This is defined as holding office, public speaking, making a registerable donation, or running for election.

Nairita Chakraborty, David Laing, Sir Jonathan Marsden and Robert Sackville-West have not declared activity.

Lady Gibson has stated that she makes an annual donation to the Women’s Equality Party, although she does not attend local or national meetings.

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