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Thursday, 24 September 2020


Joe O’Donnell appointed new Victorian Society Director

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The Victorian Society has announced Joe O’Donnell as its new Director.

Professor Hilary Grainger, Chair of the Society said:

“On behalf of the trustees, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Joe O’Donnell as our new Director. He brings a wealth of experience to the role and Joe’s initial priorities will be to restart our celebrated events programme and to consolidate the Society’s fundraising and membership base. We very much look forward to working with him.”

New Director, Joe O’Donnell said:

“I am delighted to lead the Victorian Society into the new post COVID phase. All heritage charities have suffered during the crisis and funding to carry out our vital work is needed now as much as ever. In 1967, we saved St Pancras station and we have carried on our important work through the decades: only last week Liverpool reversed a decision to put a zip wire across a World Heritage Site after the Victorian Society issued judicial proceedings. If you care about protecting our irreplaceable Victorian buildings now is the time to join us. I look forward to working closely with staff, volunteers and members to ensure that our wonderful Victorian and Edwardian building are preserved, cherished and understood. In a climate emergency, we must do all we can to keep, rather than replace, these buildings.”

Joe was previously Head of Policy at the Heritage Alliance where he worked with key heritage sector figures to lead on policy issues such as the revised National Planning Policy Framework. Joe, who trained in law before writing for Thomson Reuters, re-joins the Society from his role as Rail Freight Group’s Head of Policy. Joe helped develop Heritage Declares, to urge the heritage sector to react more quickly and effectively to the climate and ecological emergency. He believes that the Victorian Society should encourage the retention and reuse of Victorian and Edwardian buildings as an environmentally sustainable option.

Joe joined the Victorian Society after buying his 1870s home and became its Media Officer shortly afterwards. Joe has a lifelong passion for heritage, is a trustee of the Lewisham Buildings Presentation Trust and successfully led a campaign to list a 17th-century pub, saving it from demolition.

Joe O’Donnell takes over as Director of the Victorian Society from Christopher Costelloe, who has led the Society since 2012.

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