The ruins of the Abbey now in Bury St Edmunds are a material reminder of how things were, but also how things move on. I wonder how many people actually mourned for the building after The Reformation- they were too busy collecting the stones and re-using them around the town. This is in contrast, say, to the recent disaster in Glasgow, where Mackintosh’s School of Art was burnt down. Debate will be had about the future of that site, and leaving it as a ruin is an option discussed by Ray McKenzie
The Bury ruins are emotive if not actually beautiful. They are evocative of how things were, even if our ideas of the past are unrealistic; They invoke a sense of yearning, bringing forth ghosts. Physical gaps and cracks symbolise our lack of understanding. They are mysterious and invite curiosity. The Unknown is often so much more interesting than the obvious.
“Heritagisation” is a dreaded word for me as re-invoking the past seems to miss the point. Visitor centres and re-enactments seem to dwell on the obvious, the superficial, and (of course) the need for money to maintain the spectacle. These places are best left as they are as testimony to Man’s achievements and ultimate fate.